Former India captain and current National Cricket Academy (NCA) head Rahul Dravid has been named as the coach of the Indian limited-overs team that will tour Sri Lanka in July. The Indian team will play three ODIs and three T20Is in Sri Lanka from July 13 to 27.
Confirming Rahul Dravid’s appointment as coach for the Sri Lanka series, a BCCI official told ANI:
“The Team India coaching staff will be in the UK and it is best that the young team is guided by Dravid as he has already worked with almost all of the India ‘A’ boys. The comfort the youngsters share with him will be an added advantage.”
The Indian squad to be coached by Rahul Dravid in Sri Lanka is expected to be selected at the end of the month.
When Rahul Dravid worked as a batting consultant with Team India
The Sri Lanka tour will be Rahul Dravid’s second stint with the Indian team. He was earlier appointed as a batting consultant for India’s tour of England in 2014.
Apparently, then coach Duncan Fletcher and skipper MS Dhoni approached the BCCI and requested for Rahul Dravid’s assistance considering his vast experience and knowledge of the game.
‘The Wall’ mentored the team ahead of the five-Test series against England. Here’s a recap of how Team India performed during the England tour of 2014.
India began the series with a high-scoring draw in Nottingham as Murali Vijay (146) and Joe Root (154 not out) cracked first-innings hundreds.
Team India then took the crucial 1-0 lead as Ajinkya Rahane, a batsman in the Rahul Dravid mould, scored a fine opening-day century at Lord’s. Ishant Sharma’s seven-for in the second innings set up India’s 95-run triumph.
India, however, could not build on the significant lead, losing the next three Tests to go 1-3 down in the series.
The visitors lost the third Test at Southampton by 266 runs, the fourth in Manchester by an innings and 54 runs and the final Test in London by an innings and 244 runs.
It was a rather disappointing end to what had been a promising start.
How the Indian batsmen fared during the 2014 Test series in England
One of the key reasons Rahul Dravid was chosen to guide the Indian batting unit for the 2014 England tour was because of his superior record in the country.
Having made his Test debut at Lord’s in 1996, Rahul Dravid went on to play a total of 13 Tests in England and amassed 1376 runs at an average of 68.80, with six centuries.
During his last visit to the country in 2011, Dravid totaled 461 runs in four Tests, averaging 76.83 with three hundreds.
The Indian batsmen, though, could not replicate Dravid’s heroics and had a tough time against the moving ball during the 2014 series.
That England tour is famously remembered for Virat Kohli’s troubles with the bat. The current Indian captain managed only 134 runs in 10 innings at a modest average of 13.40 and a best of 39.
Opener Murali Vijay was India’s best batsman during the Test series. He scored 402 runs at an average of 40.20 with one hundred and two fifties.
MS Dhoni did reasonably well too, scoring 349 runs with four fifties, while Rahane finished with 299 runs at an average of 33.22.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan had forgettable tours. While Pujara managed only one fifty from 10 innings, Dhawan had a top-score of 37, having played three Tests.
What Rahul Dravid can bring to the table in Sri Lanka
The Indian team in Sri Lanka is expected to have a lot of young names as the main squad, led by Kohli, will be in England for a long tour. Working with youngsters is something Rahul Dravid definitely seems to enjoy.
Before taking over as the NCA head in 2019, Rahul Dravid coached the Indian U-19 team apart from working with the India ‘A’ team. In fact, he was the coach when India, under Prithvi Shaw, lifted the U-19 World Cup in 2018.
The Indian legend came in for plenty of praise after India’s bench strength rose to the challenge and overcame Australia in the Test series earlier this year against all odds.
Rahul Dravid was heavily credited with building and mentoring a solid group of backup players for the team.
Recently, former Aussie captain Greg Chappell also lavished praise on Dravid for bringing about significant improvements in Indian cricket by grooming youngsters for the big stage.