Rahul Dravid, who is coaching the India ‘A’ and U-19 teams, has claimed that he is not only trying to make the players better cricketers but better human beings as well. Dravid also added that they have taken the decision of restricting young players from playing in more than one U-19 World Cup.
For the past two years, Dravid has been polishing the young talent through his coaching and has been able to push through young players into the senior team as well. Many of his players have been able to secure lucrative contracts in the Indian Premier League as well. The 44-year-old explained the difference between playing cricket and coaching cricketers and how he is trying to turn young players into better human beings, not just better cricketers.
“I have really enjoyed coaching since the past two years and it has been a great learning experience. However, just because I played cricket for a long time wasn’t enough to qualify as a good coach. Playing is one thing and managing people is actually a different ball game altogether, but that is the beauty of coaching. One of my big focuses in trying to coach teams is that I don’t try to put an effort into coaching cricketers, but try to coach people as well. Since I have been through the journey of playing U19 cricket before, I do understand that they are under a lot of pressure and which is why I try to create a good team environment. My aim is to create such an environment where they can get the best out of their ability,” Dravid said, reported The Indian Express.
The former Indian batsman also wanted that the young cricketers to secure opportunities at the senior level so that there will be more free space for the next generation. He opined that no players should be allowed to play more than one U-19 World Cup.
“When I took over the U-19 coach, one of the things I felt was that people stay on and play too much of U-19 cricket. Which I think is very dangerous so we took a decision of not allowing anyone to play more than one World Cup. Which actually meant that five of the players of the last World Cup who were eligible for this year this World Cup in January are not playing. Guys like Washington Sundar, Zeeshan Ansari, Mahipal Lomror have all been picked in their respective Ranji Trophy teams. Even the state associations are looking ahead and not forcing them to keep playing in U-19. Their mindset and horizon are increasing. I think age group cricket has a purpose to solve but it is a limited purpose and from then on you have to play men’s cricket,” he said.
The former India captain was first appointed as the coach for the two teams in 2015 and under his leadership, the youngsters have achieved outstanding results, both home and away. His role inspired the BCCI to offer him a
“A lot of these young guys are being given opportunities. Their performances are being recognized by the selectors. We are having more A team matches to bridge that gap between domestic cricket and international cricket. Hence a lot of these youngsters are performing and doing well. We have already seen four of our boys from the team have got into the national side, which is a great thing. But sometimes it is hard to break into such a successful team (like the present Indian squad) and they need to wait for their opportunities,” he said.
Dravid also said that the ICC's new Code of Laws related to the thickness of bats to be restricted will have an impact on the game of cricket. According to the new rules, bat dimensions have been reconfigured to an edge limit of 40mm and depth of 67mm, to bring some sense of parity between bat and ball.
“A change in the size will have an impact and the results of the games will show the effect. Though the change won’t be too drastic as only a few players use such bats. However, it is also about the nature of the pitch and the size of the boundary that matter.”
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