Rahul Dravid, head coach of the Indian men’s cricket team, spoke on a range of topics in a press conference on Wednesday ahead of the second Test against Australia, which begins in Delhi on Friday.
India beat Pat Cummins’ Australia by an innings and 132 runs inside three days in the first Test to move closer to securing their berth in June’s World Test Championship final at The Oval in London.
Rohit Sharma and Co need to win the series 3-1 or 3-0 to make the final.
India will have history on their side at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium – previously Feroz Shah Kotla – where they haven’t lost a Test since 1987. However, coach Rahul Dravid said they will not get carried away by records and focus on the coming five days of action.
“We don’t look at previous history and go back in time,” Dravid said in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
“We cannot get carried away by that. Australia are an experienced team and have good players who know they want to come back.”
The Delhi Test is set to be Cheteshwar Pujara’s 100th Test appearance. The Test will also provide the Indian batter the opportunity to complete 2,000 runs in Tests against Australia. He needs 100 more runs to become the only other active Indian batter after Virat Kohli to accomplish the milestone.
Talking about the milestone, Dravid said, “When you play 100 games, it’s not possible that you haven’t seen ups and downs. You need to clear obstacles and bear the pain when you are down and play different kinds of bowling, various questions are asked on and off the field.
“To play 100 Tests, you need minimum 10 years and he has played for 13-14 years. It is a tribute to his skill which is there but so many other things are also there,” the coach said.
He added: “He is a very popular player. We are all so happy that he has got this opportunity to pay 100 Tests and he will do well in future also not just this game.”
“In the last 10 years, Cheteshwar Pujara has played some very important knocks for the country which has won us matches and series. We are happy to celebrate this moment with him,” the coach added.
Meanwhile, returning batter Shreyas Iyer has joined the squad for the second Test after a back injury made him miss the opener. As a result, Suryakumar Yadav, who made his Test debut in Nagpur might be left out of the playing XI. When asked about Iyer’s position, Dravid said that the team management favours players who have won games for India and will resume their place in the starting XI when they return from an injury.
“Without it being on stone and without it being a rule... We value the contributions of people who have performed. If they have missed out due to injuries, they deserve the right to make a comeback irrespective of what has happened during the time that they have been injured,” said Dravid.
“It’s always great to have somebody back from injury. We never like to lose people because of injury. It’s not for us as a team, not nice for the individual. I’m glad that he is back and fit. We’ll take a call after a couple of days of training. He’s had a long session today, he has done some training.”
He added: “We will assess it tomorrow as well once he comes for a light hit and see how it goes. If he is fit and ready to go and take the load of five days of a Test match, then without a doubt with his past performances, he will walk straight into the XI.”
With inputs from AFP