IND vs NZ | Having lot of options is a good situation to be in, says Rahul Dravid

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Rahul Dravid had a winning start to his head-coach stint with team India

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IND vs NZ | Having lot of options is a good situation to be in, says Rahul Dravid

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SportsCafe Desk

12/06/2021

Rahul Dravid has said that having a lot of options for the team selection is a good headache to have, after India defeated New Zealand by 327 runs in the second Test in Mumbai to take the series 1-0. Dravid added that it was good to see players being tested on a challenging Wankhede pitch.

India won the home Test series against New Zealand by 1-0, beating the visitors by 372 runs in the Mumbai Test. The series was a positive for India as it saw quite a few notable individual performances. India were missing the services of KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Rishabh Pant in the series, while Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma were sidelined from the second Test with injuries.

While Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer stood out on the batting front, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Axar Patel and Jayant Yadav excelled with the ball, with Axar also making timely contributions with the bat. 

Iyer made an impressive start to his Test career in Kanpur, becoming the first Indian cricketer to score a hundred and follow it up with a fifty on debut. Agarwal was the highest run-scorer in the series with 242 runs. Axar Patel picked nine wickets in the series while Siraj dismissed three wickets in the second Test, where he'd replaced Ishant.

It was India's 14th consecutive series win at home. With the team set to tour South Africa next for three Tests and as many ODIs, head coach Rahul Dravid was thrilled to have ample options in terms of team selection.

"Great to see the boys stepping up and taking their opportunities. Yes, we were missing a few senior players. Credit to the guys who came in, Jayant had a difficult day yesterday, but learnt from it today. Mayank, Shreyas, Siraj, who doesn't get a lot of opportunities. Axar, great to see his development with the bat in addition to what he can do with the ball. It gives us a lot of options as well, helps us become a stronger side," said Dravid after the match.

"It's a good situation to be in, we've had injuries in the lead-up, so we need to manage our players physically and mentally, it's going to be a large part of my challenge, challenge too for the selectors and the leadership group. It's a good [selection] headache to have, see young boys perform well.”

Dravid further looked at the great depth in the squad and desire to do well among young guns. 

"There's a great desire to do well and great depth in the squad and everyone's pushing each other. I hope we have more headaches to have, and I hope we have more of that later. At times we are going to have to take difficult decisions but that is just the way it is. As long as we have clear communication and we explain to the players why, don't see it to be a problem," he said.

The mammoth lead of 263 runs in the first innings for India after they'd wrapped up the opposition for 62, tilted the game heavily in their favour. That was after New Zealand had secured a hard-fought dran in the first Test in Kanpur. Dravid believed that the team was tested throughout the series and was happy see players bouncing back from the tough situations. 

"I think it was good to finish the series as winners, came close in Kanpur, not able to get that last wicket there and had to work really hard here. This result seems one-sided, but right through the series, we were made to work hard. There have been phases where we were behind and had to fight back, credit to the team," said the former India captain. 

Despite a heavy first-innings lead, India didn't enforce a follow-on, and Dravid explained the thought process behind the decision.

"We knew we had a lot of time, didn't think much of the follow-on, also a lot of young batters in the side, so wanted to give them a chance to bat in conditions like these," he said. "We had a red soil wicket here with turn and bounce and we knew we may be in such situations in the future where we may have to force pace with the turning ball in the fourth of fifth day. It was good to see the boys being tested in this manner.

"Yesterday, Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson created problems with short pitched bowling. So it was a great opportunity to have the guys get some more practice in the middle with conditions that even we in India are not able to find often. Was great to help in the development of our players. We knew we had a lot of time to get them out and to be honest we still have a lot of time left."

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