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Rahul Dravid: Support staff can’t bat, bowl or catch for you

Rahul Dravid said coaches cannot execute plans for players © Getty Images
Rahul Dravid said coaches cannot execute plans for players © Getty Images

New Delhi: Aug 23, 2014

Former India captain Rahul Dravid has defended Joe Dawes and Trevor Penney, saying that the coaches can only provide the best of the training. Dravid said both Dawes and Penney did their jobs “very professionally and tried to do the best they can. Sometimes things don’t work out.”

“The support staff can’t bat, bowl or catch for you. That’s why sometimes being in the support staff or being a coach is a no-win situation because you might be giving the guys the best possible advice and the best possible training facilities but things don’t work in the field. You can still drop catches, you can still have technical issues with the bat. Coaches can’t solve everything and as good players, deep down, you know that,” he said.

Dravid said that the tough decisions taken by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the middle of the England tour, to appoint Ravi Shastri as Team Director and appoint Bharat Arun, Sanjay Bangar and R Sridhar as assistant coaches, were “tough on everyone concerned”. Dravid said if he had his way he would have waited till the end of the series to change the support staff.

Dravid was a part of the disastrous 2011 England tour that India lost 0-4. He hoped that another former captain Ravi Shastri, who has been appointed the team director for the ODI series, would handle the situation well.

“You don’t have problems if people want to make changes, it’s part of professional sport. [But] there’s still not a lot of clarity on whether this is a long term appointment or the changes we have seen are for this series, so there’s a bit of confusion around that,” Dravid was quoted as saying by Cricinfo.

“Sometimes from a players’ perspective that can be quite hard. I hope that’s something Ravi [Shastri] will handle quite well. All these players also build relationships with support staff and as players you do recognise that at some level you are actually responsible for your own success and failure,” he said.

Having worked with under-fire coach Duncan Fletcher, Dravid said it will be up to the Zimbabwean to decide whether he is comfortable in continuing in the role in this “new kind of environment”, wherein he will have to report to Shastri.

Besides appointing Shastri, the BCCI also roped in Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun and R Sridhar as assistant coaches and dropped fielding and bowling coaches Trevor Penney and Joe Dawes, who were handpicked by Fletcher.

“If you ask me, I think he’s got a lot of knowledge and I know having been around the team that the team does respect him and a lot of them get along very well with him and do ask him for a lot of technical advice. There is a good rapport between him and Dhoni,” said Dravid, who recently acted as team mentor ahead of the England series.

Dravid believes that both Shastri and Fletcher would work together in the best interests of the team. “Knowing the kind of people that they are, they would not want to ensure that the players see that there is an issue between them. Like Ravi says, Duncan will still be the head coach, he will still be running the team meetings and be involved in the selection of the playing eleven. So I hope there is no issue,” he said.

Dravid said he has full faith in Shastri to steer the team out of this rough patch. Both Dravid and Shastri have worked together after India’s first round exit from the 2007 World Cup. Dravid was the captain when Shastri was appointed the interim manager for the Bangladesh tour that followed after the World Cup.

“I thought Ravi was very good in the time that he was there with the team. He’s obviously got a lot of experience that he has to offer as a player. By personality he’s a very positive, outgoing, upbeat kind of person, which can really help the team. His personality can help a lot of the younger players because they do respect him and what he’s done for the game,” he said.

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