The deed done, it seemed a conscious effort had been made by the team management to keep Kohli’s mind on the cricket. So in walked new coach Rahul Dravid instead on Saturday, ahead of what is expected to be a tough Test series, and promptly dead-batted any queries on the fallout of the ODI captaincy change or his own role, if any, in it.
Asked if as coach he had played a part in the transition of the white-ball captaincy from Kohli to Rohit Sharma, or talked to the selectors and players concerned, Dravid said, “To be honest that’s the role of the selectors and I’m not going to get into individual conversations that I might or might not have had. It’s not the place and the time to be doing that and discussing that. What internal conversations I have with people is certainly not going to come out in the media.
Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli (TOI Photo)
“I’m not going to publicly start telling people what conversations I’ve had.”
Asked what role Kohli has left to play as captain in the evolution of the Test team from here on, Dravid said, “Hopefully we want to keep improving as a group. Virat’s played a huge role in that, as a player and leader and captain. He’s been fantastic. We’re certainly looking forward to him carrying that forward (sic) and really pushing and challenging this team. He’s one of those players who really loves Test cricket and wants to compete and play.
“Hopefully, he has a great series and that will really benefit the team as well.”
On having ‘difficult’ conversations with senior players who may need to sit out at some point, Dravid said, “Most players are professionals. Sometimes you have to have difficult conversations. It’s hard, everyone wants to play and wants to be in the playing XI. But the players understand the situation…as long as you communicate and can give the reason for it.
“Whether you are inform or out of form, it’s a great opportunity to do well in these conditions.”