Rahul Dravid believes that Virat Kohli is on the ‘right side of thirties’ and is one of the most hard-working players in the team. Kohli, the erstwhile India captain, has had a rough patch in the recent past, leading to several questions.
“I kind of disagree that Virat is on the wrong side of thirties. I think he is on the right side of it,” Dravid said with a smile on Wednesday. “He is one of the most hardworking guys I have ever come across. It is incredible. His hunger, desire and the whole attitude to looking after himself, his preparation and the way he plays the game (is incredible).”
The 33-year-old Kohli scored 67 in the second innings during the tour game against Leicestershire and Dravid was happy with the way he paced his innings. “The way he played in the game against Leicestershire and went on scoring a 50-60 and he was keen on playing our bowlers, batting against a Bumrah. He is ticking all the right boxes, he is doing what he needs to do,” the head coach said.
“As a player, you go through these kinds of phases. I don’t think in Virat’s case, it’s any lack of motivation. It has nothing to do with lack of motivation or desire. You go through phases where you bat well and it’s not always about focusing on those three figures…”
Talking about his 79 against South Africa in the third Test in Cape Town earlier this year, Dravid said, “In Cape Town, it was a good innings on that wicket. Maybe, he could have converted it into a three-figure score, but even then, it was a good score. The standard that he has set, you could only see a hundred as a success, but from a coach’s perspective, we want match-winning contributions from him, whether that’s a 50 or a 60.”
“Maybe, on tomorrow’s wicket, a good 60-70 might end up becoming a match-winning score. It may not also. But for us, not a lot of focus is there on three figures, it’s about contribution. He does inspire a lot of guys…” Dravid said.
Ever since taking over as the coach last year, Dravid has worked with six captains in eight months. And ahead of the fifth Test against England, Rohit Sharma remains doubtful due to COVID-19. “Look, it is what it is. When I took this job, even I would not have predicted that there would be so many captains in the last 6-7 months. It happens right, there have been some unfortunate injuries to people. Even here, it is quite unfortunate what has happened to Rahul and Rohit in the last three weeks. Sometimes we have had to balance out the workloads. We just have to react to that,” Dravid said.
“It is not something that you start off thinking that this is what I want to do, but if the situation arises, you react to it. Despite the number of captains we have had, we have played some good cricket in the last 6-8 months. Yes, obviously the South Africa Test series was the one where I would have certainly liked to win that series after going 1-0 up. Even in that, we were not outplayed. We were very close in those games,” Dravid said.
“Some of our players were also not available for that Test series. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that we do not have to deal with these situations. We have to react, we are clear about our communication with people. If something happens, we have our plans and contingency plan,” he added.