The upcoming ODI World Cup will be Rahul Dravid’s last competition in his current stint as head coach of the Indian cricket team. With a loss in this year’s World Test Championship final, a semi-final exit in the 2022 T20 World Cup, Test series loss in South Africa and the reversal against England in the deciding final Test at Birmingham, India’s report card under Dravid has been far from flattering.
Former skipper and BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly, in an interview on the sidelines of a promotional event on Monday, said: “At least, they are making the finals. With Dravid as coach and players such as Rohit, Kohli, even they know that when they get to these positions (knockouts) they should win. Not all the time, but at least 50 percent of the time.”
Two years back, Ganguly as BCCI president played a part in convincing Dravid to take up the job. “I don’t want to judge. We will see what happens after the World Cup,” he said at the event of developers Casagrand. “I wish him the best for the World Cup. He has the team that can go the distance. Rahul himself has performed for India as a player in World Cups and knows what it takes. Hopefully, they play well.
“It doesn’t matter what you do before and after the World Cup. World Cups are won based on how you do well on the day, and I hope he will pass this message across.”
Ganguly wasn’t worried about the lack of game time for India’s returning middle-order batters KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. “They will play in the Asia Cup and the three matches against Australia. They will have a camp. That should be enough,” he said. “India just need to bat well. They will have to get big runs. They have the bowling, spin will play a part as the tournament progresses.”
What Ganguly would have done differently from the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee is kept faith in leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. “I would pick Chahal. I would always pick wrist-spinners,” he said.
He echoed the flexibility theme around the No.4 batting position skipper Rohit Sharma spoke about after the Asia Cup selection meeting in Delhi on Monday. “No one is born an opener or No.4. Virat can play at No.4, or Shreyas, Rahul. When I was captain, Yuvraj was No.6, later under MS (Dhoni) he became No.4. In the 2011 World Cup final, MS came in at No.4 and won the match,” he said.
Ganguly does not think it’s the end of the road for Rohit Sharma in T20Is. “Rohit should play. I don’t believe in picking and choosing formats. Obviously, it’s his call. But if you ask me, play till you can. Players like Rohit, Kohli, Shami, Siraj, Bumrah… they can fit into any format.”