Ahead of the series against New Zealand, India’s T20 vice-captain KL Rahul said on Monday he was looking forward to working with new head coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Rohit Sharma.
The T20I home series against New Zealand marks the start of a new era for Indian cricket following a disappointing T20 World Cup league exit.
With the next edition just 12 months away, Rahul said team management will soon take a call on what is the best model to follow in the shortest format.
“Look, obviously I was very lucky to know Rahul Dravid for a long time,” Rahul said. “As a youngster, I picked his brain and tried to get a better understanding of the game and better understand the art of hitting from him. Was very helpful to all of us back home in Karnataka.
“As a coach he’s been with the boys across the country and having him in training is a great learning opportunity, we all know what a big name he is and the kind of stuff that he did for our country,” Rahul said ahead of the first T20I against New Zealand on Wednesday.
The vice-captain also reflected on Dravid’s vision for the team.
“As for training, I played a few games with the India A team and we had a little chat just before coming here for training,” he said.
“He is someone who likes to establish a good team culture and create an atmosphere where people thrive and try to improve as people and as cricketers. He has always been a team man when he was playing and that’s the kind of culture he wants to bring here where everyone puts the team first rather than personal goals.
The new think tank has just met and there will be many discussions in the near future, Rahul said.
About Rohit, Rahul said his performance for the Indian team and his IPL franchise speaks volumes.
“We all saw him in the IPL and his stats are visible to everyone. He has a great understanding of the game and tactically he’s really good and that’s why he was able to achieve what he has in as a leader,” Rahul said.
“He will bring a lot of calm to the dressing room. The next few weeks will be exciting to find out what type of goals he has for the team and what type of model we are looking to play. In a team sport, it is always a collective effort and decision. The job of the leadership group is to make sure everyone is clear about their role and feels safe in the team and it will be an exciting challenge to create that kind of atmosphere,” he added. .
Rahul said the management will soon decide on the best model for the team that will compete in the next edition in Australia.
“We all need to sit down together and make a collective call on what is the best model or the best brand of cricket that we need to play to ensure that India performs better. This will be a discussion we will have in the next few days. It all starts from here,” he said.
A bunch of new faces have been cast for the New Zealand series, including Venkatesh Iyer and Ruturaj Gaekwad.
Rahul added that the versatile Hardik Pandya knows what he needs to do to make his comeback.
“Hardik and I are good friends, so we talked to each other. He knows exactly what he has to do and exactly what the team expects of him. He’s a smart enough guy to understand his role and responsibility in the team. I’m sure he will work hard and try to get the best out of himself,” Rahul said.