Ahead of the series against New Zealand, India’s T20 vice-captain KL Rahul on Monday said he is looking forward to working with new head coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Rohit Sharma.
The T20I home series against New Zealand marks the start of a new era for Indian cricket after the disappointment of a league stage exit from the T20 World Cup.
With the next edition only 12 months away, Rahul said the team management will soon take a call on what is the best template to follow in the shortest format.
“Look, obviously I’ve been very fortunate I have known Rahul Dravid for a long time,” said Rahul. “As a youngster I did pick his brain and try and understand the game better and understanding the art of batting better from him. Has been very helpful to all of us back home in Karnataka.
“As a coach he has has been with the boys around the country and to have him in the set up is a great opportunity to learn from, we all know what a big name he is and the kind of things he has done for our country,” Rahul said ahead of the first T20I against NZ on Wednesday.
The vice-captain also reflected on Dravid’s vision for the team.
“When it comes to coaching, I have played a couple of games with the India A set up and we have had a small chat just before coming out here for training,” he said.
“He is somebody who’s big on setting a good team culture and creating an atmosphere where people are thriving and trying to get better as people and cricketers. He was always a team man when he was playing and that is the kind of culture he wants to bring in here where everyone is putting the team ahead instead of personal goals.”
The new think thank has just got together and there will be plenty of discussions in the near future, said Rahul.
About Rohit, Rahul said his performances for the Indian team and his IPL franchise say it all.
“We have all seen him in the IPL and his stats are for everybody to see. He has a great understanding of the game and tactically he is really good and that is why he has been able to achieve what he has as a leader,” said Rahul.
“He will bring a lot of calm into the dressing room. The next few weeks will be exciting to know what kind of goals he has for the team and what kind of template we are looking to play. In a team sport it is always a collective effort and decision. The job of the leadership group is to ensure that everybody is clear about their roles and feeling secure in the team and it will be an exciting challenge to create that kind of atmosphere,” he added.
Rahul said the management will soon decide the best template for the team going into the next edition in Australia.
“We all need to sit down together and make a collective call on what is the best template or the best brand of cricket that we need to play to make sure that India is getting better performances. It will be a discussion we will have in the next couple of days. It all starts from here,” he said.
A bunch of fresh faces have been picked for the New Zealand series including Venkatesh Iyer and Ruturaj Gaekwad.
Rahul added that all-rounder Hardik Pandya knows what he needs to do to make a comeback.
“Hardik and I are good friends so we had a discussion among ourselves. He knows exactly what he needs to do and exactly what the team expects out of him. He is quite a smart guy to understand his role and responsibility in the team. I am sure he will work hard and try and get the best out of himself,” said Rahul.
Inputs from PTI