R Ashwin has defended India head coach Rahul Dravid’s decision to take a break from the ongoing tour of New Zealand, highlighting the physical and mental strain the team has been under since reaching the 2022 T20 World Cup. .
In Dravid’s absence, former India batsman and current head of the National Cricket Academy VVS Laxman took charge of a different-looking Indian team with regular captains Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami. And without Ashwin himself.
“I will explain why Laxman has gone there with a completely different team because that too can be interpreted differently,” Ashwin said on his YouTube channel. “Rahul Dravid and his team worked very hard before the T20 World Cup – perfectly planned. Because I saw it closely, I am saying this.
“They had specific in-depth plans for every venue and every opposition. So they would break out not only mentally but also physically, and everyone needed a break. As soon as the New Zealand series ended Yes, we have a tour of Bangladesh. So we have a different coaching staff led by Laxman for this tour.”
India won four out of five group matches to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup, but lost to eventual champions England.
Dravid’s immediate predecessor Ravi Shastri had questioned why the Indian coach would need a break especially when he gets “two to three months” off during the IPL.
“I don’t believe in breaks,” Shastri said during a press interaction ahead of the first T20I between India and New Zealand in Wellington. “Because I want to understand my team, I want to understand my players and then I want to be in control of that team.
“These breaks… why do you need so many breaks to be honest? You get your two or three months of IPL; that’s enough for you to rest as a coach. But other times, I think I should be the coach. On hand—whatever that is.”
Dravid was also rested for the tour of Zimbabwe earlier this year. Earlier, he and several other first-choice players were allowed to focus on the Test match in England while the second-ranked T20I squad played against Ireland in Dublin. And, this October, while India’s T20 World Cup squad was in Australia, a set of Ferengi players were involved in an ODI series at home against South Africa. Lakshmana supported Dravid on all these occasions.
India’s tour of New Zealand consists of three T20Is and three ODIs, the last of which will take place on November 30. ODIs and two Tests.