Chennai: Rahul Dravid hailed Virat Kohli's decision to play against Australia A, saying it shows the Test skipper's intent and keenness to prepare himself for the upcoming Sri Lanka series.
"It is great. It is fantastic that Virat wants to come and play. In fact, he spoke to me almost three weeks ago wanting to play at least one match in the series. It is nice that he is very keen to play and prepare himself for the Sri Lanka tour. He wants match practice and we are happy," Dravid said at a press conference.
The India A coach said it indeed was a good chance for youngsters to catch attention of the Test captain.
"It is always nice to have the Indian captain (in team) and I think it will be a great boost for lot of the young guys in the team who want to impress the captain. It is better way to do it in front of him. He is playing in the same eleven," Dravid said.
Talking about the unofficial Test that ended in a draw against Australia A, Dravid said the slow wicket deprived the teams of a result.
"We knew that if we are to force a result, we need to get them at 40 for 3 early on. If they were to get the result they need to get 170 or so losing one or two wickets. It was a slow wicket and was not easy to score runs, especially off the faster bowlers. It spun a little bit later on but it is a classic five-day wicket. Unfortunately, for us to force a result was not really easy," he said.
Yet Dravid drew a lot of positives from the game. "Good all round positives, Pragyan Ojha coming back from the issues that he had and Amit Mishra getting into the Indian side. They are still bowling well. I guess it is one of the positives from their perspective. The conditions were not ideal for the seamers. I thought the two seamers and Vijay Shankar bowled with good disciplines and it was nice," Dravid added.
"In the batting, again, it is very hard wicket to judge. It was not free flowing and was not easy to score lot of runs. In all round, I thought even in the batting the guys who made contributions chipped and kept. It was hard work and we need to be positive," Dravid said.
On his impression of all-rounder Vijay Shankar’s performance, the coach said, "Vijay had a good game considering the conditions, the wicket and the situation. It was not really a wicket for his kind of bowling. Probably bowlers like him require some more in the wicket. He batted very nicely. First innings, he was nice and positive and in the second innings as well. It is a good first impression," Dravid asserted.
The India A coach gave a message to his players that irrespective of the wicket and conditions, the players must learn to "perform". "Ideally we would have liked a wicket to have pace and bounce and a bit of carry, which would have tested some of our batsmen. I hope the next one would be a little better. If not, we just have to learn from whatever conditions that we get," he said.
Dravid said young batsman Baba Aprajith may get a chance in the second match, starting Tuesday. "He had a good season and he is young. Hopefully, we will try and give him some games in the course of this series. We will just have to see some balance and give him matches as well," Dravid concluded....