Rahul Dravid, on Thursday, made it clear that he has not thought of taking over as a full-time coach yet. The former India captain, who is currently the head of the National Cricket Academy, travelled to Sri Lanka with India’s limited overs side, but while addressing the media after the T20I series, Dravid admitted that ‘there are a lot of challenges with full-time roles’.
“I have enjoyed this experience but I have not thought of anything far ahead. I have been doing what I am doing. I have not given any other thought but this tour and getting through the tour. I have enjoyed the experience of working with these guys, it has been great. I have not given any other thoughts to anything else,” Dravid said.
“There are a lot of challenges in doing full-time roles, so I really don’t know.”
Even though Dravid had worked with the India U-19 and the A teams in the past, this was the first time he worked with the senior team and Dravid feels that one needs to be patient with the young team.
With nine of its top players unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols, India lost the T20I series 1-2 and asked about whether Sanju Samson was not able to utilise the opportunities, Dravid said: “It was not the easiest of conditions to bat in. In the one-day game that he got a chance, he got a very good start and got 46. In T20Is, it was a bit challenging, but yeah, when (you) would look back at the series, you would be a bit disappointed. But it’s not just Sanju, most of these young guys are talented and terrific players. We need to be patient with them.”
“It was quite challenging after the first game, but I thought there are a lot of opportunities and learnings from games like these for the youngsters. It gives them an exposure to international cricket,” Dravid said, adding that on slower surfaces – where 130-140 is considered a decent total – it is important for the players to hang in there and tackle the quality bowling line-up. “The great positive for me is the way guys have fought,” Dravid said.
The Indian team reached Sri Lanka in the last week of June and played only six matches. While the ODI series was initially postponed by a few days after a couple of Sri Lanka coaching staff tested positive for COVID-19, Krunal Pandya too contracted the virus on Tuesday which led to eight other players – who were his immediate contacts – going into isolation. Dravid admitted that it was a tough situation.
“It has not been easy. We have been here for 45 days and we have only played six matches for a variety of reasons. It has been challenging, the boys have been in quarantine and inside the bubble. We have only seen the ground and the hotel. We were not able to go everywhere even in the hotel, so it is challenging and credit to all the boys for the way they maintained their enthusiasm, worked really hard. I can’t fault any of the boys for their efforts,” he said.
“Just the way Shikhar and Bhuvi and the leadership group created the environment was terrific. I can’t fault them for their energy and effort. It was tough for us and not an easy situation to be in, but we are lucky to play cricket in times like these. In some way, we feel blessed to do what we do and it’s a privilege to play for the country. I can’t be more proud of the boys and the way they handled the 45 days having only six matches to play…”