To bring about a change, you don’t need to start from the bottom. For a well-talented and well-groomed organisation like the Indian cricket team, a change in the top management structure is good enough. That’s what the Rahul Dravid–Rohit Sharma’s duo have shown in India’s emphatic win against New Zealand.
India beats Kiwis by 3-0:
On Sunday, 21st November 2021, India completed its clean sweep by beating New Zealand 3-0 in the series. In the last match in Eden Gardens, Kolkata witnessed the Kiwis getting thrashed by 73 runs from India. Earlier, India had already beaten New Zealand by 5 wickets and 7-wickets respectively in the first two matches. Both these matches were played on the big grounds of Jaipur and Ranchi, respectively.
The whole cricketing world is astonished by the result of the series. It is the same team that was hammered out of the T20 world cup 2021. The only main difference between team composition during both tournaments is that Virat Kohli was absent from the team against New Zealand.
Dravid and Rohit should be credited:
This dramatic difference between the results in both tournaments owes mainly to the fact that Rahul Dravid, Mr Dependable is now the coach of the team while Rohit Sharma, one of the most stoic cricketers after Dhoni is now leading the team.
Apart from changing the mental set-up of the team, both servants of Indian cricket brought some fundamental changes in the team composition.
Rohit and Dravid showed full confidence in Ravi Ashwin and gave him the full opportunity to showcase his talents. The innovative spinner who was kept at the sidelines by Virat Kohli was handed bowling during the powerplay when fields are open. Ashwin being Ashwin, returned the favour by conceding runs just above 5 and over in the two matches he played. Even when he was hammered for two fours in over, Rohit Sharma did not chop or change the field. He allowed Ashwin to set his own field and bowl according to plan. Ashwin’s average of 14 is a testament to Rohit’s captaincy. Moreover, Rohit was also clever to utilize Ashwin’s excellent cricketing brains for field placing and other strategies.
Stable opening combination:
After the retirement of Sehwag, way back in 2013, India’s opening combination was stable for only a brief period when Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were handling the slot. However, when Shikhar Dhawan’s form started to dwindle, India’s opening combination too started to stutter. Virat Kohli, who selected his team based on horses for courses strategy could not find a suitable partner for Rohit. Kohli tried different players to pair with Rohit. K L Rahul, Ishan Kishan, were two players tried by team management. However, due to Kohli’s chop and change policy, no player could cement his place in the opening slot.
As Dravid and Rohit took charge, they assured K L Rahul of his opening slot. Ishan Kishan was allowed to open only when K L was resting in the third match.
The indiscipline caused due to liberal policies of Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli was one of the main reasons behind the poor performance of Team India. The players were losing respect for the senior players and management. Rohit and Dravid brought it back in a peculiar way.
When Anil Kumble was the coach of the team, he had started a culture in which a debutant had to be given his debut cap by an ex-player only. However, as Shastri came, he had changed this culture, which created an undisciplined environment in the team.
Dravid and Rohit brought back the old culture with the debut of Harshal Patel. When Harshal Patel was offered a cap by legendary Ajit Agarkar, it transpired the message that a player will be remembered and respected even after he retires. These kinds of positive messages boost the morale of the newbie and calm his nerves before the match.
Ricky Ponting and John Buchanan, Sourav Ganguly and John Wright, and MS Dhoni and Gary Kristen, are the pair of captains and coaches who took their team to the golden era. Now it seems that India is set to enter a golden era once again with the pairing of Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid. The story has begun with a wonderful ending to the T20I series that ended yesterday with New Zealand.