In last few months, former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid has been quite busy with India A team. A successful tour of England was followed by a quadrangular one-day tournament involving India A, India B, Australia A and South Africa A. Now India A will also take on Australia A in two four-day games in September.
Dravid, the India A coach, also accredited the BCCI for organizing a steady flow of matches and said it would help players bridge the gap between domestic and international cricket. He said, “Obviously, the tour of England was probably an added bonus which you get once in three-four years. We’re trying to get as much cricket as we can. For me, it’s really good to step up from the first-class domestic cricket where a lot of these boys play in and score runs. It’s a good sort of… you can bridge that gap between domestic and international cricket. The quality of cricket is better, we’re playing against an Australia A team here which has got about 10 internationals, the South Africans brought a lot of international players.”
He further added, “So pretty good opportunity for a lot of these young players who have performed in domestic cricket to test themselves against the slightly better opposition. It also gives selectors an opportunity to see people better, at a slightly elevated level of competition. It’s good for us, the more cricket we play at this level working around the domestic schedule, it’s great.”
Dravid also revealed that he is in contact with the national selectors and discusses potential options for the senior side, but stressed that the idea of A team focus on development was to develop skills of the players and not focus solely on selections.
Describing his point further, Dravid said, “There is a certain level of communication obviously with the selectors, and obviously they communicate with the Indian team there as well. So we do work, our main aim of A team cricket is to develop good players for the national team. That’s the whole idea of this thing, so there are times when we’re discussing the kind of players they’re looking for not only in the short term but also in the long term. We see if we can develop those players in the A team.”
India A coach also said that when players from the national team come back and play at this level, it becomes a great opportunity for some youngsters to interact with them. Sometimes, Dravid and his support staff are left to handle mixed emotions within the camp due to selection scenarios. An example was the recent selection of Prithvi Shaw for the Indian Test team, which also meant there was no place for Mayank Agarwal.
Talking about the same, Dravid said, “A lot of the guys who come here, let’s not forget, they’re all performers. They’re all guys who have done well at the domestic level and aspiring to play for India. And it does happen, sometimes people just miss out. Selections will happen and some people will be happy and some disappointed. But if we keep improving our skills and keep testing them against good opposition, then hopefully when they get the opportunity they’re ready for it, cash in and hopefully stay in the Indian team for longer.”
Rahul Dravid concluded by describing his job of being a coach of the team which goes through a rough patch more often than not. He said that challenges do come by having a conversation with the players helps to keep them going. He also expressed that sometimes it’s not easy for the selectors when they have to choose only one player and they have an option of two good players for the same spot. In the end, he asserted that at the end of the day, the selection is beyond the control of the players.