Dravid confirms he will not re-apply for India head coach position

by jensrohu23
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He has confirmed that the ongoing T20 World Cup will be his last tournament in the role

Sidharth Monga

Rahul Dravid has confirmed that the T20 World Cup 2024 will be his last assignment as India head coach as he will not be applying for the position again. It was largely expected, but this was the first official confirmation that India will have a new coach come July.

Dravid confirmed it when asked if this World Cup was going to hold extra importance for him. “Every tournament is important,” Dravid said. “Every game that I’ve coached for India has been very important for me. For me, this is no different just because it is going to be the last one that I’m in charge of. I love doing the job. I’ve really enjoyed coaching India, and I think it’s a truly special job to do. I’ve enjoyed working with this team, and it’s a great bunch of boys to work with.

“Unfortunately, just the kind of schedules [that are in place in international cricket] and where I find myself in this stage in my life, I don’t think I’ll be able to re-apply. Having said that, it’s no different for me to be very honest. I don’t see this anything particularly different or significant. From the first day I took the job, I always felt that every game was important and every game mattered, and that will not change.”

As a player, Dravid played a World Cup final in 2003, but even though he enjoyed a stellar career and was part of the No. 1 Test side, he never got to be called a world champion. As a coach, he came close to it on three occasions, in all three formats. This will be his last chance for now to be part of a world champion side. Dravid, though, could step back and look at the larger picture.

“To be very honest, I think we’ve actually played really well in these World Cup tournaments,” Dravid said. “In terms of our consistency, we’ve been very consistent. Making the semi-final in the first, in the T20 one in Australia [in 2022]. The World Test Championship is slightly different in terms of it’s not one tournament, but it’s a whole cycle, but playing extremely well in the cycle to get to the final there again [in 2023]. The 50-over World Cup where we had a great run and went into the final [in 2023]. In terms of our consistency, in terms of the quality of cricket that we have played in these big tournaments, I think we’ve been right up there with some of the best teams.

“We can’t say that we’ve not played good cricket in these tournaments. Yes, we probably haven’t been able to get across the line in that one knockout game. The [2023 ODI] final in Ahmedabad or the [WTC final] game at The Oval and then again at Adelaide in the T20 semi-final. So we just probably haven’t been able to execute in that last phase.

“Hopefully we play good cricket to get ourselves into those positions again. Then maybe play good cricket on the day to get across the line. But the important thing when you start these tournaments is not to think about that. It is to actually think about getting into those positions again. I think that’s as hard as actually winning those games at times. You have to find yourselves in those positions where you are pushing for glory, and that’s all you can do as a group and as a team. Our whole goal will be to try and get ourselves once again into a position where we give ourselves a chance to be able to, um, win a tournament.”

That unfortunately is not enough if you are the Indian cricket team. It comes with the territory of being the most followed cricket team in the world. Dravid said they would need to focus more on their decision-making than expectations to get past the knockouts hurdle.

“To be able to read and understand conditions that will be different in various places,” Dravid said. “It’s our ability to use our experience. It’s our ability to execute in the middle. It’s our ability to make the right decisions whether with the bat or with the ball at those critical moments, which will be the defining factor. We would rather focus on that rather than kind of worry about the expectations. Of course, there are expectations and it’s a great thing that people are rating our team highly because that means that we’ve been playing good cricket and we’ve got a good squad together.”

Sidharth Monga is a senior writer at ESPNcricinfo

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