Rahul Dravid will bring in a “lot of steel” in the current Indian team and his role will be more of a ‘Man Manager’ rather than of a conventional coach which is an obsolete concept, reckons Australian spin wizard Shane Warne.
Warne had some great on-field battles with Dravid during their playing days. The legendary leg-spinner has utmost respect for the new Indian head coach but as has been his stance for nearly three decades now, he doesn’t believe in “terminology” at elite level.
“Rahul Dravid will bring in a lot to the table. Terrific cricketer, great person. I think he will bring in a lot of steel, lot of toughness to the group,” Warne told PTI in an exclusive interview facilitated by ‘BookMyShow’.
His documentary ‘Shane’ is already out on ‘BookMyShow Stream’.
“I think he will bring in a lot of tactical stuff that will be good. Rahul is fantastic for Indian cricket,” he added.
However Warne then explained what he feels about the concept at the international level.
“The coach, it is the terminology which I don’t like in international cricket. In domestic cricket, the coaches are really important, but in international cricket, he should be called a manager not a coach,” Warne explained.
Elaborating further, he said, “Getting front-elbow up and coaching them like kids isn’t what is required at international level.”
“You do that for kids at age-group level, first-class level, where you are taught how to play the game and coached to get ready for international cricket.”
At the highest level, the emphasis is on the mental and tactical side of the game and that’s not the job of a conventional coach”.
“It’s about mental side and tactical side and that’s where man management comes in. By the time you go international cricket, you know how to play.
“Sometimes you just forget how to play and make things too complicated and that’s why you don’t get coached at international level. You are managed. Does that make sense?” the flamboyant cricketer asked.
Lack of wrist spinners in Tests is also due to poor captaincy
In the ’90s and till mid 2000, Australia had Warne while India had Anil Kumble and Pakistan had Mushtaq Ahmed as world’s premier wrist spinners. This art form has not been put to great use in last one and half decades with only name to shine through ranks is Pakistan’s Yasir Shah.
Is it because of poor captaincy at Test level that we don’t get good leg break bowlers?
“Yes, that’s true,” Warne quipped. “You need someone that understands spin bowling, thoughtfulness and you needed to show empathy, and it’s not easy bowling leg-spinners.
“It’s a tough skill and tough art to sort of do and so you need encouragement from the captains and coaches and everyone involved in the sport. Field settings are so so important as I can’t even express to you how important they are and so many captains get it wrong,” he reasoned.
Modern batters aren’t facing too much of spin in Tests
Warne didn’t want to get into the rights and wrongs but he believes that batters of this generation are playing lesser and lesser of quality spin bowling.
“If you look at the world game at the moment, some of the batters will get through the fast bowlers and a lot of spinners, they will get through after that. When you compare that to the ’90s batters, they had a lot of spinners to get through.
“So it’s interesting watching the modern day batters and I am not saying they are any worse or any better. I am just saying it’s a different game now. We see so many doing well in T20 cricket, hope we see some of them doing well in Test cricket too.”
I wasn’t anti-establishment but I did ask tough questions
Shane Warne has had his share of problems on and off the field but would he call himself an anti-establishment man? “No” he said emphatically.
“Not at all. I was never anti-establishment at all. If I disagreed with something, I would challenge that person. In case of coach John Buchanan, I challenged him and I was not afraid to challenge anyone.
“If I challenged John Buchanan about tactical aspects of the game, then it was also about the captain. I would challenge anyone and in our team and I would also expect to get challenged too.
“If someone wanted a different game plan, I was always open for suggestions. No matter what I would always try something new. If I disagreed with strategy or training method, I would challenge that. It was not anti-establishment but just that the way I thought about the game,” Warne said.
I made mistakes but I was very strong mentally
It is only human to make mistakes but it is the tough times in which an individual’s character comes through and that’s one aspect where Warne feels that his mental toughness worked wonders.
“It’s easy to get through life if everything goes great but it’s about how you handle tough times. And I am very proud of how I responded to the tough times, whether it was cricket when we lost to the West Indies by one run in a Test match or in personal life.”
“You never know people could be going through some real tough times but you still have to go out there and perform. I had to do that too and that was quite tough at times and that’s where the mental side of the game comes in.”
Warne said that he was mentally strong.
“I was very very strong mentally and toughness that I had, and I was able to compartmentalise and no matter what was going on in my life was able to focus on my cricket,” he said.
In one word to describe me? Down to Earth, super-competitive
Was Shane Warne a flawed genius? He starts laughing. “There are lots of positives about my life, lot of positives about my personality and negatives as well but isn’t that true for everyone?
“If I have to sum up myself, then I would call myself, “Down to earth”, honest, and super competitive, and on the cricket field I showed that,” he concluded.