Summer has started and Rahul Dravid has started the mind game. Two days before the start of the fifth Test at Edgbaston, the head coach of the Indian team decided to pay nothing to keep the opponents on tenterhooks.
Ahead of Dravid’s press conference on Wednesday, there was talk that Jasprit Bumrah had been promoted as stop-gap captain, in the absence of Covid-hit Rohit Sharma. The head coach was asked about the update on Rohit and whether Bumrah will lead the side against England. “The update on Rohit is that our medical team is monitoring him and we have still got 36 hours to go. He hasn’t been rejected yet. Tonight and morning he will test whether he is available or not. Of course, he has to come back negative to play Tests,” Dravid said.
As far as leading Bumrah is concerned, he has given money to the selection committee. “It is better that communication comes from official sources. Once we have some clarity about Rohit, they will take a decision.
Of course, the Dravid and Chetan Sharma-led selection committee is keeping in touch on Rohit’s situation, which is fluid. The former India captain has the stature and authority to name the captain for the Edgbaston Test. But more than just trying to be politically correct or a lack of transparency, it looked like a game of pure mind, fresh from a 3-0 clean-sweep against England on an uphill climb. It is a big game and India have a chance to go ahead 2-1 to secure a memorable series win. In this sense, whether Rohit plays or not can make a big difference. Dravid preferred to keep his cards close by. Virat Kohli of India stands with head coach Rahul Dravid during a training session ahead of the fifth cricket Test match between England and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England, Wednesday, June 29, 2022. ( Associated Press Photo/Rui Vieira)
It was pretty much the same when he was asked about India’s opening options with Shubman Gill. From Mayank Agarwal, who has been sent in as cover for Rohit, to Cheteshwar Pujara and KS Bharat, the head coach mentioned every available option while praising the players. He refused to read too much into England’s high-octane approach under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes, saying: “England played really well (against New Zealand). In some situations when they came back to the wall, they Struggled in our own way. (But) we have been playing very good and positive cricket in the last few years. We have to focus on our cricket and we have been very successful.
A question on Virat Kohli had strong support for the senior batsman. Kohli is 33 years old and has not scored any international century in the last two and a half years. “He’s probably on his right side of 30 in my opinion. He’s an incredibly fit guy. He’s one of the most hardworking people I’ve met. His wants and his hunger, the whole attitude of taking care of himself. Which The way he played the game in Leicestershire; batting in those conditions, going there he scored runs like in the 50-60s. And he was eager to play our bowlers batting against Bumrah and all these guys. He Ticking all the right boxes,” said Dravid.
He said: “Players go through these kinds of phases. It’s not so much about focusing on those three-figures. Even 70 runs on a difficult wicket, when he played in Cape Town (against South Africa last winter), I thought it was a very good innings. They didn’t convert it to three points but it was a very good score. Obviously, a man like him and the standards he has set, people only look at a hundred as a success, but from a coach’s perspective, we want match-winning contributions from him, whether it’s fifty or sixty or seventy . From our point of view, it doesn’t focus too much on the three-figures. ,