Backs struggling middle-order to come good
Rahul Dravid appeared relaxed and confident ahead of the second Test. And he spoke with clarity and vision.
“If the weather holds across five days we will have a result at the Wanderers. That’s the exciting part,” he said.
The Indian coach observed, “The bowling was phenomenal in the first Test. And we batted well on the first day. On an overseas tour, in these conditions, to be 272 for three on day one is a very good performance.”
Dravid added, “But we should not have got bowled out for 327. And our batting in the second innings was disappointing. We have been having honest conversations on how to set it right.”
The erudite Dravid said, “Batters getting a start should push on. But it is not always easy in these conditions when you are never really ‘in.’ But I am sure a big score is around the corner for Pujara, Kohli and Rahane.”
Dravid was all praise for Kohli. “He has been an exceptional leader. The way he trains, prepares and connects with the boys has been outstanding. And he led the team very well. All the outside chatter hasn’t bothered him.”
The Indian coach said the Indian team was aware that it had not always responded well after winning the first Test. “The good thing is that this conversation started among the boys soon after the first Test. As a coach I did not have to tell them.”
Dravid appreciated the Indian pacemen for mixing up their length capably. He said, “A lot of planning, watching of video footage, has gone into it.”
Asked whether the ICC was fair in docking World Test Championship (WTC) points for slow over rate – India was penalised a point after the first Test at Centurion – Dravid said, “The rule is the same for everyone so I am okay with it. But as a coach sometimes you feel the teams can be given some leeway. For instance, Bumrah had an ankle problem and the physio had to come in and then there was a ball change.”
Dravid said, “Both teams are good enough to get 20 wickets. The South Africans will be looking to bounce back. We are focused on the job.”
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