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T20 World Cup 2024: Coach Dravid doffs his hat to Rohit and Co

'I have loved doing the job, I have loved working with Rohit (Sharma) and this team. Been a great journey and I have enjoyed it. I am not a legacy person, and I am not looking for legacies, I just feel good that we gave the best we could,' said Dravid.
Last Updated : 30 June 2024, 17:35 IST

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Barbados: Typically, the Indian management is not very good at organising impromptu interactions because they’re not allowed to. 

The people in charge are good folk, but they’re dictated by higher powers so they don’t typically take a chance. 

On Saturday, though, they went against the grain and brought out Rahul Dravid, the World Cup-winning coach, to interact with the media despite having Indian skipper Rohit Sharma address the official press conference not long before. Excerpts...

Redemption?

Firstly there is no redemption. I am not one of those guys who thinks about those kinds of things. As a player, I was lucky enough to win a trophy (2002 ICC Champions Trophy as joint winners with Sri Lanka). I tried my best, and gave my best whenever I played, and it happened. We know a lot of great players who have not been able to win a trophy. I was lucky to even given the opportunity to coach this team, and I was lucky that this bunch of boys made it possible for me to win a trophy. Nice feeling but it doesn’t feel like redemption. It’s just a job that I was doing.

I have loved doing the job, I have loved working with Rohit (Sharma) and this team. Been a great journey and I have enjoyed it. I am not a legacy person, and I am not looking for legacies, I just feel good that we gave the best we could. I would like to acknowledge a truly, exceptionally hard-working support staff. They are the most professional and the most intelligent bunch of coaches, I have had the privilege of working with. They made it possible to create a great environment in the team. 

I am glad, with a bit of luck, it resulted in this trophy. I couldn’t be happier for the team and I couldn’t be happier for the Indian fans who keep coming out to these games, and keep supporting Indian cricket. You just feel so grateful that you give them a moment like this. 

What does it feel like?

I’m not usually short of words, but I have felt short of words in the last few hours. I just could not be more proud of the team. This is a great testament to the team for losing three wickets in the first six and to being in the kind of position we were in with 30 balls to go, but the boys kept fighting and kept believing, great credit to them. As a member of the coaching staff, I feel grateful. We’re getting to enjoy these moments because of what they have done in a pressure situation. It’s a memory of a lifetime for me so I am really thankful and grateful for the team who has made this possible.

Tell us about how you had to adapt to allow the youngsters in the side to grow and evolve.

We can’t talk about all things but I will say, the boys these days, they are so talented, their energy, their confidence is at another level. I have hope that I also wish, that this is just the beginning and I hope they take it forward. They will win more trophies in the next four to five years.

The young talent in the team has all the skills. There was a moment when it felt strange because we were working hard and playing good cricket too and still not winning. After this happened, I am sure the young boys will go far, and take Indian cricket to new heights. 

Now that Rohit and you will go your ways, what will you miss about him?

Forget the cricket, forget the captain, I will miss him as a person. I hope we still remain friends (laughs). What has really impressed me on this journey is just the kind of person he is, and the kind of respect he has shown me. The kind of care and commitment he had for the team, the kind of energy he has had to spend and he has never backed down from it. So for me, it’s the person I will remember the most. His cricket... he’ll be a great captain and a great player, he’ll score runs and win trophies but I think it’s who he is as a person that I will be most fond of. 

I will be (able to move on from this win). Next week, life will be the same for me. I will be unemployed, that’ll be the only difference. Any offers, let me know. It’s a great moment. I don’t want to think too far ahead. I hope I will be able to move on. That’s what life is about, whatever falls your way, you deal with it and move on. 

How did the team get so far in the last few months?

This is a journey of two years, not a journey from the IPL. From the construction of this team to the kind of skills we wanted, the players we wanted…. The discussion actually started in September of 2021. That’s when these discussions started, these conversations started, the build-up, the balance, that’s two years of work.

It culminated in this World Cup but honestly, the disappointment of Australia and the one-day World Cup, there’s so much that has gone into it. This feels like a journey of not one month but a journey of two years. What we have tried to build and what we have tried to create it feels like it came together in a beautiful afternoon in Barbados.

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Published 30 June 2024, 17:35 IST

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