“What do you need that many breaks for?” – Ravi Shastri takes a dig at Rahul Dravid

India head coach Rahul Dravid shouldn’t be taking frequent breaks, according to predecessor Ravi Shastri. Dravid has chosen to have some downtime after the T20 World Cup loss, with NCA head VVS Laxman presiding over the upcoming white-ball tour of New Zealand.

The Indian T20I setup is expected to go through a transition period soon, both in terms of personnel and approach.

Scoffing at the idea of ​​workload management for the staff, former head coach Ravi Shastri claimed that Rahul Dravid should spend more time with the players at such a critical juncture.

“I don’t believe in breaks. I want to understand my team and players, and then be in control of that team. What do you need that many breaks for, to be honest? You get your two-three months of the IPL , that’s enough for you to rest as a coach. But other times, I think a coach should be hands-on, whoever he is,” Ravi Shastri told a select group of journalists during a call organized by Prime Video.

Rahul Dravid had earlier skipped the Ireland and Zimbabwe tours as well, with Laxman deputizing for him. The latter was also in charge of India’s Asia Cup opener against Pakistan as Dravid had not recovered from Covid-19.

Ravi Shastri further exhorted Team India to walk in the footsteps of England. Lavishing praise on their bold stance, Shastri stated that the group of Indian players touring New Zealand could help plan the way forward by following the template set by England.

“I wouldn’t like to point out anything, but there’s an opportunity with this team in the future to identify roles for players, identify match-winners, and go pretty much on the template of England,” he said. “They are one team that really caught the bull by the horns after the 2015 World Cup. They sat down and said they are going to identify the best players for that format of the game – whether it’s T20 or 50-over cricket.”

“Which meant if there were certain senior players who had to sit out, then so be it,” he added. “They got in youngsters who were fearless, who could adapt to that pattern of the game without having to change their games too much. So it’s a template that can be followed easily; India have got a wealth of resources. And I think it can start from this tour. Because when you look at this team, it’s a fresh, young side. You can identify, you can groom, and you can take this team ahead in two years’ time.”

Not just separate captains and players, but England also have separate coaches. Brendon McCullum is in charge of the Test side while Matthew Mott takes care of white-ball proceedings.

“If his name is Hardik Pandya, then so be it” – Ravi Shastri bats for new T20I captain

Hardik Pandya during a practice session in Wellington
Hardik Pandya during a practice session in Wellington

After several rounds of passing-the-parcel, the captain’s hat has now come to Hardik Pandya. The star all-rounder had de-facto filed his nomination for the role after leading the Gujarat Titans (GT) to the IPL crown in their maiden season.

Pandya seems unlikely to play ODIs and Tests on a regular basis, thus taking the concern of workload out of the window. Ravi Shastri also threw his weight behind the 29-year-old, adding that it would be tough for the regular skipper Rohit Sharma to manage all three formats.

“For T20 cricket, there’s no harm in having a new captain. Because the volume of cricket is such, for one player to play all three formats of the game is never going to be easy. Rohit is already leading in one-day and Test matches, so there’s no harm in identifying a new T20 captain. And if his name is Hardik Pandya, then so be it,” Shastri stated.

India and New Zealand will kickstart the three-match T20I series in Wellington tomorrow, before shifting focus to the ODIs starting November 25 in Auckland.

Watch the India tour of New Zealand live and exclusive on Prime Video from Nov 18 – Nov 30. The T20Is on 18th, 20th and 22nd November begin 11 am, and ODIs on 25th, 27th and 30th November begin 6 am.

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