Dravid with his yogic traits all set give India its phenomenal form back

Dravid the only ‘Beacon of light’ for team India all set to give us moments of applause in IND vs NZ test match

The first Test in a two-match series between India and New Zealand is due to begin on Thursday in Kanpur. Earlier this year, the two sides met in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final, which New Zealand won by eight wickets. Since that game, this will be the first time the two sides have met in the longest format. This will be India’s maiden Test series under new head coach Rahul Dravid, who will look to extend the team’s winning streak after sweeping New Zealand 3-0 in a three-match T20I series.

Rahul Dravid, widely known as “the Wall,” was one of the last true Test match batsmen. Dravid put himself at the vanguard of a new, defiant generation of players who were no longer easybeats away from home, despite his slow and systematic ascension into the national side. He became the cement that held the foundations sturdy while the flair players expressed themselves, thanks to an orthodox technique taught to him by Keki Tarapore. He, too, could stroke the ball around when the mood struck him, despite being swiftly categorised as one-paced and one-dimensional.

He compensated for his lack of natural athletic ability with pure hard effort and qualities of concentration that were almost yogic. He batted for 835 minutes across two innings in Adelaide in 2003, when India won a Test in Australia for the first time in a generation. A few months later, he spent more than 12 hours at the crease for the 270 that gave India its first series victory in Pakistan. Initially viewed as a liability in one-day cricket, he has since retooled his game to become a capable middle-order finisher. He didn’t come easy with the heaves and swipes, but by the time the selectors eased him out in early 2008, he had amassed almost 10,000 runs in the 50-over game. He also spent some time on the wicket keeping gloves, assisting the squad in finding a balance that was vital in the World Cup.

His Test exploits, on the other hand, will be remembered the most. Dravid’s breakthrough innings came against a South African attack accustomed to bullying visitors at the Wanderers a few months later, after impressing in a Lord’s debut where he was eclipsed by Sourav Ganguly. After a brief downturn, he came back with possibly one of the most famous supporting roles of all time, bowling to VVS Laxman in an Eden Gardens Test that resurrected Indian cricket. With the bat, the next half-decade was a golden one, with tours to England and Australia yielding more than 600 runs.

Mates since 1996, Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid are ready to reunite, albeit in different capacities. One is the BCCI president, while the other is Team India’s head coach. And, in virtually identical conditions to 1996, when India lost in the semi-finals of the ODI World Cup, today’s Indian side has failed to even qualify for the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup, prompting Virat Kohli to resign as captain of the shortest format of the game.

India finished the T20 World Cup 2021 on a depressing note, defeating Namibia but falling short of qualifying for the semi-finals. For a country that won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, peaking at the perfect time, there is nothing that can be done to correct the course in 2021 other than plan for the future and learn from the past. The future has been left to Rahul Dravid, who has been named India’s chief coach for a two-year term and is in charge of all cricketing choices in all formats.

Although Kohli’s Test captaincy is set, his effect as India’s ODI captain remains a question mark. Kohli has felt the lack of his senior teammate Dhoni’s insights, notably tactical knowledge in step with the game flow, since Dhoni’s retirement from international tournaments following the 2019 World Cup semi-final in England.

Following Kohli’s decision to step aside as T20 captain, having a chief coach share his thoughts on the type of players he wants to lead as team captains might be a significant step forward. With the BCCI’s support, Dravid may be able to implement choices about the leadership group.

Today during the series against New Zealand, India will be without a few players. Virat Kohli, the regular captain, will take a break before rejoining the team for the second Test in Kanpur. In Kohli’s absence, Ajinkya Rahane will lead the squad in the first Test.

After months in bio bubbles, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah will all receive some much-needed relaxation. Due to a muscular problem in his left thigh, KL Rahul, on the other hand, will miss the entire series.

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