Ahead of India’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Super 12 encounter against Bangladesh in Adelaide on Wednesday, India head coach Rahul Dravid addressed a press conference and spoke about several topics concerning the Rohit Sharma-led side.
Dravid discussed India’s five-wicket loss to South Africa, the management’s vision for the shortest format, the debates in the dressing room, as well as the team’s area of concerns. However, the press conference was largely dominated with questions about opener KL Rahul’s form, his lack of runs in the World Cup so far and and the type of discussions the coach has been having with the batter.
Here’s are excerpts from the press conference:
On KL Rahul’s form, lack of intent and runs in the World Cup
I think he’s a fantastic player and he’s got a proven track record. He’s done really well. I thought he’s been batting superbly. These things can happen in a T20 game sometimes. It’s been tough – it’s not been that easy for the top order batsmen. This tournament has been pretty challenging. I thought he was superb. Maybe a lot of you were not there but in the practice game against Australia with Mitchell Starc and Patrick Cummins, it was a pretty good attack and I thought he batted superbly that day.
So he’s actually playing really well. Just hoping it all clicks together over the next three or four games. We know his quality, we know his ability, and he’s really well suited for these kind of conditions, these kind of pitches. He’s got a good all-around game. He’s got a very good strong back-foot game which is obviously very much required in these conditions. So yeah, we’re pretty confident and happy with the way he’s hitting it.
We have a lot of conversations with our players. It’s hard to get into exact details of what conversations you have with your players, but rest assured, I think both in words and in action, over the last year he knows he has our support. He’s known that.
There have been a lot of injuries, including him. He’s had phases where he’s unfortunately been injured.
But in word and in action, I think with all of our players, we’ve – I think that’s the great thing about Rohit (Sharma) that he’s really shown them that confidence and that belief.
In these conditions, maybe we are able to afford him that time, and like I said, we completely back him. We have no concerns about him. We know that when he gets going, and I’ve seen it against Australia, against a top-class attack just a couple of weeks ago, I know the impact this guy can make.
On the five-wicket loss against South Africa
A little bit of a disappointing game at Perth. I thought we fought really well and fought really hard. A little bit of luck here and there, we made a few mistakes as well, and that could have been slightly different result.
But having said that, the Pakistan game could have gone the other way as well. These things happen in T20 cricket. But yeah, we’re very confident but we know we have to play very, very well from here on if we want to win. It’s really a question of winning the next four games, really. You have to win the next four games to be able to win this tournament.
On the Indian bowling line-up’s vulnerability at death
Look, it’s an area of our game that we’ve wanted to look to address, to look to get better at. Obviously Bums (Jasprit Bumrah) was one of our guys who was penciled in to bowl two of those overs. It was really heartening for us to see the way young Arshdeep Singh has developed over the last few months.
If you were to ask me in November when I first took over and I had a list of bowlers in my mind, sure, Arshdeep was there, but certainly he hadn’t had that kind of IPL. He had had one good IPL. But the way he’s come along after that, he’s come and forced his way into the side and done really well so that’s a heartening thing to see.
Again, someone like (Mohammad) Shami and Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) bowled really well for us. So yeah, we have to keep developing and getting slightly better with our plans and our strategies around those games.
I think I won’t read too much into the Netherlands game, to be very honest. We were trying to get a few wickets, and you’re trying a few things at the back end. (Against) Pakistan I think we conceded 53 or 54 runs. There were a few balls there that – Shaheen Shah Afridi hit us for a six, and there was another full toss which I think Haris Rauf hit for six, which we looked at it and thought maybe we could have done things slightly differently.
So there’s one or two balls there that hopefully we can get right and get better as we go along, but yeah, certainly an area we we want to get better.
On the management’s style, strategy and vision
There’s been a lot of clarity about what our side is going to be, what our squad is going to be coming into this tournament, and we haven’t wavered from that for a very long time. Yes, because we play a lot of cricket, you might see a lot of different people playing in different situations, in different games.
(It is a) high-risk format in the sense you’re asking people to play a high-risk brand of cricket. You’re asking them to play a positive brand of cricket. We’ve always had that belief that we need to give them that confidence and backing, and our players and whoever we’ve picked here in the 15, we can’t always play everyone in the 15. We only play 11 but everyone has our backing and support, and they’ve been here because we know their quality, and we also understand at times they might not be able to deliver for us. It doesn’t make them bad players. But yeah, we certainly back them, and they have our support. It’s not difficult at all for us to back players and support players; not at all.