India A team coach Rahul Dravid said that he is happy that his wards are getting as much as cricket possible and feels that the BCCI’s ‘A’ team programme is bridging the gap between domestic and international cricket.
India A team coach Rahul Dravid said that he is happy that his wards are getting as much as cricket possible and feels that the BCCI’s ‘A’ team programme is bridging the gap between domestic and international cricket.

India A team coach Rahul Dravid said that he is happy that his wards are getting as much as cricket possible and feels that the BCCI’s ‘A’ team programme is bridging the gap between domestic and international cricket.

“The A team programme is pretty solid. We’re trying to get as much cricket as we can,” Dravid told bcci.tv on the sidelines of the Quadrangular series in Bengaluru.

“For me it’s really good step up from the first-class domestic cricket where a lot of these boys play in and score runs. It’s sort of good as you can bridge that gap between domestic and international cricket.”

After a successful tour of England, the the second-string Indian contingent won the Quadrangular series with India B beating Australia A in the final while India B defeated South Africa A for the third place earlier today.

“It has been a good year. Obviously the tour of England was probably an added bonus which you get once in three-four years,” he said, adding “The quality of cricket is better, we’re playing against an Australia A team here which has got about 10 internationals, the South Africans brought a lot of international players. So pretty good opportunity for a lot of these young players who have performed in domestic cricket to test themselves against slightly better opposition.

“It also gives selectors an opportunity to see people better, at a slightly elevated level of competition. It’s good for us, the more cricket we play at this level working around the domestic schedule, it’s great.”

India A next assignment is two four-day games next month against Australia A.

With Mumbai’s Prithvi Shaw and Andhra’s Hanuma Vihari added to the Indian Test squad owing to their good performances for India A in England, Dravid would be a happy man, but someone like Mayank Agarwal – 2017-18 Ranji Trophy’s highest run-getter and the leading List A run-getter this year – missing out makes selection news bittersweet for him.

“It’s something we deal with on a day to day basis. A lot of the guys who come here, let’s not forget, they’re all performers,” said Dravid. “You don’t get to India A not having performed. They’re all guys who have done well at the domestic level and aspiring to play for India. And it does happen, sometimes people just miss out. It’s just the nature of the game and nature of the beast that we play in. For us, at least from my perspective, it’s to keep the focus on improvement and not so much on selection.

However, Dravid emphasised that it’s the process that the players have to trust and continue to work on it.

“Selections will happen and some people will be happy and some disappointed. But if we keep improving our skills and keep testing them against good opposition, then hopefully when they get the opportunity they’re ready for it, cash in and hopefully stay in the Indian team for longer.

“To be honest I don’t get into the selection things too much but yes, the players we see here, we’re happy to chat with them about some of the skills that we as coaches here at the A team level see that they maybe need to step up or work on. We’re happy to give them the opportunity to work on them if we can,” he added.