Despite India’s recent Test series win in Sri Lanka, the team’s first in the island nation since 1993, India A and Under-19 cricket team head coach Rahul Dravid expressed concern about the country’s young batsmen’s inclination towards attempting big shots, ignoring the importance of rotating strikes to construct partnerships.
“One of the areas that could be a concern for Indian cricket is that there is a lack of balance; people are either defending or hitting big shots and it easy to set fields to that as you can set in-out fields,” Dravid was quoted as saying by espncricinfo on Wednesday.
The former Indian captain, known for his steely resolve and flawless batting technique throughout his career, recently coached India A in the series against Australia A and South Africa A.
India A lost one four-day match to Australia A on a dry Chennai pitch and against the spin of Steve O’Keefe before coming back with a victory over South Africa A in Kerala.
“The ability to rotate the strike and construct a partnership when people have put men on the boundary line, and not hitting cover or point all the time, being able to hit to long-on or long-off and playing risk-free cricket, and building an innings against spin on tracks that are slow and turn a bit — these skills need to be worked on and developed,” the 42-year-old said.
Dravid did not see a lack of love for the longer format cricket in the youngsters, but he realised that unlike in his era, succeeding in Tests is not a must presently.
“Definitely, just as keen as I was when I was their age. When I look at them, they are very keen to play Test cricket and succeed in four-day cricket at the Ranji level. They all want to do well. I think what has changed is that they don’t necessarily need to do it. Today, a living can be made off the sport even if you don’t succeed in long-form cricket,” Dravid, who scored 13,288 runs in 164 Test matches, pointed out.
“I think that opportunity never existed to cricketers of my generation. When I was growing up, if you wanted to make a career off the sport and wanted to make the sport you love a profession for a long period of time, you just had to succeed in long-form cricket. Today with Twenty20 cricket, the opportunities have changed,” Dravid, who scored 10,889 runs in One-Day Internationals (ODIs), added.