Rahul Dravid says young India cricketers are not bad players of spin
New Delhi: Former captain Rahul Dravid says it was a misconception that current Indian cricketers are bad players of spin and their struggle against Sri Lanka spinners had more to do with "pressure" than ability.
Ranagana Herath and Tharindu Kaushal made life tough for the Indian batsmen in the recently concluded series, which India won 2-1.
India A coach Dravid, who has just finished a long series against Australia and South Africa A teams, opines that Indian youngsters are still good players of spin and can go a long way if they do a few nips and tucks.
"There were a couple of times in this series that we got stuck, we were not able to rotate the strike and the pressure came on and you lose two or three wickets quickly. I don't think Indian payers are bad players of spin," Dravid asserted.
"We are suddenly not bad players of spin but maybe the high pressure cricket these boys are playing gets to them. Like T20 cricket, where the value of the single is not so much. So to create a single in between the big shoot is what a Mohammad Azharuddin or a VVS Laxman could do on slow turning tracks," he added.
"In terms of short-making ability against spin, I think this generation is incredible. They step out and hit sixes against spinners, some of the creativity I see against spin is terrific. I think one of the areas where there is a bit of a concern for Indian cricket is that there is sometimes not a lot of balance," Dravid was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
India A lost the two-match unofficial Test series against the visiting Australia A team before taking revenge in the triseries final against the same opposition.
The 'A' team then won the two-match unofficial Test series against South Africa A to end on a positive note. Dravid opines that contrary to popular perception young cricketers are at ease with the long-format.
"They (youngsters) are not struggling to play long-form cricket. There are a lot of very good long-form cricket players like AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Steven Smith, they are tremendous T20 players and playing long-form cricket as they did in any generation.”
"It would be unfair to say that they are unable to play long-form cricket. I think challenges change and the environment has changed a little bit," he said.
"There is a lot of one-day cricket, T20 cricket, high-pressure T20 cricket. Just imagine you are practicing two months of T20 cricket, day in and day out. And suddenly you have come out to play an A series in Chennai on a slow wicket, where you have to rotate the strike and you can't play the same shots, it takes time to adjust.”
"To be fair as the series went on, we found the players working on it, they adjust and they get better at it," he added.
Dravid, who was referred to as 'The Wall' of Indian cricket in his 16-year-long illustrious career, insists that the youngsters are as keen to play the longer-format as they were when they started out.
"When I look at them they are keen to play Test cricket, they are very keen to succeed in the long-form game or the four-day cricket that they play at the Ranji trophy level. They all want to do well at it. I think what has changed is that they are not necessarily made to do it," he said.
"In a sense today a living can be made of the sport even if you don't necessarily succeed in long-form of cricket. I think that opportunity never existed to cricketers of my generation. When I was growing up and you wanted to make a career of the sport you just had to succeed in long-form cricket. So that has changed but whether the desire is there? I guess it is. They definitely want to do it till they possibly can," he added.