Ensured every player on 'A' tour played a game, says Rahul Dravid
Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid has said during his days as India A and India Under-19 coach, he ensured all the players picked in the squad got a chance to play.
The National Cricket Academy (NCA) director Dravid, who has been credited for shaping many young and talented cricketers over the years, has been named the head coach of the Indian team that is set to tour Sri Lanka next month.
"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. And 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," Dravid told ESPNCricinfo's The Cricket Monthly.
The former India skipper went on to emphasise the fact there was a lack of awareness about fitness during his playing days and he envied teams like Australia and South Africa, who were among the fittest at that time.
"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? 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 added further.
On Thursday (June 10), India announced a second-string senior squad for the Sri Lanka tour. Delhi Capitals' Shikhar Dhawan was named the captain and fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar his deputy. The main team, led by Virat Kohli, will be in England at that time preparing for the five-match Test series against the hosts. India and Sri Lanka are set to lock horns in three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).
The tour will kickstart with the ODIs (July 13, 16, and 18) and it will be followed by the shortest format series, starting July 21. The final two T20Is will be played on July 23 and 25. All the matches will be played at the R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.