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Mid-tour changes tough on everyone, says Rahul

Calcutta: India should have waited till the end of the ongoing England tour before ringing in changes to their support staff, feels Rahul Dravid.

Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, the former India captain opined that such a decision taken midway during a tour was “tough on everyone concerned”.

“You don’t have problems if people want to make changes, it’s part of professional sport. But there’s still not a lot of clarity on whether this is a long-term appointment or the changes we have seen are just for this series. So there’s a bit of confusion around that,” Dravid said.

“Sometimes, from a player’s perspective, that can be quite hard. I hope that’s something Ravi (Shastri) will handle quite well. All these players also build relationships with the support staff and as players, you do recognise that at some level you are actually responsible for your own success and failure.”

The appointment of Shastri as team director, and Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun and R. Sridhar as assistant coaches sparked off speculation about Duncan Fletcher’s future as head coach. Dravid, however, put the ball in Fletcher’s court.

“If you ask me, I think he’s got a lot of knowledge and I know having been around the side that the team does respect him. And a lot of them get along very well with him and do ask him for a lot of technical advice.

“There is a good rapport between him and Dhoni,” Dravid commented.

He was also confident that Shastri and Fletcher would ensure they work together in the best interests of the team. “Knowing the kind of people they are, Ravi and Duncan would not want to ensure that the players see there is an issue between them,” he said.

“Like Ravi says, Duncan will still be the head coach, he will still be running the team meetings and be involved in the selection of the playing XI. So I hope there is no issue.”

Even as the new support staff gets ready to take over, Dravid appreciated the work put in by bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penney who were asked to go on leave. “I feel both did their jobs very professionally and tried to do the best they can.

“Sometimes things don’t work out.”

Dravid explained that the role of the support staff is restricted to giving players the best environment to succeed in. “The support staff can’t bat, bowl or catch for you. That’s why sometimes being in the support staff or being a coach is a no-win situation.

“You might be giving the guys the best possible advice and the best possible training facilities, but things don’t work in the field. You can still drop catches. You can still have technical issues with the bat. Coaches can’t solve everything and as good players, deep down, you know that.”

With virtually an all-Indian support staff in charge at present, there have been talks that the BCCI will consider only homegrown coaches going forward. Dravid believes that while Indian coaches are coming up and getting exposure in the IPL, nationality should never come in the way of deciding on the right personnel for the job.

“The team should get what it needs,” he remarked.

Having worked with Shastri before as a player, Dravid said the latter’s positive personality should benefit the team. Recalling the period after the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies when he was captain and Shastri came in as interim manager after India’s first-round exit, Dravid said: “I thought Ravi was very good at that time when he was there with the team.

“He’s obviously got a lot of experience that he has to offer as a player. As far as personality is concerned, he’s a very positive, outgoing, upbeat kind of person, which can really help the team.

“His personality can help a lot of the younger players because they do respect him and what he’s done for the game.”