Coaching Styles of Dravid and Shastri: After the conclusion of the T20 World Cup in the UAE last year, Rahul Dravid took over as full-time coach of Team India, replacing Ravi Shastri.
It was believed the former batter would be content to groom youngsters at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore rather than taking on the high-pressure job.
Eventually, Dravid became NCA’s chief, while another Team India legend, VVS Laxman, took over as head coach. Former India captain did a great job mentoring the next generation of cricketers, but coaching the senior team was going to be a different story. Shastri, Dravid’s predecessor, asserted that Dravid would only raise the bar.
It has been a year since the head coach took over. Thus, now is a good time to reflect on how the current coach’s tenure has differed from Shastri’s.
#1 Taking risks vs playing it safe
One of the major differences between Shastri and Dravid’s coaching styles is this. During his playing days, he was known for taking the safe route. His coaching philosophy reflects the same philosophy.
Shastri, along with Virat Kohli, were open to taking a few risks, even if it meant dropping a vice-captain (Ajinkya Rahane) for a Test match. While some critics thought his unconventional action might not even last the distance in white-ball cricket, the Shastri-Kohli team backed Jasprit Bumrah as a Test bowler.
Dravid, on the other hand, sticks to tried and true players. Despite opportunities to try out Ruturaj Gaikwad and Sanju Samson, they have yet to get their chance. In the T20 World Cup 2022, the think tank’s wait-and-watch approach cost the team dearly.
#2 All-rounders vs genuine pacers
In terms of tactical philosophies, Kohli and Shastri favored an aggressive approach and recruited quite a few fast bowlers. Their belief was that speed is king. Along with Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna, Navdeep Saini, and T Natarajan also had decent international careers.
In addition to Krishna and Natarajan being injured, Saini has lost some form for India. Dravid and his current skipper Rohit Sharma, however, had already shifted to a different track, preferring bowlers who are able to bat over true fast bowlers.
It only took a few poor games for Avesh Khan to be fired, while Umran Malik was recalled after the current think tank had exhausted its resources.
#3 Outspoken vs diplomatic
It has been quite evident that there has been a change after the new leadership group took over. Shastri has never been afraid to speak his mind, even if it might annoy some people.
After Kuldeep Yadav impressed in an Australian Test, he declared him the No.1 spinner in the team. Even though Ravichandran Ashwin was part of the setup, he was suffering from fitness and form issues.
The veteran off-spinner admitted he was quite shocked by the coach’s statement in an interview some time ago.
As a coach, Dravid is the complete opposite of Shastri. Despite the fact that Ravindra Jadeja and Bumrah were ruled out of the T20 World Cup 2022, the head coach refused to confirm anything until an official statement was released.
#4 Energy vs calmness
Another distinguishing characteristic of Shastri and Dravid’s coaching roles is their diverse personalities. He was energetic, emotional, and didn’t mind telling players what he thought. His facial expressions reveal his mood.
On the cricket field, Dravid has continued from where he left off. Regardless of the result or state of the game (for the most part! ), he has maintained a calm demeanor and composure. During a press conference last year, veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan said:
Dravid and Shastri both have their own qualities, and both are very positive people. Having spent time with Ravi Bhai (Ravi Shastri), I can say that their motivation methods differ. “Ravi Bhai’s energy is a bit strong, whereas Rahul Bhai (Rahul Dravid) is calm, composed, and strong as well, so everyone has their own way, and I enjoy playing under both.”
In July last year, Dhawan was named stand-in coach for the tour of Sri Lanka during Dravid’s stint as a part-time white-ball captain.
#5 Steering clear of controversies
As a coach, Dravid has definitely outperformed Shastri in this area so far. During Shastri-Kohli’s tenure, conspiracy theories flew thick and fast about alleged rifts in the team and camps. With Kohli’s batting slump, the hearsay only grew as Team India hit a low phase.
Since Dravid-Rohit took over, Kohli’s sacking has been the only major controversy. Even here, the selectors were at fault. The transition from leader to senior pro has been seamless for Kohli.
Dinesh Karthik praised Dravid and Rohit for creating a great team atmosphere after returning to the national team:
“I think it’s a very, very different team (from what he had experienced over the years). The set-up is really working for me.
“The calmness that seems to be around this set-up in terms of the coach and captain, I think a lot of credit must go to both of them (Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid) for creating an atmosphere in which they are dealing with failure rationally, which I think deserves a lot of credit.”
Even so, the Indian legend’s time as head coach is still in its infancy. There are still many challenges ahead. A better evaluation of his skills in the role can be made after he arrives there.
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