Team India are all set to lock horns with New Zealand in the three-match T20I series, starting today at Sky Stadium in Wellington. In the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, all-rounder Hardik Pandya will captain the side. Similarly, head coach Rahul Dravid is also unavailable as he has been given a rest from the New Zealand tour, and BCCI has sent VVS Laxman as the interim head coach of the Men in Blue.

Notably, this is not the first time Dravid has been given a rest, as earlier this year, Laxman oversaw proceedings when India toured Zimbabwe and Ireland. Reacting to the breaks given to Dravid, former India head coach Ravi Shastri reckoned a coach should not take this much amount of rest and instead invest the time to understand the players. Shastri said the coach gets 2-3 months time during the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is more than enough.

“I do not believe in breaks. Because I want to understand my team, I want to understand my players and I want to then be in control of that team. These breaks… what do you need that many breaks for, to be honest? You get your 2-3 months of the IPL; that’s enough for you to rest as a coach. But other times, I think a coach should be hands-on, whoever he is,” said Shastri during a virtual presser at Prime Video ahead of the first T20I between India and New Zealand in Wellington.

Shastri also emphasised that India should follow the example of England and make different teams for three different formats, even if that requires to leave out certain senior players.

“I wouldn’t like to point out anything, but there’s an opportunity with this team in the future to identify roles for players, identify match-winners, and go pretty much on the template of England. They are one team that really caught the bull by the horns after the 2015 World Cup. They sat down and said they are going to identify the best players for that format of the game – whether it’s T20 or 50-over cricket,” said the former all-rounder. This meant if certain senior players had to sit out, then so be it. They got in fearless youngsters who could adapt to that pattern of the game without having to change their games too much. So it’s a template that can be followed easily; India have got a wealth of resources. And I think it can start with this tour. Because when you look at this team, it’s a new, young side. You can identify, you can groom, and you can take this team ahead in two years,” Shastri added.

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