Not many would have put their money on the Delhi Daredevils team for this edition of the IPL, given the lack of experience in the bunch. However, the fortunes of the team seem to be turning around with the arrival of Rahul Dravid as their mentor. Two consecutive emphatic wins have, somewhere, reduced the pain of the marred previous seasons.
The drawing board is out, literally. Dravid, a meticulous taskmaster, has taken his white board, marker and notebook to the practice field – after sitting with the entire squad for a session of mental strengthening at the team hotel.
It’s a drill which is now a become habit with Daredevils. Not that it hasn’t been done before, but it has definitely coincided with the seemingly different approach of the squad in the initial part of the tournament.
Sitting on his haunches, Dravid carefully studies each member of the squad, it’s like bringing top-flight football coaching methods to the table. The roles are defined. He doesn’t interrupt or blabber out suggestions, barring an odd quip at a senior player, during the three hours of the training session. The response of the players, the team management feels, is much more inspiring this season. “Things have got very systematic this season. The team is in order and there’s hardly any scope for confusion. Each player knows what he is supposed to do on each given day. It gets very difficult to keep such a huge squad in order on day to day basis but Dravid manages to do it,” said a source close to the team management.
An evolving coach, as he likes to call himself, Dravid brings out his board during IPLs. He didn’t use it much during his stint with India ‘ A’ and the India U-19 sides over the last year. The squad is big in IPL and there are a lot of young players who are benched for a string of games. They come to the ground and they feel happy that Dravid remembers all of them and also what their defined roles are. It keeps their morale high. This is one thing that the franchise finds different from the other editions.
Dravid does enough to make each player feel important. It’s up to the young team to keep rolling.