Former India batsman VVS Laxman feels the upcoming white-ball series against Sri Lanka is an opportunity for former India captain and interim head coach Rahul Dravid to create future champions. Sri Lanka and India will square off in three ODIs and three T20Is, beginning July 13. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been named vice-captain, Shikhar Dhawan will lead the team which will be coached by Dravid.
Laxman said it will also be an opportunity for Dravid to prove himself as a coach and his mere experience will help the young guns during the Sri Lanka tour. “I don’t think there is any pressure. This is an opportunity for Rahul Dravid to prove himself as a coach. We all know his contribution towards Indian cricket, both as a player and as someone, who has been instrumental in creating the (Team India’s) bench strength – both as India ‘A’ coach and as the director of the National Cricket Academy,” Laxman said on Star Sports’ show Game Plan.
“I think it is an opportunity for him to create the future champions for Indian cricket. It’s not necessary, that everyone will get an opportunity to play in this tournament. But just spending time with Rahul and sharing his experiences – which he has already done with a lot of these players in the squad – will enhance their future and their growth as Indian cricketers," he added.
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan shared an anecdote from the 2007 World Cup, highlighting how Dravid always keeps his players in a positive frame of mind. “It’s all about comfort. You perform much better with a coach or a captain, whom you are comfortable playing with. What Rahul Bhai brings in is – clear communication.
“Even when he was the leader for the Indian cricket team, if anyone had any problem, they could just go up to him and talk about it very freely,” said Irfan. “I remember an incident – when we lost the 2007 (ODI) World Cup – we were in West Indies and he came up to me and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and said, ‘look, I know we all are upset, let’s go for a movie. We went for the movie and then we had half an hour to ask him things.
“He said, yes, we lost this World Cup, we wanted to make a difference, but this is not the end of it; life is much bigger; we will come back tomorrow. That’s the kind of character he is. He is always looking to put any cricketer in a positive frame of mind. If unfortunately (in Sri Lanka), anyone goes out of form, he will be the first one to guide him and give him confidence,” Irfan recalled.
The likes of Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar Yadav are also in the white-ball squad and many more youngsters are eyeing a debut for India in the Sri Lanka series.
(with ANI inputs)