India's Rohit Sharma scored a half-century against Namibia
Rohit Sharma, who will be making his debut as a full-time T20 captain for India against New Zealand, on Wednesday. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: The Rahul Dravid-Rohit Sharma era in India’s T20 cricket got underway on Tuesday with both agreeing that the workload management of the players will be one of the priority areas for them in the coming months.

The India-New Zealand T20 series, which opens with the first game in Rajkot on Wednesday, is the first of the international fixtures to go off the blocks - barely two days after the final of the T20 World Cup here on Sunday. ‘’Players are not machines. In this series against New Zealand, we are resting certain players and we have to monitor it series by series,’’ the new T20 captain said during their first joint press conference.

If Rohit’s taking over from Virat Kohli doesn’t really invoke a sense of novelty in the sense that the Mumbai Indians captain has often filled in the role in the white ball game, The Wall’s agreeing to take charge has raised the expectations among Indian fans.


Striking the same wave length as his captain, Dravid said: ‘‘We will have to look at players’ physical and mental well being as it’s one of the challenges of cricket now. Other international teams are also doing the same - for example Kane Williamson is missing out on the T20 series to focus on Tests.’’

Appointed for a period of two years, Dravid said: ‘‘All three formats are criticially important for us. There are three ICC events over the next two years - the World T20, 50-overs World Cup as well as the World Test Championship. We share a long term goal and have to keep getting better.’’

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) released a video clip on Tuesday which gives an insight on what Dravid’s style could be - he turned the throwdown specialist at the nets for his captain as Sharma unleashed his range of shots. When asked what kind of interaction did he have with the players, Dravid he was in no hurry to get over everything. ‘‘We were initially in quarantine and kept in touch with zoom links. I am just trying to sit back as assess how things are run as there is plenty of time,’’ he said.

Will there be a change in philosophy for Dravid the coach now from his role with the Under-19 or India ‘A’ teams, where he was more of a builder with a long term vision? Responding to this query from Gulf News, he said: ‘‘“You have to strike that balance. Of course we want to win every single game we play for India, but we cannot not think about the long term picture as well, It’s a combination of both in any situation. Thinking long-term and thinking about what is in the future, certainly, is my job as a coach.”

As someone who has led his team to five titles in the high pressure environment of IPL, Rohit is a captain who has really been there and done that in this format. Asked what would be his template in leadership, Rohit said that they would strive to give a player the sense of security so he they can play with freedom.

‘‘See, we have been brilliant in this format. There are little holes that we need to fill up and it’s not necessary that we follow any certain team’s template. We have exchanged some ideas and thoughts thoughts about it,’’ he said.

How are they rating New Zealand as an opposition ? Dravid struck a word of caution: ‘‘They are a very good side. They used to be called underdogs for some reason but now, the narrative has certainly changed. They have beaten India in recent tournaments and one of the top contenders in any ICC tournaments,’’ he said.

Asked if the absence of Williamson will make a difference, Rohit said: ‘‘They are a formidable team and are not dependant on any one individual, see how they did in the World Cup.’’