IND vs SA: It’s in the front and center of their mind, says Rahul Dravid

File Photo of India head coach Rahul Dravid.
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

File Photo of India head coach Rahul Dravid.

India head coach Rahul Dravid revealed that a lot of players said to him about the slip-ups in the results after winning a Test. He added that it is something which the team is aware of, calling it ‘front and center of their mind’.

As a Test captain, Dravid led India to a 123-run win in the first Test at Johannesburg in 2006. India had a 1-0 lead but went on to lose the next two Tests in Durban and Cape Town by 174 runs and five wickets respectively.

Of late, India coming back from behind and winning the series has been defined as ‘bounceback ability’.

But Dravid was appreciative of the Indian team talking to him about slip-ups after winning a Test.

“A lot of boys have mentioned it to me. I had not been with the team for that long.

But the boys have mentioned to me that in the past when they have won a Test match, probably haven’t responded as much as they would have liked in the next Test.

I think it’s actually nice if those conversations start from the boys themselves because, from a coaching perspective, you know the boys are aware of these things. It’s in the front and center of their own mind,” said Dravid in the virtual press conference ahead of the second Test at the Wanderers.

“They want to respond well, they don’t want to have those highs and lows that have probably happened in the past.

As a coach, you don’t have to push it, you don’t have to drive it too much. It’s been interesting to listen to the conversations just after winning the game.

The boys are aware that they have slipped up after winning a game. Hopefully, we should try and do better this time. It’s no guarantee that we will always be able to do that.

But hopefully, we are switched on and ready to compete. Whatever happens in course of five days, we learn and move one,” added Dravid.

Dravid went on to explain about the accuracy and planning behind the bowlers bowling the desired line and length needed in South African conditions.

“I think the bowlers have been brilliant. We have had a lot of discussions and conversations around the kinds of lines and lengths we want to bowl. We have looked at a lot of footage, done a lot of planning and strategy around that and the execution of it in the last game was superb.”

He mainly put down the brilliant execution to the skill of the Indian bowlers’.

“We bowled beautiful lengths in the first innings and were able to bowl slightly lengths in the second innings, depending on the wickets and conditions. That’s really down to the skill of bowlers.

The bowlers are able to change the kind of lengths they need to bowl even in mid-innings, depending on how the ball and wicket changes.”

“You need to do that you can’t bowl just one particular length with a Kookaburra ball or in the 60th over with a slightly older ball or the lengths bowled on day one or day four.

I think that requires ability and skill to change length, which is just a few metres here and there to change. I think we did that really well in terms of line and length.

A lot of our preparation leading into the Test match was focused on that, both in practice and discussions we had. We executed that very well.”

The 48-year-old signed off by saying that talks with batters around the shot selection have been going around, something which is being seen as an area of improvement.

“In terms of shot selection, it is something that we have been talking to the batsmen.

Like I said, we were superb on the day one when we went about that. 272/3 was a real credit to the batsmen who set up the game and is what probably won us the game in the end. Apart from the superb bowling, we batted really well on the first day.”

“But I guess, you could have been slightly better. We are getting starts and getting set but in these kinds of conditions, unlike India where you are set and can play your shots.

But here, even if you are set, you need to be more careful because there is still something in it for the bowlers. They have a quality attack and can always come back. So, you always have to be on the guard and have had conversations and talking around it.”

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