“If you come on an India A tour with me, you will not leave here without playing a game” says Rahul Dravid on India having a strong bench strength

Rahul Dravid will coach India in the upcoming limited overs series against Sri Lanka in July. Rahul is the chief of National Cricket Academy (NCA) and has been working with India A players and India Under-19 teams.

Former India batting great Rahul Dravid said when a player is with him on India A tour, he will get a match and not leave from there as it is not easy to score those many runs after being left out.

Dravid shared his own experience while recalling his days of India A tours. Dravid while talking to The Cricket Monthly, a digital magazine from ESPNcricinfo.

With a strong bench strength, Dravid told that it was due to young players having a significant number of opportunities at India A and Under-19 level. This was something that VVS Laxman addressed recently and credited to Rahul Dravid.

“I tell them upfront, if you come on an A tour with me, you will not leave here without playing a game. I’ve had that personal experience myself as a kid: going on an A tour and not getting an opportunity to play is terrible. You’ve done well, you scored 700-800 runs, you go, and you don’t get a chance to show what you’re good at,”

The 48-year-old is among the few players who have 10,000 plus runs in both formats – Test and 50 over format. Dravid explained that there has to be continuity as it’s not easy to score 800 runs in a season to be picked up again after being left out.

“Then you’re back to square one from the selectors’ point of view because the next season you have to score those 800 runs again. It is not easy to do that, so there is no guarantee you’ll get a chance again. So. you tell people up front: this is the best 15 and we are playing them. This is not about the supposed best XI. At U-19, we make five-six changes between games if we can.” added Dravid.

Dravid told that players should be given more game time instead of leaving them on benches.

“Playing on the beach and playing on the road doesn’t make you a cricketer. It makes you someone who loves the game. That’s what we had. We had a lot of people who loved the game. Unless you give that guy a proper matting wicket or a turf wicket, unless you give him some half-decent coaching, some half-decent fitness assistance… where was all this in the 1990s and the 2000s?” Dravid observed.

“There was no access to it. We were starved of knowledge. Even in terms of fitness, we used to look at the Australians and South Africans and we used to look at their fitness trainers, and what did we get? ‘Don’t do too much gym, your body will become stiff. Bowl, bowl, and bowl. Run rounds and laps.'” Dravid concluded.

Rahul Dravid will coach India in the upcoming limited-overs series against Sri Lanka in July as India’s Head coach Ravi Shastri will be looking after India’s Test team in England during the same time.

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