Dravid to shape next generation of Indian cricketers
MUMBAI: Rahul Dravid has been entrusted with shaping the future of Indian cricket and agreed in principle to coach the country's under-19 and A teams.
The Indian cricket board (BCCI) last week named a three-member advisory committee comprised of former cricketers Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman but the absence of former captain and batting great Dravid had surprised many.
BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur laid the concerns to rest by confirming that the modalities of Dravid's contract will be finalised in the next few days.
"The good news is that Rahul Dravid has agreed to coach India A and India under-19 in the future," Thakur told reporters in Kolkata after a meeting with the advisory committee on Saturday.
The 42-year-old Dravid, who has over 13,000 runs in tests and close to 11,000 in the 50-over format, will start by preparing the India A side for a home series against Australia A and South Africa A in July and August.
Dravid said the role suited his family life fine and he did not see it as a platform to groom himself for the national team's head coaching job which remains vacant after the departure of Duncan Fletcher in March.
"I think it is really exciting because it has been an area I have always been interested in," Dravid told ESPNcricinfo of his new role.
"I feel it is a very important stage of development of a lot of cricketers, having been through myself, and I am just hoping that ... I will probably be able to help some of these young cricketers on their journey.
"I don't see this as any stepping stone, I just see this as an opportunity to work with young players over the next few months, six weeks of an A tour and may be six or seven weeks, with the under-19 team."
With India widely known as poor travellers, Dravid's role will be crucial.
The new advisory panel has recommended increasing the overseas trips of junior teams and organising tours a year earlier in countries where the senior team would be scheduled to play a major tournament or series.
"One of the suggestions by the legends was to increase the number of India A tours overseas so that we can give more and more exposure to our A players and they can play competitive cricket," Thakur said.
"In the past few years, the performance of the Indian team was not up to the mark overseas, so our focus would be on India A tour overseas.
"For example, if we have to play Champions Trophy in England, then India A must tour England or nearby countries one year in advance."
The panel has also suggested identifying a pool of 30 bowlers, comprising of 15 pacemen and the same number of spinners, to be groomed for international cricket over a four-year cycle.