XtraTime Web Desk: Rahul Dravid feels that India have a lot of depth in white-ball cricket, but lack of red-ball practice makes their long-form batting a work in progress.
It’s the amount of white-ball cricket and, therefore, the hours of short-format training that make the Indians so good in one-day international and Twenty20 International cricket. Not to forget the bench strength, which is quite well rounded.
Former captain Dravid, coach of the India A side and India Under-19 teams, remains one of the legends of the game, and a star of Test match cricket with 13,288 Test runs – No.4 in the list of leading run-getters of all time.
“Work constantly needs to happen. It is not a one-time thing or a two-year thing,” said Dravid when asked about India’s batting form in Test cricket – specifically in England – to The Week. “I think it is important to tighten the process or programme that exists at U-19 and A team levels. Make it more robust. Make sure there are opportunities every year.
“There is now a path for people who do well in the Ranji Trophy. I definitely feel that in white-ball cricket we have lot of depth, largely due to the amount of white-ball cricket that is played. In red-ball cricket, we have talent and decent backups, but again it is a work in progress.”
India lost the series in England 4-1. Dravid feels that a proper first-class schedule before the Tests could have helped the Indians.
“I benefited hugely from having proper first-class games. Maybe schedules have changed and things are more complicated, but there is no doubt that a couple of first-class games before any Test tour is only going to help. I found this 14 playing 14 [rotation system] started happening towards the end of my career. I did not like those games as a player,” he said.
Despite the show in England, India do have a problem of plenty with a number of outstanding performers coming through the ranks. “That will be one of the biggest challenges we will face in the future. Opportunities to play in the Indian team are limited and sometimes you could be doing everything right, and still not get selected,” pointed out Dravid.
“You can only get selected if the position opens up. It is happening a lot more now, because there is a lot more cricket [being played]. But, people are getting opportunities to showcase their talent more than they could in the past.”
Dravid also agrees that in terms of batting time, going through challenging times and being able to play on bowler-friendly tracks, the batsmanship has taken a hit.
“Batsmanship comprises of many things. If you were to view it from the prism of shot-making ability, innovation, power, ability to hit sixes and scoring at a quicker rate, then there is no doubt batsmanship has improved,” he said.
“[But], if you view it from the prism of batting time, being able to get through challenging times and being able to play on tracks on which seam or spin is more, then maybe batsmanship has declined a little bit. Players now have to juggle between three formats and may not be getting to have as much red ball time and conditions.
“There were boys who came on the A tour with us to England, who had not played red ball cricket for six-to-seven months! It would never have happened before. The time they get to practice red ball cricket has altered drastically.”