My job is to get players to the next level - Dravid
Rahul Dravid has given a hint of his approach to dealing with India A players, saying he is ready to work with different mindsets and objectives. While the newly-appointed India Under-19 and India A coach feels that his mentor's role at Rajasthan Royals will aide him in his new challenge, he doesn't see himself "teaching" India A cricketers.
"The selectors and the senior team management generally have a vision as to what sort of players they are looking to pick," Dravid said on the sidelines of the convocation ceremony of the International Institute of Sports Management in Mumbai on Wednesday. "Sometimes you pick young players in India A, sometimes you pick players who are looking to make a comeback and want to push for the national team. Sometimes you pick players depending on what future tours are in mind."
"So I think there are various parameters and you just can't decide these kind of players should be selected or that kind. I see my job as coaching the players they have selected and not in the selection side of things. My job is to coach the players and try to help them to get to the next level."
Over the last couple of years, India A squads have consisted of fringe players alongside promising youngsters who have excelled on the domestic circuit. While the fringe players enter an A tour with an objective to continue knocking on the selectors' door, the youngsters are more inclined towards facing new opponents in unfamiliar conditions to improve their skill sets and temperament.
Dravid admitted that his experience as a mentor with IPL franchise Royals will come in handy in his new avatar. "The fact that I have spent a couple of years at Rajasthan Royals in the role of a mentor, I have seen the other side of what the sport is. I have always seen it as a player and I have spent many years as a player," Dravid said.
"The couple of years that I spent outside in the management and the coaching side of things, there is a lot of learning that you get all the time, and the more you do it, the better you get. It is like playing. I am looking forward to it."
While Dravid reiterated that he was "looking forward to" working closely with Ravi Shastri and his support staff of the senior team, the former India captain echoed Sunil Gavaskar's opinion of the senior team not requiring a coach. At a function in Mumbai recently, Gavaskar had said that the senior team needs more of a mentor than a coach. Agreeing with Gavaskar, Dravid stressed that he would not prefer to "teach" India A players, instead helping them bring out their best.
"There is no need for basic coaching at that level. You are looking for someone as the guiding factor or someone to create a good environment which helps to grow and share some of the experiences that we have," Dravid said. "My philosophy is not going to be teaching. I don't think you need to teach India A players how to play. They all know how to bat and bowl and they are there because they are successful. It is just about trying to help them to get to the next level."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo