Bangladesh failures won't negatively impact India batsmen - Dravid
Rahul Dravid, the former India captain, believes the experience of consecutive collapses in seamer-friendly conditions in the last two ODIs against Bangladesh will hold India's young batsmen in good stead going forward. Speaking to ESPNcricinfo after India clinched the three ODI series 2-0, Dravid said he was not "too concerned" although India were bowled out for 105 in the second game and were 119 for 9 in the third when rain forced the game to be abandoned.
"In the end, it's just two games. It's too small a sample size to really judge from," Dravid said. "Those two wickets weren't exactly great, especially with the rain and all those covers there. India got out for 105 and the opposition got out for 58.
"It was a good experience for batsmen who have sometimes grown up on flat wickets in the subcontinent. Sometimes when you come up in conditions that are slightly more difficult and challenging, you have to readjust and recalibrate scores that you think are par for the course, which maybe India, who batted first on both occasions, didn't do as well."
Dravid pointed to the "confidence" Stuart Binny would have gained from his Man-of-the-Series performance in Bangladesh as India's major "takeaway" from the tour. Calling the criticism of Binny's selection in Test squad "unfair', Dravid said: "He has earned the right to be in the Indian side having helped Karnataka win three titles last season." Having played with Binny for both Karnataka and Rajasthan Royals, Dravid believes he is a "handy cricketer" and a "good selection for a tour to England". "In Tests, if India wanted to play two spinners, maybe there might be a Sanjay Bangar kind of role for him - not at the top of the order, but maybe down the order. Sanjay played that role for us in England in 2002."
Besides Binny three other members of the ODI squad in Bangladesh - Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha - are part of the Test squad that leaves on Saturday for the five-match series in England. Dravid dismissed fears that a couple of low scores in Bangladesh will have a negative impact going into sterner challenges that await in England.
"I think the quality and intensity of your practice matches and the quality and intensity of your practice sessions leading into the first couple of Test matches are very important. I always felt they were critical to success abroad, so I wouldn't worry too much about this one-day series but focus on getting the first 14-20 days right in the Test series. If they do that, get onto a bit of a roll, the batsmen get some confidence, time in the middle, I think you will see them have success. I don't think any Test wicket will be the kind we saw in Bangladesh."
Dravid is also hopeful that while tackling similarly tricky situations in the future, the batsmen will be better prepared. "India went with a young and inexperienced batting line-up and maybe they just needed a little bit more time to cope, so maybe they can learn from this experience as and when they come upon a wicket like this," he said. "There aren't many wickets like these in the world now, just because of the way they are being prepared, because of the technology, the knowhow, wicket preparation has become so good now. We've got some really good quality, sort of standardised wickets in the world now, which means when you come up on wickets like this you have to re-adjust."
Dravid also cautioned against presuming how a batsman would approach a Test innings on the basis of a one-day knock. "Sometimes the pressure is more in one-day cricket on wickets like this because you also have to keep the score ticking", he said. "In one-day cricket sometimes, especially when the matches are shortened like they were in Bangladesh, you are trying to get runs.
"It's inexperience; you don't recognise that even 150-160 can be enough on that kind of wicket. If you are batting first, that can sometimes become a problem and you start playing the kind of shots you normally wouldn't."
While confronted with a similar challenge against the red ball in a Test match, Dravid provided insight into how a batsman should approach the task. "In England, if in the first session the conditions are overcast, you want to keep the cover drive or the drive on the rise in the locker, unless it's a half volley. Keep it in cold storage, and bring it out if you are still batting after lunch or tea, when you are well set and the conditions can change. The challenge of doing well in those conditions is selecting the shots that you want to play, and in which situations you are going to play them."
Gaurav Kalra is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo