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regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

Young names stepped up and executed their skills at pressure situations: Rahul Dravid

India won the five-match rubber convincingly by beating England by an innings and 64 runs in the fifth and final Test inside three days

PTI Dharamsala Published 09.03.24, 09:27 PM
Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid File photo

Young Indian players showed immense fortitude to tide over the absence of stars like Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami to out-punch England 4-1 in the Test series, and head coach Rahul Dravid lauded them for delivering in crunch situations.

Kohli skipped the five-match rubber for the birth of his second child, while Shami was recovering from a surgery.

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India won the five-match rubber convincingly by beating England by an innings and 64 runs in the fifth and final Test inside three days here on Saturday.

"We lost the first Test match, and had to bounce back from there, had to do it with a slightly different team to the one that we probably expected to start the series. We were put under pressure at various stages.

"But to be able to bounce back from that, it does make you feel really proud for the way the team's evolved. At pressure situations, we've really found people to step up and be able to execute their skills at the top of their ability," said Dravid in the post-match press meet.

Players like Dhruv Jurel, Akash Deep, Sarfaraz Khan and Devdutt Padikkal embossed their name on the series at various stages with wonderful efforts.

In that context, Dravid emphasised on the importance of India 'A' matches.

"All of these guys were just recently playing an 'A' tour against England. That really helped us also to see which are the guys performing and doing well.

"They just came in and were able to perform in this series as well. The 'A' team is that perfect bridge between these two standards (domestic cricket and international cricket)," he said.

Dravid also patted chief selector Ajit Agarkar and his panel for making some wise selection calls.

"I would like to give credit to Ajit and his team as well. As a coach and a captain (Rohit Sharma), we don't get to see domestic cricket. We have to rely on Ajit and his team to tell us who are the guys in domestic cricket who can step up and fill in the gaps. They have been spot-on."

Keeping dressing room relaxed

Dravid said his primary role as a coach is to keep the dressing room environment relaxed, helping the young players to ease themselves into top-level cricket.

"From our perspective, it's just about trying to keep things quite relaxed in the dressing room. It's very hard to get into an Indian team. So, if you get into the 15 then you deserve to be there, you'll not be treated differently, whether you're playing your first match or 100th game, from the perspective having a voice," he said.

However, Dravid reminded the upcoming players that their continued journey with the Indian team will depend on their performances.

"It's the kind of environment I like to create because I believe they've truly earned their right to be there. Of course, what happens in the future is up to their performances. But we'll try and support them and back them as much as we can." The former Indian skipper was also clear that the players will have to maximise the chances that come their way within a safe secure, non-judging space.

"It's not possible to give everyone the same number of chances. You can't put down a number and say I'll give everyone 16 chances or 14 or three chances or four. It doesn't work like that, but just the confidence that they'll not be judged on each and every game maybe helps," Dravid detailed.

Clear on resources to take 20 wickets

Dravid also emphasised on India's policy to pick the best possible bowling combination that can potentially given them 20 wickets.

It was a reason that he pressed for picking Kuldeep Yadav ahead of Axar Patel.

"We have always wanted to ensure we have the best resources to be able to take 20 wickets. That's the bottom-line of what me and Rohit have always spoken about. That's what wins you Tests. The safer option may have been to strengthen our batting a little bit.

"When I saw Axar walk in at No.6, I remember looking at Vikram (Rathour) and thinking, 'Jeez, VVS used to walk out at that position.' With due respect to Axar, he is a lovely player. It was the braver option (picking Kuldeep) and I am glad we went with that," he added.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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