“It’s The Captain’s Team…”: Rahul Dravid’s Blunt Take Ahead Of India’s ODI Cricket World Cup Opener

Rahul Dravid has done his bit as the coach of the Indian cricket team. After preparing his players for the grandest arena of their career, he now wants to retreat to the backstage and let Rohit Sharma’s bunch create their own beautiful story. “Honestly once the game starts, it’s the captain’s team. It’s the team that needs to take it forward, they need to execute it, they need to do the job,” Dravid said during his interaction with the media on Friday.

“As a coach I see my work in the lead up to the games, in the lead up to this World Cup, trying to get the squad we got eventually. Building up the team, building up the squad and then hoping to allow the players to play and express themselves to have fun,” said Dravid, who is known for his economy of emotions.

Controlling the controllables is Dhoni’s favourite phrase but no one believes in it more than Dravid.

“Yeah… I mean I guess you recognise as a coach that once the game starts, once the guys cross the line, there is only so much you can do. As coaches, we don’t score a single run or take a single wicket in the tournament. All we can do is really support the players.”

The job of a coach requires honesty in assessment, something that Dravid keeps in his head always.

“A lot of our work, to be very honest with you, is in the days leading up to these games. It’s in the practice sessions, hopefully the kind of mind space we get the people in and supporting the captain and the team in whatever way we can in the lead up,” he said.

Asked what could be a safe total in the tournament, Dravid gave a tongue in cheek reply.

“Just one more than the opposition, I think will be very safe [laughs]. Look, it’s hard to tell, hard to predict, in each condition. And that’s going to be the beauty of this World Cup,” he said.

Dravid was essentially hinting at the variety in venues and pitches during this tournament.

“So many venues that these matches are going to be played in. So many different wickets on those venues. Some of the squares…even in India, you have red soil, black soil, you have a mix of red and black.

“Each one is going to be unique. I don’t think you can go and say that this is going to be a safe total, that’s not going to be a safe total,” he said.

Supplementing his logic, Dravid said: “We’ll probably play on a relatively bigger ground here in Chennai compared to say when we go to Bangalore or when we go to Delhi. Each venue will be different, we’ll just have to assess and see what it’s luck.” So, did he watch Rachin Ravindra’s blazing hundred against England on Thursday? “Yeah, bits and pieces of it. I thought both of them (Ravindra and Devon Conway) played really well. Obviously, they got New Zealand off to a really flying start in the tournament and looked like the wicket really became a good one as the game went on.”

2007 World Cup looks ancient

The 2007 World Cup wasn’t his finest hour and Dravid said it was in his past life. “It’s a long time since I was a player. I almost forgot that I was actually a cricket player at one stage to be very honest with you,” the smile was a bit self-deprecating.

“I have moved on from that. I don’t think of myself as a player anymore. Maybe that’s the mind space difference… I’m focussed on helping the group to do the best they can.

“I mean in the end that’s the job of the support staff, the job of the coach really is to support the vision of the captain and help him execute his vision over the course of the next couple of months and hope we can do that really well.”

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