Indian players overseas leagues
When head coach Rahul was asked about the same, he said such a step could destroy domestic cricket in India.

Rahul Dravid took charge as Team India’s full-time head coach after Ravi Shastri’s tenure ended following the T20 World Cup in the UAE last year. It was a coup of sorts as The Wall had expressed unwillingness to take over the role earlier since he wanted to spend more time with family. He was content working at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and the A team and was delivering commendable results. However, he eventually did decide to come on board for the sake of Indian cricket.

Over the last few months, Dravid and skipper Rohit Sharma have formed an impressive coach-captain pair. Under them, India have won a number of bilateral T20 series, crushing opponents at home. Looking at their away record, they managed to get the better of England in both T20Is and ODIs during their tour earlier this year. However, there have been disappointments as well. India failed to put it across South Africa despite winning the opening Test (Kohli was still Test captain). Even a change in leadership could not alter India’s luck in multi-nation events, as the Men in Blue failed to lift the Asia Cup, a tournament they have dominated over the years.

Do-or-die for Dravid?

Considering the mixed results that Dravid has delivered as a coach over the last year, there will be a lot of pressure on him about the team’s performance during the T20 World Cup in Australia. India had failed to do well in ICC events during the Kohli-Shastri tenure. The Men in Blue and the fans need that to change. The biggest irony in world cricket is that India organize the most lucrative T20 league in the world. Yet, their national team hasn’t won the T20 World Cup since 2007. That might be at the back of Dravid’s mind as well heading into the ICC event.

As for the big question – does an early exit at World Cup mean an end for Rahul Dravid? The Wall has been in charge of the national team as head coach for less than a year. In that short time, he has delivered some impressive results, apart from some disappointing ones. If Team India don’t perform well at the T20 World Cup Down Under and are handed an early exit, there will be massive backlash for sure. A lot of questions will be asked of Dravid as well.

Some of the decisions taken by the team management under his tenure have been questionable. The backing for Rishabh Pant despite consistent failures is one. Making too many changes, some of them seemingly needless in the name of experiments, is the other. A lot of times, the team selection has seemed illogical as well. For example, playing Umesh Yadav ahead of Deepak Chahar against Australia recently, even though the former is not part of India’s T20 World Cup plans. On the other hand, Chahar is in the reserves and thus still in the scheme of things.

Possible end of the road?

While one must admit that a poor showing at the T20 World Cup will put Dravid’s spot as a coach under the scanner, it would be unfair to sack him for the team’s possible poor show. The Indian legend deserves a longer rope to prove himself as a coach. Another World Cup is coming up in 2023 – the 50-over edition in India.

A fairer assessment of his skills as a mentor can be made after next year’s event. By the time that World Cup comes around, Dravid would have been in charge for a decent amount of time, and his caliber as head coach could then be analyzed in a far more reasonable manner. For now, Indian fans would only hope that the Rohit-Dravid combo brings glory to Indian cricket at the T20 World Cup Down Under. If that happens, all questions and doubts will automatically disappear.

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