Cricket News: Rahul Dravid's cautious strategy cost Team India
India's shock loss in the first of three ODIs to Bangladesh has once again shone the light firmly on head coach Rahul Dravid.
If there wasn't already a target on his back after he chose to rest for India's tour of New Zealand, the significant loss at Mirpur only made his critics sharpen their swords even more.
One aspect that is particularly grating about Rahul Dravid's approach is the low-risk nature of the team selections.
That's not to say he doesn't make changes that no one saw coming – you'd have certainly had to be a brave man to predict that Ravichandran Ashwin would play all T20 World Cup games ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal, for example – but they are still rooted in a safety-first nature.
Ashwin's inclusion was down to him being an economical bowler. So the team chose to forego a proven match-winner in Yuzvendra Chahal for a safe option in Ashwin.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Rahul Dravid is worst coach of all time, still can't understand why people's rate him so much, he was good as batsman but very bad as captain and as coach, Rohit Sharma also felt the same pressure, everyone isn't Virat kohli who can handle batting and leadership at the same time.</p>— Vishnu 🕉 (@MasterVKohli) <a href="https://twitter.com/MasterVKohli/status/1590665882531139584?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 10, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The same can be said about India's team selection choices for the first ODI. The batting, although top-heavy, we're all dealing with issues of their own.
Rohit Sharma has been out of form throughout 2022, KL Rahul hasn't fared much better, Shreyas Iyer is still tormented by anything resembling a short ball, and Shikhar Dhawan seems to be auditioning for a role in India's Test team.
Despite that, the team chose to play all four when at least one of those players – Dhawan – was droppable. The reason he wasn't dropped? Because he represented a safe option.
It was the same reason India went on this tour with no full-time spinner. Instead, spinning duties were shared between Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Ahmed.
Now that's no disrespect to either player as both are well suited to the ODI format, but neither are attacking options like Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, or Kuldeep Yadav.
To compound matters, the Mirpur pitch aided attacking spin bowling, as was proved by Shakib al Hasan's success in the first innings.
Even the bowling represented safety – Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Siraj, and Shardul Thakur have been around the India set-up for a while now.
Kuldeep Sen was handed a debut but had a forgettable match and will, in all likelihood, make way for Umran Malik – who probably should have started ahead of him.
And that's not even why Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, and Chahal mentioned above were rested for this tour – especially considering they're all white ball players who could have rested during the Test series.
It all speaks to a lack of coherent strategy, a lack of a long-term vision and a lack of risk-taking. At the same time, England have the fun and daring 'Bazball', and India have 'Wall-ball' – a style and ideology that is neither fun nor daring.
Will things change going into the 2023 World Cup year? It seems unlikely, given what we have seen from the team so far.
But if things remain the same, Indian fans would be wise to prepare for another heartbreak in an ICC tournament – and yet another rebuild.