MUMBAI: While it’s still not confirmed in black and white, stalwarts of the game who've been involved with Indian cricket in the past have given a thumbs-up to the BCCI's decision to appoint Rahul Dravid as the new Team India coach post the T20 World Cup.
“Dravid brings in a huge amount of experience. After being the Director and chief coach at the National Cricket Academy for many years, his transition as the coach of the national team will be a smooth one, simply because he knows all the young cricketers- in terms of their skill level and mental toughness- who are good enough to fill in the shoes of the seniors when they hang their shoes," former India captain and chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar told TOI Saturday.
"At present, Dravid is in the best position to know the bench strength (of the Indian team) at the back of his palm. Besides, he is hugely experienced as he played for almost 20 years for India at the international level. I guess his presence will have a calming influence on the team and having been a part of the NCA, he must be good at man management,” Vengsarkar added.
“It will be very good for the health of Indian cricket if he takes over the job," India’s 1983 World Cup hero Sandeep Patil told TOI.
"His cricketing knowledge will be of tremendous help. No one can dare question or argue with him. It’s a very good decision by the BCCI. If this news comes true and he takes over from Ravi (Shastri), I’ll be most happy. Ravi has done a very good job with the Indian team, and Rahul has done a very good job with India A. He’s such a gentleman, a well-educated person. It’s futile to even talk about his vast cricketing knowledge,” Patil said.
Patil, a former India chief selector, offered a sound piece of advice to Dravid.
“Rahul has to start from scratch now. Handling India under-19, under-22 teams is different to handling the Indian team. I’ve had experience at all these three jobs, and I failed to handle the Indian team. I’m accepting that, and I’ve written this in my soon to be released book: Outside the boundary line.”
It would be interesting to see how the ice-cool Dravid gels with the highly aggressive, competitive Virat Kohli, who wears his passion on his sleeve while playing for India.
“Even (MS) Dhoni and Virat are different. Ek baraf ka gola (Dhoni, ice cool), ek aag ka shola (Virat, burning with passion). Even Ajit Wadekar was different to MAK Pataudi and Bishan Singh Bedi. We've had so many Indian captains with different personalities in terms of approach and temperament. You’ve to adapt. The coach and captain’s rapport is most important for the welfare of the Indian team," Patil said.
"Now, Virat has already stepped down from T20I captaincy. In Tests, he isn’t that aggressive -- his ‘fight’ with England’s James Anderson was a different case. That can happen with any player. That won’t hamper the relations between the coach and the captain. I’m sure that Rahul, with his approach, attitude, calmness and coolness, will coach the Indian team well. He’s such a darling,” Patil said.
Having played against and then coached Dravid over the years, Patil has a sentimental attachment with Dravid.
“I’ve been blessed to see his journey from close quarters. I played against him when Madhya Pradesh (Patil was leading them) beat Karnataka in Bangalore in the Ranji Trophy. He played under me for India under-19, then India A and then made his Test debut under me (in England in 1996). If this news is true, I wish him all the best. He’s the darling of the entire cricketing world,” Patil said.
In a statement through his foundation, former Australian captain Greg Chappell, who was the coach of the Indian team from 2005-07, when Dravid was the captain, hailed the BCCI’s decision to appoint Dravid as the India coach, even though the decision hasn’t been communicated to the world ‘formally.’
Till yesterday news reports were saying Rahul Dravid was going to stay at the NCA. Yet early morning news broke of… https://t.co/EUTeyvtlH7— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) 1634359536000
“I’m personally delighted that Dravid has been appointed as the next coach of India. Whoever followed Ravi was going to have huge shoes to fill following his extremely successful tenure, but Rahul is the most eminently qualified of those who could’ve been chosen,” Chappell praised.
“As a player and captain, Rahul showed himself to be calm, courageous, shrewd, and blessed with an enquiring mind. His knowledge of the game is exceptional and he has honed his coaching credentials in the years since finishing his playing career at the vital level of under-19 and India ‘A.’ The seeds of India’s recent international success can be traced to the programme that Rahul has overseen at the NCA,” gushed the Aussie great.
Chappell complimented Dravid as “a class man".
“This is a courageous and far-sighted appointment by the BCCI and one which should be applauded. I’ve tremendous admiration for Rahul as a cricketer and a man -- he’s all class. I enjoyed a warm and fruitful relationship with him during my time with the Indian team, so I’m excited that he’s stepping into one of the most demanding roles in cricket,” said Chappell.
If it’s true Rahul Dravid is to be the next Indian coach I think the rest of the world better beware … !— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) 1634335501000
“I take this opportunity of wishing him every success as he manages the day-to-day demands (and scrutiny) of this challenging job, which includes meeting the huge expectations that invariably accompany the appointment,” concluded the 73-year-old.
Prof Ratnakar Shetty, who’s been a veteran administrator in the BCCI, and has interacted a lot with both Dravid and Kohli will synergise “100.”
“He’s played with seniors in the team like Kohli and Rohit Sharma. That mutual respect will always be there. By virtue of his stature, Dravid is no less than any of our greats, and that matters,” felt Shetty.
Best news to hear is #RahulDravid will be Head Coach for #TeamIndia Wishing best luck#Coach https://t.co/sXucWTX4d9— Munaf Patel (@munafpa99881129) 1634367479000
“When we approached him for the India coaching job in 2017, which he turned down at that time, it wasn’t because he had any issues with any individual. Having known him for a long time, I can say that he’s not that kind of a person who holds any prejudices against people. It’s just that he wanted to move on to the senior team slowly. He wanted to work with the India under-19 and the India A teams, and then when he was ready at some point in time, switch over to the senior team. That was always his thought process,” revealed Shetty.
“Most of the players in this team, apart from Rohit and Virat, have come along in the last seven-eight years, after Dravid retired. He would know half the team. That should work in favour (of him). Rather than trying someone and then landing up with issues, you’ve someone who’s keen to take up the job. You need someone who understands the team well and can carry Ravi’s work forward. Dravid has already delivered as far as grooming our Gen-Next is concerned,” Shetty asserted.