Adelaide– If this Men’s T20 World Cup has proved anything, then it is that no team can be taken lightly, feels India head coach Rahul Dravid ahead of India’s Super 12 clash against Bangladesh in Group 2 of Men’s T20 World Cup at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.
The chance of not being complacent at all, especially against Bangladesh, is something Dravid himself knows a thing or two about. In the 2007 ODI World Cup in the West Indies, when Dravid was the captain of the Indian team, Bangladesh had stunned India by five wickets in the Group B match at Trinidad.
Though India have a 10-1 record against Bangladesh in T20Is and last meeting between the two teams in T20 World Cups resulted in a heart-stopping one-run win over their neighbours in Bengaluru, Dravid is not taking any chance against a young side led by Shakib Al Hasan.
“I think we respect them a lot. They’re a very good team. This format and this World Cup has really shown us that honestly you can’t take any team lightly. Ireland showed that against England. We’ve seen enough games in this competition.”
“I think the fact that it is already such a short format. 20 overs is such a short format of the game. The margins of victory and defeat sometimes even if they’re 12 runs, 15 runs, it’s actually just two hits. It’s two hits one way or the other, and actually that’s the game,” said Dravid in the pre-match press conference.
In the tournament, India registered wins over Pakistan and the Netherlands before suffering a five-wicket defeat against South Africa to concede their top position in Group 2 table. Currently, India and Bangladesh are level on four points, with Dravid’s team ahead on net run rate.
“So it is already a shortened sort of rushed, noisy format, but it’s very difficult to sometimes say who’s a clear favourite in some of these games. On top of that, I think these conditions have actually levelled the playing field to a large extent because the boundaries are certainly bigger, and some of those big hits which you sometimes expect in the subcontinent to just go for six and you just know that I’ll be able to make up those runs later on, it’s not happening that easily.”
“People are getting out. It’s really been a fantastic tournament from that perspective. Apart from the weather, I think it’s been a terrific tournament in terms of just the nature of the games. No, we certainly don’t take Bangladesh lightly. Our preparation, our planning will be as meticulous as it was against South Africa at Perth. No different,” added Dravid.
Playing at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday means India will be playing their fourth match in the tournament at a different venue in as many matches in Australia after Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
“In this format, every wicket is different. That’s one of the things, again, this tournament has shown playing in different parts of Australia. The grounds are so different. Certainly playing in Perth the other night where the boundaries were 80 yards. We come here, and it’s certainly different.”
“The kind of shots you’ll play here will be very different to the kind of shots you’ll play at Perth. You’ll have to bowl different kind of balls, which I think is a unique nature of playing this tournament in this country, that almost game-to-game you’re having to adapt your tactics, your strategies to different conditions. I think that’s the uniqueness of that,” observed Dravid.
In the tournament, with cold weather and Australia still receiving rain, bowlers have been able to call the shots from the word go, which means India haven’t been able to showcase their ultra-attacking approach with the bat, the genesis of which is from going hard in power-play.
“If the conditions so dictate that the ball is nipping around doing a bit, then we can afford our batsmen to maybe be a little bit more conservative, keep wickets in hand and then target. I think it’s about adapting and being smart. I don’t think there’s just one way to play T20 cricket on all conditions.”
“Yes, there is a general template in which we understand T20 you have to be positive; you have to take the game on. That would be 80 per cent of most T20 games, but there is another 20 per cent, and that can come in big tournaments like this, wherein you’ve got to have the players, and we discussed that in our dressing room, who have to be able to adapt and understand and read a situation,” stated Dravid.
Dravid signed off by saying that in cases like this, adaptability and reading the conditions really well will be the required skills for India to get a win and inch closer to semi-finals. “If it’s not a 200-run wicket or it’s not a 180-run wicket and 160 is going to get the job done for you, then let’s figure out a way to get to 160. Last night, 150 might have done the job for us. I mean, 133 nearly did. 150 might have.”
“I think we might be able to afford people a little bit more time here. We may not. Might be really flat when we come out here tomorrow, and it might become a 180 wicket and we might need to go harder. I think the key word for me is “adaptability” and reading these conditions, these boundaries really well, and the teams that do that best will probably be the ones that will end up in the top four and certainly in the top two.” (IANS)