On July 12, Team India will commence a two-match Test series against the West Indies under the guidance of head coach Rahul Dravid. India has enjoyed a triumphant history against the West Indies, winning all of their visits to the island nation over the previous 17 years. The Indian team management may be required to alter the combination from the WTC final against Australia.
While Dravid has been the head coach of the national team since the 2021 T20 World Cup, India has lost an away series in South Africa after securing a 1-0 lead, as well as the standalone Test against England, in addition to the WTC final loss against South Africa. Although West Indies has a less-than-stellar Test record in the last decade, their bowlers have the ability to unsettle the Indian batters.
Dravid’s school of batsmanship may provide valuable insights for India, as the former captain was a prolific run scorer in the Caribbean, with 1511 runs at an average of 65.70 in 17 Tests. Dravid’s technique and temperament played a crucial role in his success in West Indies, and he became the first Indian captain since Ajit Wadekar to lead India to a Test series win in West Indies in 2006. Here are three takeaways for Indian batters from Rahul Dravid’s Test performance in West Indies.
Playing the ball as late as possible is crucial
Dravid’s initial movement during his playing days was always back and forth, never fully committing to the front foot, allowing him to adjust his shot according to the line and length of the delivery. Indian batters have struggled with their affinity to commit to the front foot, leading to wickets, such as Kohli‘s while going for expansive drives through the cover region. Although Indian batters have performed well in the Caribbean recently, playing the ball late is critical here, and they can learn from their head coach. Dravid is the best in this aspect, and most batters will try to replicate the process that gave him success in the West Indies.
Patience and understanding the position was essential for Rahul Dravid
During his prime, Dravid, also known as the “Wall,” tormented many bowling attacks with his tenacity and ability to stay out in the middle for extended periods. Dravid rarely gave his wicket away cheaply after getting a start. In recent times, Indian batters, including greats like Kohli and Rahane, have failed to convert their starts and have looked tentative when close to achieving a landmark. Kohli, in particular, should learn from his coach and avoid getting frustrated and throwing his wicket away. Patience will be key for Indian batters, and some runs under their belt here will help them for tougher assignments in the coming months.
In the first hour of your innings, try to play in the ‘v.’
In a highlight package of a Rahul Dravid knock, you’ll see the batter trying to score as many runs in the ‘v’ for the first hour, meaning hitting back past the bowler between the mid-off and mid-on region. While in modern-day Test cricket, caution often takes a backseat, and Indian batters have been criticized for throwing their wickets away after a good start.
Playing across the line or moving in the crease might work in white-ball cricket but is a dangerous ploy in the longest format, especially if you’ve just come out to the crease. India has exceptional batters in their line-up, but they need to get used to certain habits in the longest format.