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Kohli-Shastri combine could do well with Dravid inputs (Column: Just Sport)


is the man Indian is looking at today. Never has a team received so much attention as he is getting after won the Under-19 in

A victorious team will have a lot to talk about its success just as a losing team has in trotting out excuses. That's the difference between the Dravid-inspired juniors and the senior team now in

can give the Indian board and the senior team a lot of inputs to prepare for the tours of England and later this year and his template can do a world of good for the Kohli-Shastri combine as well as the national selectors.

Dravid's is not the first India team to win the junior World Cup, three other teams, including one captained by Virat Kohli, had done it before. The record fourth triumph at Tauranga was a kind of tie-breaker as had also won the cup thrice before the two teams met in the final.

The Indian board, through its comprising Sachin Tendulkar, and Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman, was willing to meet all the demands of for taking over as the He was the first choice, not

Dravid rejected the offer. Instead, he chose to mentor India A and Under-19 teams, and that on his own terms. Many were surprised at his decision, but he had a clear idea what exactly he wanted to do, he was looking to do something truly constructive. Also, perhaps, he did not want to which had players with whom he had shared the India dressing room.

Dravid's hunch was proved correct, looking at the way his friend and teammate was appointed and "sacked" to bring back his predecessor with the and a couple of senior players playing a part in the swapping. Only a couple of India captains had not only their say but also their way.

Dravid may not have had the kind of free hand he has as if he had been manning the seniors. He insisted on a longish camp before the boys left and landed in two weeks before the event started.

Even the usually tight-fisted board did not have the courage to question him. The whole exercise cost quite a bit and at the end of it all it was money well spent.

Quite in contrast, the senior team did not think or fight for such an elaborate plan before they embarked on their tour to They hardly had the time for acclimatisation or could study the pitches before going into the first Test and the result is there for all to see, more so the way they lost the series straight, before fighting back to win the third and last Test, leaving them to rue their poor planning.

Dravid is not looking after only the juniors, he, in fact, keeps an eye on the requirements of the senior side. He quietly puts in a word to chief selector Mannava Sri Kanth Prasad on the juniors ready to join senior ranks, or at least a shot at.

The chief selector publicly acknowledged the timely advice of Dravid in the selection of the two wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yazuvendra Chahal, and top-order batsman Shreyas Iyer on the strength of their showing for India A.

Dravid is not easily forthcoming, yet he doesn't avoid any question. Of all India captains in the last couple of decades, he is one who took pains to answer every question without getting irritated or putting the questioner down.

He would be the first one to accept the team's faults and also his own. He gave up captaincy and did what he knew best, batting for the remainder of his career.

He is clear in his mind what the young cricketers require, himself having come through the rungs, and he did everything for his wards to blossom into good cricketers. His Under-19 team returned unbeaten and that also shows how disciplined the boys were, not taking any team or the victory for granted. He prepared the talented team and all he needed to do was to deal with the pressure of expectations with each passing game.

At the end of it all, Dravid also told the youngsters that their junior days are over and that they should be thrown into the deep end of the water. They have the talent to come through, though it is not easy to force their way into the India side. The next best thing, he told them, is to be in the reckoning as good first-class cricketers.

It is up to the young men to decide, whether they want to be successful India cricketers or happy to be the (IPL) stalwarts.

(Veturi Srivatsa is a and the views expressed are personal. He can be reached at sveturi@grs



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, February 11 2018. 17:32 IST