Rahul Dravid, the current head coach of India will bring in a “lot of steel” in the current Indian team and his role will be more of a ‘Man Manager’ rather than of a conventional coach which is an obsolete concept nowadays, reckons Australian spin wizard Shane Warne.
Shane Warne had some great on-field battles with Rahul Dravid during their playing days. The legendary leg-spinner has the utmost respect for the new Indian head coach but as has been his stance for nearly three decades now, he doesn’t believe in “terminology” at an elite level.
Former Australia spinner Shane Warne said Rahul Dravid will bring in a lot of tactical inputs to the India cricket team and his appointment as head coach is a big positive.
“Rahul Dravid will bring in a lot to the table. Terrific cricketer, great person. I think he will bring in a lot of steel, a lot of toughness to the group,” Warne said.
“I think he will bring in a lot of tactical stuff that will be good. Rahul is fantastic for Indian cricket,” he added.
However, Shane Warne then explained what he feels about the concept at the international level.
“The coach, it is the terminology which I don’t like in international cricket. In domestic cricket, the coaches are really important, but in international cricket, he should be called a manager not a coach,” Warne explained.
Elaborating further, he said, “Getting front-elbow up and coaching them like kids isn’t what is required at international level. At the highest level, the emphasis is on the mental and tactical side of the game and that’s not the job of a conventional coach”.
“It’s about the mental side and the tactical side and that’s where man management comes in. By the time you go international cricket, you know how to play. Sometimes you just forget how to play and make things too complicated and that’s why you don’t get coached at international level. You are managed. Does that make sense?” the flamboyant cricketer asked.
Rahul Dravid took over as India’s head coach after Ravi Shastri’s tenure came to an end following the 2021 T20I World Cup last year. Under Rahul Dravid, India won a T20I series against New Zealand at home but his first overseas tour as the in-charge of the Indian team ended in disappointment as India lost both the Test and the ODI series earlier this month in South Africa.
In the ’90s and till mid-2000, Australia had leg spinner Shane Warne while India had Anil Kumble and Pakistan had Mushtaq Ahmed as the world’s premier wrist spinners. This art form has not been put to great use in the last one and half decades with the only name to shine through the ranks being Pakistan’s, Yasir Shah. Shane Warne feels the present-day captains get field settings wrong when a wrist spinner bowls nowadays.
“Yes, that’s true,” Warne quipped. “You need someone that understands spin bowling, thoughtfulness and you needed to show empathy, and it’s not easy bowling leg-spinners.
It’s a tough skill and tough art to sort of do and so you need encouragement from the captains and coaches and everyone involved in the sport. Field settings are so important as I can’t even express to you how important they are and so many captains get it wrong,” he reasoned.
Shane Warne believes that batters of this generation are playing lesser and lesser quality spin bowling.
“If you look at the world game at the moment, some of the batters will get through the fast bowlers and a lot of spinners, they will get through after that. When you compare that to the ’90s batters, they had a lot of spinners to get through. I am just saying it’s a different game now. We see so many doing well in T20 cricket, hope we see some of them doing well in Test cricket too.”
Shane Warne had his share of problems on and off the field but he wouldn’t call himself an anti-establishment man.
“Not at all. I was never anti-establishment at all. If I disagreed with something, I would challenge that person. In the case of coach John Buchanan, I challenged him and I was not afraid to challenge anyone.”
“If I challenged John Buchanan about tactical aspects of the game, then it was also about the captain. I would challenge anyone in our team and I would also expect to get challenged too. If someone wanted a different game plan, I was always open for suggestions. No matter what, I would always try something new,” Shane Warne said.
It is only human to make mistakes but it is the tough times in which an individual’s character comes through and that’s one aspect where Shane Warne feels that his mental toughness worked wonders.
“It’s easy to get through life if everything goes great but it’s about how you handle tough times. I am very proud of how I responded to the tough times, whether it was cricket when we lost to the West Indies by one run in a Test match or in personal life.“
Shane Warne said that he was mentally strong. The legendary leg-spinner took over 1000 wickets across Test and ODI cricket, which are records that are unlikely to ever be broken.
“I was very very strong mentally and toughness that I had, and I was able to compartmentalize and no matter what was going on in my life was able to focus on my cricket,” he said.
Shane Warne reckons that he was a mentally tough cricketer and considers himself a ‘down to earth, honest, and super competitive person” that reflected on the cricket field.
“There are lots of positives about my life, lot of positives about my personality and negatives as well. If I have to sum up myself, then I would call myself, “Down to earth”, honest, and super competitive, and on the cricket field I showed that,” he concluded.
India will next face West Indies in 3 ODIs and as many T20Is at home in February. Rohit Sharma, who missed the South Africa tour, will be back to lead the side in the limited-overs formats.
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