Mumbai: Rahul Dravid believes that the nationality of a coach is not important and the best man for the job, who has the professional acumen, should become India’s coach. At a promotional here, Dravid also said he wasn’t ready to be the India coach.
On who should be India’s coach
I don’t want to go into the nationality of a coach. We live in a professional world today and where the coach comes from is irrelevant. If he can provide what the team needs, it doesn’t matter where he is from. We’ve had Indian coaches with various roles involved with the team in the past. It is not that we have not had Indian coaches in the last decade. Over a long period, we had Robin (Singh) and (Venkatesh) Prasad who were involved with the team as well.
Over the past 10 years, with so many coaching programmes in the NCA and with a lot more professional coaching even at the Ranji Trophy level, coaches now are professionals. So obviously the pool of talent among Indian coaches is constantly building up. They should pick the best man, irrespective of the nationality. And if he is an Indian, so be it.
On Sunil Gavaskar saying he should be India coach
Firstly, I am happy that he thinks I am capable. It is nice of him to say so... At this point of time, with the time constraints and the time required to do the coaching job — nearly 11 months in a year — it is extremely hard to devote that kind of time.
Specially, I have just finished playing cricket. May be some day in the future… Obviously, I am involved with Rajasthan Royals in a different role for two months. Time permitting, may be I will coach India A or India U-19… not really the Indian coaching job at this point of time. But who knows what will happen in the future. But definitely not in the near future...
On what should be the role of a coach
Sometimes, the role of the coach is over rated. Sometimes, you go overboard. Responsibilities should also lie with the senior players. It is their team. A team is defined by what the senior players bring to the party. In the end, they are the ones who have to perform. A coach can help you create the right environment, the right conditions. But you cannot always necessarily judge a coach by the results.
How a coach prepares his players is what a coach should be judged on… They cannot really influence the course of a game, but they get judged on that. All of them know that and they respect that. That’s how life is. In T20, captaincy is very important because you don’t have time to discuss with coaches. One you are on the field, it is really up to you. There is no one to fall back on.
In IPL, you have strategic time out, but you don’t get than in an international game. There is very little a coach can do after he has prepared for a game. His job actually finishes once the game starts.
On Cheteshwar Pujara
Someone like Pujara can definitely make a mark in one-day cricket. I speak from my personal experience of someone who was seen as a Test player. I was able to develop and build my game for one-day cricket and play consistently with success for quite a long time.
I have no doubt that Pujara has the skill and the ability to do that. It is nice to see that he has got into the India one-day squad. At the moment, with the number of young players in the squad, he is probably not able to make it to the XI. Hopefully that will come.
There are tours of England and Australia coming up and someone like him will get a little more playing time and get the opportunity to prove himself and do well. We all need to keep developing our skills. I don’t see any reason why he cannot succeed in one-day cricket.
When I see him bat in Test matches, the way he rotates the strike, the kind of shots he hits… it is not only about hitting sixes, right? He scores runs pretty quickly, he scores runs at a pretty decent pace even in Test cricket. I have no doubt that he can do well. Obviously, he is fighting in a cramped middle order at the moment. That is the challenge for him. Hopefully, he can get opportunities as and when possible and make the best of them. And if does, then I feel he has a role for India.
On whether Pujara needs to bowl as well
In the end, he will be judged for his batting. I have never seen Pujara bowl. So I don’t know how good his bowling is. Having an extra string in your bow is nice, but I don’t think it is crucial.
Dilip Vengsarkar did not, for a large part of his career, have any other skill, but batting. I kept only for a very short period in my one-day career though I rate my off-spin quite well. I got Saeed Anwar out, so I am a pretty good off-spinner. I did not need another skill. If you are among the top five batsmen of the team, then you don’t necessarily need another skill. If you can bowl, then that’s nice. But I don’t think that should be paramount.
On overseas tours with two spinners…
I would like to believe that should we go into overseas series with five bowlers, then we should have (Ravindra) Jadeja batting at No. 7. He is batting a lot better. It is a fact that we were not able to finish off two games. We got ourselves into positions from where we should have won, but didn’t. The ideal scenario for me would be to somehow find a way to play five bowlers. Going with two and two can sometimes be risky, especially on the wickets we play on. Every time we go abroad, we get green tops. In that kind of scenario, it can be tough. You need the luxury of having a third seamer and two spinners.
On Dhoni not being comfortable with five bowlers
He has got a young batting line-up. I won’t blame him. After Kapil Dev, we have not had the confidence of being able to say that we have a genuine all-rounder.
I think Dhoni is as good a batsman as anyone else. Jadeja is improving. Ashwin is improving… We have to be brave to be able to win Test matches. Because we are getting into positive positions and we are not being able to get those 20 wickets to be able to seal a victory in Test matches. And that is an area we need to plug. We might get bowled out cheaply sometimes, because we are a batsman less. But we will also get a team out, when we are in a position to do so, with extra bowlers.
These couple of tours are going to be important for him as well... England and Australia. He has got a bit of experience in international cricket but he has not played a lot in overseas conditions. He has played only three or four matches. We have to be a little more patient with him and give him that freedom.