Rahul Dravid: Indian pacers inspiring younger generation of cricketers

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At present Indian cricket is witnessing some sort of a renaissance in fast bowling at the senior level. Throughout the past year and a half the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma had continued to out-bowl the spinners even on slow-low pitches. Perhaps, for the first time ever, the opposition batsmen seemed intimidated by pace, bounce and the bodyline strategy of the Indian pacers. In fact, their approach has been so lethal that four out of the five concussion substitutes have come against the Indian attack since this new rule has been introduced in Test cricket.

According to Rahul Dravid, who is the new director of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and responsible for maintaining the pipeline of Indian cricket, this revolution at the highest level has now inspired the younger generation of Indian cricketers to take up fast bowling. For him, this has been a major paradigm shift in this country where Cricket has always been considered as batsman’s game.

“I think what Ishant, Shami, Umesh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Bumrah are doing is they are actually in a way becoming role models for a lot of younger generation of boys who believe now they can be fast bowlers. They think they can bowl fast and be successful as fast bowlers in India,” says Dravid on the sidelines of an Under-19 match between India and Afghanistan in Lucknow on Thursday (November 28).

“Now at the Under-19 level we have very good fast bowlers. Last time [2018 Under-19 WC] we had three of them – Kamlesh [nagarkoti], Shivam [Mavi] and Ishan [Porel ]. This year you will also see some good fast bowlers in the team. So I think that’s been fantastic.

“I think it is great to see that. Obviously we had people like Kapil, Sri [Srinath], Zaheer and all that in the past. But now as a group probably this is you know one of the best fast bowling attacks we have ever had. I think that’s a great inspiration for a lot of these young boys,” he adds further.

Dravid urges IPL franchises to hire local support staffs

Dravid, meanwhile, also believes most of the Indian Premier League [IPL] franchises have missed a trick by not trusting the Indian support staffs. He has urged them to take a leaf out of the senior Indian team’s books.

“I believe we’ve got some very good coaches, a lot of good people. I’m fully confident [in their ability],” he explains. “Just as we have a lot of talent in the cricket department, we have a lot of talent in the coaching department. We need to give them confidence and time to flourish. I’m sure they will do it.

“It does sometimes disappoint me when a lot of our boys don’t get opportunities as assistant coaches in IPL. Honestly, there are so many Indian players in the IPL, there’s so much of local knowledge [among our coaches]. I feel a lot of teams could actually benefit from using a lot of our Indian coaches in the IPL. They know the Indian players better, they understand them better.”

“Well, to be honest, Indian cricket’s coaching staff is completely Indian and they are doing a fantastic job. It’s not for me to decide for franchises and head coaches what they do, but I think they miss a trick by not involving more Indian coaches. Indian coaches understand and know the system, and they know a lot of Indian players. Every IPL team has at least 17-18 Indian players. It’s my personal view, but I would love to see a lot of our boys get the opportunity to be in and around that environment. Hopefully we can work with some teams to try and ensure that,” he says.

Dravid has also explained how the NCA is working behind the scene to develop the standard of local coaches.

“Through the NCA we’re also going to try and help a lot of our coaches. We’ve hired Sujith [Sujith Somasunder, the former Indian batsman] now, who has come on as head of education. A part of our goal is to create a programme for coaches as well, so that we can give them certain skills in which they can develop – and hopefully then get the opportunities to work at a slightly higher level. So, I think a lot of IPL teams miss a trick by not using more domestic talent in the coaching area and the talent identification area, even if it is as assistants. That’s my personal opinion,” he adds further before signing off.

About Sandipan Banerjee

Sandipan Banerjee is a senior cricket journalist with experience stretching across more than a decade. Having founded a number of cricket information resources and prior experience of working in big-ticket events like ICC Cricket World Cup, IPL and ICC Champions’ Trophy; he joined the team at CricketNews.com in 2019 to provide strategic guidance and to assume a brand ambassador role as principal correspondent. Due to Sandipan’s commitment towards the game, it’s safe to assume that if India are involved in a Test, ODI or a T20I, he’ll be there covering the match!

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