For coach Dravid, captain Sharma, World Cup will be the toughest test

For coach Dravid, captain Sharma, World Cup will be the toughest test

Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid

AVINASH KR ATISH New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) After a group-stage elimination in 2021, the Indian cricket team is determined put up a brave performance and bring home the T20 World Cup trophy, but injuries, lack of form and absence of key players have only increased the challenges for captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid ahead of the tournament. The duo of Rohit and Dravid took over from Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri after the last year's T20 World Cup, where the team had a disastrous campaign. Under the current team management, India have seen a fair amount of success in bilateral T20I series but the Asia Cup debacle has given them a wake up call. When Dravid and Rohit took the charge, they talked about the positive approach and intent, which has been clearly visible in the team's style of play in T20Is in recent times. "We've made a decision after the last T20 World Cup where we sat down as a group and decided to play more positively. We believe we have the quality as a group to play more aggressively, we've been able to do that without being bowled out too often," Dravid said about India's aggressive batting approach, after the end of the T20 series against South Africa. India used to win back-to-back bilaterials even in the Shastri-Kohli era, but they failed to win an ICC trophy during their tenure. It was even one of the reasons for Kohil losing his captaincy in the white ball format. So, in the new era of Rohit and Dravid, fans of Indian cricket have big hopes from the team to lift the T20 World Cup, 15 years after the Men in Blue won the the inaugural tournament back in 2007. India will start their campaign on October 23 with a crunch game against Pakistan, who beat them recently in the Asia Cup and the absence of pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, coupled with the bad form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel with the ball have only increased their trouble. But, as Dravid said, it's an opportunity for someone else to step up. The likes of Mohammad Shami and Axar Patel have big shoes to fill, but the good thing is they are both experienced enough to face the situation. India's death bowling has troubled them the most in the recent past and the coach and captain need to give confidence to Bhuvneshwar and Arshdeep Singh to execute that, because these two bowlers are the best possible available options for India at this moment. "You can't show disappointment in injuries, you need to look forward to what we can do. We have backed our other boys and we are backing them. Hope they deliver," said a hopeful Rohit Sharma at a press conference on Saturday. "By the time we play Pakistan, we will be prepared. We don't believe in last-minute information, I don't want to believe in telling someone at the last minute that you are playing," the India skipper said. Another area where Team India needs to work is fielding. They have been poor in the field, dropping many catches in 2022 which is not a good sign. After the conclusion of the South Africa series, Dravid had said the team has really worked hard and it just needs some luck for the T20 World Cup in Australia. Bilaterials, Asia Cup are done and dusted, it's time for the much-awaited T20 World Cup and the Rohit-Dravid duo has the biggest challenge in front of them. They would be keen to put on a brave performance, emerge victorious and bring smiles on the faces of Indian cricket fans.

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