Millennium Post
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In BCCI's goof-up, Dravid is a welcome change

In BCCIs goof-up, Dravid is a welcome change
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New Delhi: It was October 15, the final of the Indian Premier League at Dubai International Stadium, when BCCI president Sourav Ganguly introduced his old teammate and former India skipper Rahul Dravid to the host of dignitaries there as next India Chief Coach.

And two days later, BCCI advertised for the same post on October 17, inviting applications from suitable candidates from around the world. By then the word had travelled around the world through social media. Those coaches or former greats who were interested in applying for this coveted job immediately started calling up their connections in India.

And one such interested Australian candidate did call a former BCCI senior official to ask him about "whether he should throw his hat into the ring or it's a mere formality to formalise the informal commitment". The conversation was long but to cut it short, this Australian was told in as many words that "Dravid's name has already been finalised during his meeting with BCCI secretary Jay Shah and Ganguly".

It was hardly a secret for those covering IPL final in Dubai that Dravid's name has been cleared from the top (the top now-a-day is not the president but the Shah junior).

As was expected, no big name from outside did apply for India's most desirable post. And whoever did apply from within India, have not been called for a formal interview before Dravid's name was finally announced earlier this week.

Whatever may be reasons for BCCI to bring in Dravid from the backdoor, but there are no doubts that he is the most worthy candidate to manage this star-studded but struggling Team India. And to have him just at a moment when Virat Kohli and his team have hit a new low in losing two crucial games on the trot and almost losing out from the semi-final line-up in the ongoing T20 World Cup, Dravid's entry into the dressing room is an indication for a large some changes that are expected in coming months.

Anyone who follows Indian cricket closely does understand that getting Dravid ready for this new role was never been too easy for BCCI officials.

In the past also, Dravid had apparently made it clear that "he is ready to take over once this present generation of senior players would fade out". It was obviously a hint towards Kohli or for that matter Rohit Sharma and others, with whom Dravid had shared dressing room as a player in Team India, domestic or in the IPL.

That's how Dravid's role was confined to managing the India A, Under19 and running the National Cricket Academy. And the ugly spat between Karnataka giant Anil Kumble and Kohli in 2017 was another reason for Dravid to avoid stepping into the big shoes. He was happy earning handsomely (approximately Rs 7 crore annually) by sitting at home and spending quality time with his family (including two kids).

It was during the England tour when players were 'forced out of bio-bubble' to attend the book launch of Ravi Shastri and that resulted in a couple of them getting down with the Covid-19 virus. Dravid's entry will bring different work ethics and professionalism to the dressing room. Given the reserved nature of The Wall (as Dravid is known in the cricket fraternity), there may be less lecture like Shastri and more work and strategy that would now be seen during the practice sessions.

Not to forget that Team India apparently cancelled a practice session during the ongoing T20 World Cup because it was scheduled in Abu Dhabi, but to imagine it happening again under Dravid is unimaginable.

Dravid had been a team man to the core and that's how he even agreed to don the wicket-keeping gloves during the 1999 World Cup to give a better balance to the team when an injury to regular keeper Nayan Mongia ruled him out. But that was not all, Dravid did suffer later on many occasions when he was kind of adjusted in the team's playing eleven only on account of accepting to be a wicket-keeper batsman, which he never liked.

That's why many believe that Dravid would never take any such cricketing judgment to extremes as Kohli has done in the case of the world's top spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin. By leaving out Ashwin, first in England and then now on the slow pitches of UAE where many other teams have been playing with even three spinners at a time, must raise finger of suspicion on the Indian team management.

There is no doubt that Indian cricket needs Dravid more than ever, and his success as a coach-cum-mentor would be vital in instilling a new belief for the future.

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