Birmingham: India head coach Rahul Dravid expressed Wednesday his displeasure at the announcement of the news that Jasprit Bumrah will lead India in place of Rohit Sharma in the upcoming ‘fifth Test’ against England beginning here July 1. It should be stated here that a BCCI official (supposedly chairman of the senior selection committee Chetan Sharma) had earlier said that Rohit Sharma will not be able to play the Test as he has tested positive for Covid-19 and Bumrah will lead the side.
“There are 36 hours to go for the Test match. Anything can happen between then and now. One cannot say that Rohit won’t play the Test. He will undergo tests again Wednesday and Thursday and we will wait for the reports. We can’t just say that Rohit won’t play the game,” Dravid said.
“I am still keeping my fingers crossed and I am hopeful Rohit will play. It is too early to make an announcement on his availability,” Dravid added.
Virat Kohli has set an altogether different bench-mark with his 70 international hundreds but Dravid, from a coach’s perspective, wants his best batter to make ‘match-winning contributions’ even if it is not a three-figure one like it has happened over the years. Kohli has not scored an international hundred since November 2019, but Dravid dismissed notions that the owner of 27 Test hundreds is ‘lacking in motivation’.
“As players, you go through these phases. I don’t think you need motivation to be very honest with you and I think in Virat’s case it is nothing to do with lack of motivation or desire,” Dravid said.
“It’s not always focussing on those three figures like even a 70-odd (79) in a difficult situation in Cape Town (vs SA) was a good innings. Didn’t convert into a three-figure, but it was a good score. Obviously, the standards that he (Virat) has set, people only see centuries as a success. However, for me, from a coaches’ perspective, we want contributions from him – match-winning contributions, whether it is a 50 or a 60,” the coach explained.
Dravid didn’t want to give it away but said that if situation arises, No.3 can be asked to open which means that Cheteshwar Pujara might be seen opening the batting with Shubman Gill.
“Any such decision is taken in consultation with the player. As a player not every situation is as expected and it can happen at times that No.3 will have to open,” Dravid pointed out.