World Cup 2023: Coach Rahul Dravid’s Future Hangs In Balance
His two-year contract will expire at the end of ODI World Cup but head coach Rahul Dravid’s future will be followed keenly in case the Indian team lifts the coveted trophy. It is a foregone conclusion that Dravid will be one of the fall guys if India cannot at least make it to the title clash as a mere semi-final appearance wouldn’t be considered good enough. BCCI may search for a coach again and it will be interesting to see if ‘The Wall’ will be keen on a renewal of contract — partial or full — in case Board supremo Jay Shah offers a fresh deal.
The Role of Separate Coaches
There is a school of thought that Dravid, in case he is keen, should continue as the red ball coach with South Africa (away) and England (home series) series scheduled very close to the World Cup. There is no harm in having separate coaches for limited overs and Test format moving into the next cycle post World Cup, just like England have Brendon McCullum (red ball) and Matthew Mott (white ball).
Dravid has been given breaks from assignments to recuperate as living out of suitcase for someone, who is involved in a tremendously high-pressure job, could be taxing. Someone like Ashish Nehra (successful IPL coach) is an apt choice but sources close to the left-arm seamer of yesteryears have said that he is “not interested” as of now with his contract with Gujarat Titans running till the end of 2025 season.
“Suppose India wins the World Cup, Dravid himself might not want a renewal as he would like to end his stint on a high. But if you ask me, post World Cup, the BCCI should seriously think of having separate coaches for separate formats. They should ask Rahul to continue as red ball coach,” a former BCCI office-bearer told PTI on conditions of anonymity. At this point, whether it is Dravid or the Board top brass, they would like the focus on the big event, which starts October 5.
Dravid’s Performance as a Coach
While Dravid arrived amidst a lot of fanfare after Ravi Shastri’s departure, as a white ball coach, he hasn’t really left an impression which could compel anyone to consider him as a shrewd tactician. Rather, he has been perceived as someone who is a bit on the defensive when it comes to taking tough calls — both in T20Is and ODIs.
If in T20I World Cup, he allowed the top-three that had past its sell-by date in the shortest format to continue, the decision to drop Ravichandran Ashwin during the World Test Championship final didn’t seem to be a very prudent call. The lack of a right-arm spinner (finger or wrist) in the current World Cup squad or the bullishness to include KL Rahul, without him proving his match-fitness, are decisions that might come back to haunt him. Even though a lot will depend on the team’s World Cup performance, Dravid isn’t a great white ball coach and someone with a more hands-on approach could help the team in the next phase when some legends will be expected to walk into the sunset.
History is replete with incidents that if a team loses a major event, the coaches often become scapegoats. Dravid himself had seen that when Greg Chappell had no option but to send his resignation after the 2007 debacle when he was the captain. In 2023, the shoe is on the other foot and Dravid wouldn’t want his coaching legacy to be tarnished like it happened with his captaincy where one tournament result trumps all the good work done. He would want that Rohit and his players help him enjoy that surreal feeling of being a World Champion, something that has eluded him.
Dravid’s Unfortunate Timing
He never really had the proverbial ‘rub of green’ when it came to holding the center-stage during the seminal moments in Indian cricket. Whether it was Lord’s 1996 when the other debutant Sourav Ganguly scored the hundred or at Taunton when Ganguly’s 183 overshadowed his century. His 180 at the Eden Gardens during the historic 2001 Test against Australia was sheer class. Just that VVS Laxman’s 281 was classier. Under his captaincy, India successfully chased a record 17 games in ODIs between 2006 and 2007, only to come up with their worst World Cup performance since 1979. Port of Spain did become his ‘Port of Pain’.
Dravid deserves a fitting redemption and it is now up to his players to give him one.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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