Dravid rolls out blueprint for overseas success

Rahul Dravid reveals the significance of ‘shadow tours’ and how the A tour of New Zealand could help players travelling to Australia in December.

India A coach Rahul Dravid overlooks a training session during the home series against South Africa A in August.   -  FILE PHOTO/G.P. SAMPATH KUMAR

 

There are six players in common between the India A side — flying to New Zealand for three Test matches starting November 16 — and the senior squad — travelling to Australia for a full tour beginning with a three-match T20I series on November 21.

The Trans-Tasman conditions could at least warm up Murali Vijay, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari and Parthiv Patel before they cross borders.

Rohit Sharma, who is part of the Test as well as the T20I and ODI squad for Australia, will perhaps join the A side for the third unofficial Test.

The first two Tests against New Zealand A coincides with the T20I series in Australia.

In an interview with www.bcci.tv, India A coach Rahul Dravid laid out a blueprint. “This time, we are taking a slightly senior team. I think, in that sense, it should not only help us in the tour coming up in Australia later on in the season, but also the fact that we will travel to New Zealand for a Test series next year,” he said.

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“It is one of those countries where the conditions are quite different to what some of our boys are used to back home. It is going to be a really good challenge to play three four-day games and three one-day games. It is an exciting opportunity for a lot of our players to experience what it is like to play overseas, in those conditions. A lot of them haven’t travelled there before, again a really good learning opportunity from our perspective.”

Shadow tours

Dravid stressed on the significance of holding recce tours with the A side before international tournaments comprising seniors.

“It has been nice for us in England as well; to be able to hold these tours just before we travel to a particular country. Shadow tours, if you can call them that. We are trying to achieve that with the A team programme. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go to Australia this time, but we are going to New Zealand instead,” he added.

Match-time

Being aware of the workload of modern-day cricketers, Dravid feels gaining valuable match-time is crucial to prepare for an important tour. “Nowadays, there is not a lot of time in the lead up to the international tours to get practice games. It is because of the amount of cricket teams are playing these days. These tours will give the boys a better chance to prepare for an international series.”

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“The objective for us is to prepare them for Australia. Some of the younger boys can share the dressing room with seniors, some of that experience rubs off. We will try and create that environment,” he said.

India’s dismal overseas record in red-ball cricket is a huge concern, and Dravid understands the area well.

“We have been playing good white-ball cricket, building a bench strength. The IPL helps in that department. Some of the planning we have gone into is that we need to improve our longer format cricket when we travel overseas. Keeping that in mind, we increased the number of Test matches. When NZ came there, they played two, and we requested them to play one more Test. We try and balance it out.

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“But with the World Cup coming up in June next year, any ODI game played by people in and around the national team, whether it is the boys who are coming back or the ones aspiring to be in the national team, is important,” he reasoned.

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