Recalling his tenure as coach of India ‘A’ side, former skipper and NCA Director Rahul Dravid said his aim was always to make sure that every cricketer who toured got a game unlike his playing days.
Notably, Dravid will play the role of Team India’s head coach during their white-ball tour to Sri Lanka in July. It will be his second stint with the senior Indian side, having previously worked with the team as a batting consultant during the England tour in 2014.
“I tell them upfront, if you come on an A tour with me, you will not leave here without playing a game. I’ve had that personal experience myself as a kid: going on an A tour and not getting an opportunity to play is terrible,” Dravid told ESPNcricinfo’s ‘The Cricket Monthly’.
“You’ve done well, you scored 700-800 runs, you go, and you don’t get a chance to show what you’re good at. And then you’re back to square one from the selectors’ point of view, because the next season you have to score those 800 runs again.
“It is not easy to do that, so there is no guarantee you’ll get a chance again. So you tell people upfront: this is the best 15 and we are playing them. This is not about the supposed best XI. At U-19, we make five-six changes between games if we can,” he added.
Now in charge of the National Cricket Academy, Dravid is widely credited for creating India’s huge talent pool, something that the opponents feel envious about.
According to Dravid, lack of knowledge about things was the biggest hurdle in his playing days.
“Playing on the beach and playing on the road doesn’t make you a cricketer. It makes you someone who loves the game. That’s what we had. We had a lot of people who loved the game,” he said.
“Unless you give that guy a proper matting wicket or a turf wicket, unless you give him some half-decent coaching, some half-decent fitness assistance- where was all this in the 1990s and the 2000s? There was no access to it. We were starved of knowledge.
“Even in terms of fitness, we used to look at the Australians and South Africans and we used to look at their fitness trainers, and what did we get? ‘Don’t do too much gym, your body will become stiff. Bowl, bowl and bowl. Run rounds and laps’,” he further remarked.