Despite India’s convincing victory over New Zealand in the group stage of the ongoing ODI World Cup 2023, head coach Rahul Dravid has urged his team to remain vigilant and avoid complacency as they prepare for their semi-final encounter against the same opponents.
Dravid acknowledged the pressure that comes with knock-out matches but expressed confidence in his players’ ability to handle it and deliver a winning performance at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. He emphasized the importance of focusing on the process rather than dwelling on the outcome, recognizing that a single loss can dramatically alter the team’s momentum and the fans’ perception.
“I would be inauthentic if I said that there will be no pressure of semi-final. You have no guarantees to win any game of cricket. What you can do is prepare the best you can and we’ve been doing that. When it’s going well it looks good. One loss and everyone says you don’t know anything,” Rahul Dravid stated in a post-match interview.
Dravid singled out Shreyas Iyer for special praise, highlighting his recent contributions with the bat. Iyer’s century in India’s win over the Netherlands solidified his position as a crucial member of the middle order, a role that has been difficult to fill for India over the past decade.
“Shreyas Iyer is the backbone of our middle order, and we all know how tough it has been for us to find a good No. 4 batter for the last 10 years. Very pleased at how we’ve played in these nine games. Very clinical from game one to today,” Rahul Dravid remarked.
Dravid’s cautious approach and focus on process reflect his understanding of the high stakes involved in the knockout stages of a major tournament. He recognizes the potential for New Zealand to challenge India once again, and he is determined to ensure that his team is fully prepared for the encounter.