In the wake of Indias back-to-back failures away from home in South Africa and New Zealand, not to mention the early exit in the Asia Cup, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar had proposed the sacking of Fletcher with the incumbent coach being replaced by Dravid. But having hung up his boots just two years ago, Dravid felt that he wasnt ready to take on the assignment.
I am happy and honoured that he (Gavaskar) thinks I am capable of doing the job. But the job requires a lot of time, almost 11 months a year. I have just retired and at the moment because of time constraints, I have to decline (the suggestion), he said.
Gavaskar had touted Dravid to be the best man for the job in India citing that he was enormously respected by the present Indian players. Come next month, the prolific former No.3 will be an integral part of the coaching staff at Rajasthan Royals, the franchise that he spent the last three years of his IPL career with. And despite expressing enthusiasm in terms of helping the next generation, Dravid said that the taking over the mantle with the national team wasnt in his plans for the near future.
But who knows some day, sometime in the future after few years. I am involved with Rajasthan Royals for a couple of months this time with a slightly different role. And time permitting I would love to work with the Under-19s or India A on shorter tours, he added.
During his lengthy and successful career, Dravid played under a variety of national coaches, both Indian and foreign, including the likes of John Wright, Greg Chappell and Gary Kirsten. It was under Fletcher, however, that he ended his career. And despite the Zimbabweans inability to resurrect Indias fortunes abroad, Dravid felt that the BCCI was unlikely to change the coach before2015.
You got to give the coaching staff and support staff four years to try and change things. With two big tours of Australia and England coming up and the World Cup after that it is unlikely that India will change its coaching staff or any part of the leadership group. I guess they will review that after the World Cup, he pointed out.
Nationality no bar
If it was under Wright that Indian cricket saw its stocks rise away from home, Dravid captained India to their first Test series win in the West Indies in over 30 years with the aegies of Chappell. Then came the World Cup glory in 2011 with Kirsten at the helm. And Dravid believed that the nationality of the coach shouldnt even come up for discussion. The only thing that should matter was whether he was the best man for the job.
Having said that, coaching in India has become very professional. There are a number of impressive coaches plying their job in the Ranji Trophy presently. Its a great sign for Indian cricket. And in the future we might have an Indian good enough to take over the reins, he explained.
While Fletcher has attracted incessant flak of late for the lack of impact hes had on the Indian team since taking over in 2011, Dravid insisted that the teams fortunes depended on the senior players contribution.
I think sometimes the role of a coach is overstated but the responsibility should always lie with the senior players. At the end of the day, it is their team. A team is defined by what the senior players bring to the party and in the end, and so too the captain as they are the ones who have to perform. The coach can help bring the right environment and conditions, he said.
He added, You cant necessarily always judge coaches on results. If someone is coaching Bangladesh hes not going to always get great results but that doesnt mean he is doing a bad job. That is why sometimes coaches are on a hiding to nothing. They cant really influence the course of a game but they get judged.