There were a lot of emotions, it was tough to see - Dravid

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Dravid revealed that it was tough for him to see the players in such a state of mind
Dravid revealed that it was tough for him to see the players in such a state of mind © AFP

Rahul Dravid gave a peek into what the Indian dressing room may have looked like after the side's devastating defeat in the final of the World Cup on Sunday night. "There is disappointment in the dressing room, and there is disappointment among the boys and among the support staff," the India head coach said about the mood in the change room after Australia recorded a surprisingly crushing one-sided win over the home team.

"There were a lot of emotions in that dressing room. It was tough to see as a coach," Dravid said after the match. Rohit Sharma was seen holding back his emotions while going off the ground after the match and he did well not to let emotional side overcome him. But Dravid revealed that it was tough for him to see the players in such a state of mind.

"I know how hard these guys have worked, what they've put in, the sacrifices they've made. So, it's tough. I mean, it's tough to see that as a coach, because you get to know these boys personally. You get to see the effort they put in, the hard work that we've put in," the India coach, visibly glum, said. "But that's sport. That happens. It can happen. And the better team won on the day. And I'm sure that the sun will come up tomorrow morning. We'll learn from it. We'll reflect. And we'll move on, as will everyone else. But certainly, I think when the dust settles, we can reflect on what has been a really good campaign."

One of the best factors of his tenure is his perfect chemistry with skipper Rohit, and Dravid was all praise for the captain's leadership skills and the attacking brand of cricket he has played in the tournament. "He's been an exceptional leader," Dravid declared. "Rohit's really led this team fantastically well. I think he's certainly got the dressing room. I just think he's given so much of his time and energy in the dressing room to the boys. He's always been available for any of our conversations, any of our meetings.

"Sometimes there's been a lot of planning, a lot of strategy that goes in. He's always committed to those things. He's given a lot of his personal time, energy into this campaign. And his batting as well, I thought it was fantastic, the way he set the tone for us. We knew that we wanted to play a certain way. We wanted to play a positive attacking brand of cricket. And he was very committed to doing that. And he wanted to lead by example. And I thought right through the tournament, he was quite superb in doing that. And yeah, I just can't speak more highly of him as a person and as a leader."

Dravid has been a rather reluctant coach and there is a perception that he will walk out and won't continue in this role. There is also a talk that VVS Laxman will take over. But Dravid said he has not had time to reflect upon his future.

"I haven't thought about it (about continuation). I've just come off a game. I have no time to think about this and no time to reflect on this. Yeah, I will when I get the time to do that. But at this point of time, I was completely focused on this campaign. It was focused on this World Cup, and there was nothing else on my mind. And I haven't given any other thought to what happens in the future," the coach said, leaving the question open-ended.

Dravid also addressed the issue of India fumbling in the final hurdle of the ICC events and the perception of having fear of failure in the final. "I won't believe that we played with fear in this tournament. In this final match, we were on 80 runs in 10 overs. We were losing wickets. When you lose wickets, you have to change your strategy and tactics. We showed that in this tournament. When we lost against England, we played differently. You have to play. You start with front foot cricket. And in this match, in the final, we didn't play anything out of fear," the former India captain said at one point.

To another question of similar nature on why India have not won an ICC trophy for 10 years, Dravid said there cannot be one specific reason for that. "I guess if I knew the answer, I would say that. But no, I think, to be honest, I don't know," he remarked. Under him, India reached the semifinal of the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia, lost the final of the World Test Championship in the UK and then again now came second best in the World Cup.

"There's not one particular reason you can pin it down to," he said. "I didn't feel at any stage going into this game that there were any nerves or the guys were intimidated by the game or they were concerned about the game. They were looking forward to it, and we were excited about the game. I thought there was energy and the mental space the boys were in leading into this particular game was spot-on, was terrific. Just on the day we probably didn't execute, and Australia played better than us," he strove hard to explain.




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