'Need to hear players as they go through the grind…', says Dravid on domestic schedule

March 10, 2024
India head coach Rahul Dravid said players need to be listened about the shortcomings in the domestic cricket season

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) India head coach Rahul Dravid said players need to be listened about the shortcomings in the domestic cricket season, citing that they are the ones who go through the grind and put their bodies on the line while playing various competitions.

Dravid’s comments come after seam-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur quipped about his dissatisfaction with three-day gaps between Ranji Trophy matches this season, which can lead to injuries, and hamper the recovery process of players, especially of the fast bowlers.

“I’ve heard the same as well. I saw some of the comments Shardul made and, in fact, some of the (new) boys who’ve come into the team (have said it) as well. Some comment about how tough the domestic schedule is, especially in a country like India with the amount of travel involved. So we need to hear the players and that’s a very important in a lot of these things.

“You need to hear your players because they are the ones going through the grind and putting their bodies on the line; and if there are enough voices saying that, then there’s some need to look at it, and see how we can manage our schedules. It’s a long season already in India; it’s tough,” said Dravid after India won the Test series over England 4-1.

The senior men’s domestic season began in June 2023, with the Duleep Trophy, the zones-based first-class competition in Bengaluru, followed by the Deodhar Trophy, another zonal competition, albeit in the 50-over format.

Domestic teams have been consistently on the road since the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy began in October, followed by Vijay Hazare Trophy and now Ranji Trophy, which is ending after the final between Mumbai and Vidarbha at the Wankhede Stadium. This time, in between of Ranji Trophy league stage, there was an India ‘A’ red-ball series against England Lions at Ahmedabad in January.

“The Ranji Trophy is a long season. If you add a Duleep and a Deodhar on top of that – last year, if I’m not mistaken, the Duleep started in June, it was just a month after the IPL – and your problem in this situation is your best players, the guys who are pushing for selection for India, are the ones that end up playing the most cricket because they keep getting selected at the next level more and more.”

“Their teams are the ones probably who are playing the semi-finals and the finals, or that kind of situation. They are the ones who end up playing a lot of cricket, and you also want them to be playing for India and India A tours. So it can get quite tough on a lot of those boys, and maybe we need to hear them out.”

“Maybe we need to relook and see whether some of the tournaments that we are conducting are necessary in this day and age or they are not necessary. There needs to be an all-round review (featuring) coaches and players, especially the guys who are part of the domestic circuit,” added Dravid.

He signed off by urging Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan, who were omitted from the BCCI central contracts list of 2023/24 season, to score runs aplenty and force the selectors to pick them in the Indian team.

“They’re always in the mix. Everyone who’s playing domestic cricket is in the mix. Firstly, I don’t decide contracts, right? Contracts are decided by the selectors and the board. I don’t even know what the criteria are. I’m involved in – people ask me my opinion on the 15, and me and Rohit select the XI and that’s how it works.”

“We’ve never discussed whether somebody has a contract or not, whether he’s going to be selected in the 15. There are enough examples of people playing different formats of the game, whether they have contracts or not.”

“I don’t even know sometimes what the list of the contracted players is. When we take these decisions, discussions on the 15 or the playing 11 for that matter, no one’s out of the picture and mix. It’s just a question of hopefully them getting back and fit, playing cricket, and forcing the selectors to pick them again.”



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