Pinpointing one major reason for the poor quality of first-class skills exhibited around the world these days, batting great Rahul Dravid has said that the genuine decrease in the number of red-ball games that the youngsters are playing these days, has led to a substantial decline in the batting prowess at the Test level.
Rahul, who scored 13,288 runs at an average of 52.31 across 164 Tests for the country and was an ultimate picture of what Test Cricket is all about, is currently an India U-19 and 'A' head coach. Rahul is extremely aware of the modern-day cricket and its contemporary ways.
Speaking about the trends that he has been seeing of players arriving into Test matches without having played much red-ball cricket leading up, Rahul was quoted saying in an interview with THE WEEK as, "Batsmanship comprises of many things. If you were to view it from the prism of shot-making ability, innovation, power, ability to hit sixes and scoring at a quicker rate, then there is no doubt batsmanship has improved," he added, "[But], if you view it from the prism of batting time, being able to get through challenging times and being able to play on tracks on which seam or spin is more, then maybe batsmanship has declined a little bit."
"Players now have to juggle between three formats and may not be getting to have as much red ball time and conditions," as always Rahul gave a balanced view of the issue and exemplified, "There were boys who came on the A tour with us to England, who had not played red ball cricket for six-to-seven months! It would never have happened before. The time they get to practice red ball cricket has altered drastically."
He also talked about the work that goes behind the scenes at the U-19 and 'A' level, the importance of the amount of cricket played there and explained how much of a role his inputs play for the national selectors in choosing the side at the highest level.
Rahul said, "I do not get involved with the national team. But, if they ask about a player from the A team, I give them an opinion based on what they have done. Now, whether they fit into their plans for the national team [or not], I try not to get into that,"
"The good thing from our [India A] perspective is that there is nothing to worry about. When we go on a tour abroad, it is good learning for us. Even if we do not do particularly well, I look at it as an opportunity for what skills can be improved," he added, "'A' team programmes are sometimes a bit more complicated than a usual series. This is where the BCCI is doing a good job—trying to work with us. We need other boards to agree, [too]," and signed off.