Virat plays a key role in taking the Test team forward: Dravid

Until now, the Indian team has thrived on its Test captain’s stardom and batting brilliance. Winning has always been a team effort, but Team India didn’t mind their Test captain to take spotlight.

Rahul Dravid’s cricket philosophy is different and true to that, the Indian team’s head coach presented a more holistic picture at the pre-match press conference, ahead of India’s first Test against South Africa that starts on Boxing Day.

“The main aim is to win the Test series. We have the World Test Championship (points) to play for as well and Virat plays a key role in taking the Test team forward. He loves Test cricket,” Dravid said.

By his lofty standards, Kohli has been going through an elongated fallow period, his last Test century being scored more than two years ago. Kohli has played some very good knocks but consistency has been missing of late. Controversies ahead of the series have ostensibly put Kohli under extra pressure to perform, sort of ‘runs-or-ruins’ situation.

Also, in Rohit Sharma’s absence, he will have to shoulder extra responsibility. “Being in part of the environment and supporting him (Kohli) along the way is something I’m looking forward to,” Dravid had said in a interview a couple of days ago.

Going by the training session video clips posted on the BCCI’s website, the mood in the camp looks pretty jovial. Keeping the dressing-room insulated from outside noise/controversies was a challenge for the new head coach and he apparently has hit the right note. But it won’t be easy in South Africa, even in Anrich Nortje’s absence.

“It’s a great challenge. It does take a little bit of time to get used to the conditions here. We want to start well. If we don’t do that, it’s not the end of the world, for we have two more Tests. But we would like to start well,” Dravid said at today’s press conference.

Team selection could be tricky, Ajinkya Rahane or Shreyas Iyer to start with. Also, without Ravindra Jadeja, India will have to strike the right balance, five bowlers or an extra batsman to be precise. Dravid spoke about Rahane training well. As regards to team combination, he said: “In terms of picking and dropping players, we have to make decisions. We are very clear within our group what kind of team combination we want to play with. I would like to keep it that way.”

The former India captain once again turned to the team-effort factor, when he was asked about Cheteshwar Pujara’s lean run. “These kinds of series are won by team performances. It’s not right to focus on an individual name.”

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