While critics will always find ways to raise questions, the job of a coach remains incredibly hard. When it comes to making selection calls, be it in the playing XI or for the squad as a whole, the coach often has to take difficult decisions and snub even those players he or she has been desperate to see succeed. India men’s cricket team head coach Rahul Dravid opened up on such ‘tough’ selection calls, saying the best he can do for a player is be honest with them and make the decisions without any political agenda or bias.
“You care for each of those people whom you coach, on a personal level as well and you’re trying to build personal connections. You want to coach them as people and not so much as cricket players. And when you do that, you want all of them to succeed. But at the same time, you’ve got to be realistic and realise that not all of them are going to succeed. At times you’ve got to make those tough and difficult decisions,” Dravid said during an episode of ‘CRED Curious’.
The India head coach admitted that every time the Indian team announces its playing XI there are people who are left disappointed. Even other players who didn’t get picked feel sad to have been snubbed. But, that’s the job of a coach, to make hard decisions.
“Every time we pick a Playing XI, we disappoint people; there are others who are not playing. Every time we pick a 15 for a tournament, there are a lot of guys who feel they should be there. And you feel bad for them at an emotional level. But at least we all try. I don’t say I am perfect at it. I’m not saying that I get it right all the time because it does affect you. That’s the hardest part of coaching or leading teams – having to make those tough decisions about people you truly want to succeed and do well. But you can only pick so many players, forced by the rule.”
Not every player gets to hear the true reasons behind his or her absence from the team. Dravid, in a recent interaction with veteran wicket-keeper batter Wriddhiman Saha, was honest with him about wanting to give opportunities to younger players in the team. For Dravid, the best thing he can do as a coach is be honest.
“There is no easy answer to it. I think the thing that comes to me is at least you try to be honest about it. In your communication and dealings with players, if there is an honesty and if they can think that you are doing without any political agenda or any bias in play, then that is the best you can hope for. That has to be a guiding principle,” mentioned Dravid during the interaction.