IND Vs AUS Final: Denied Cricket World Cup Trophy Yet Again, Rahul Dravid Needs Time To Think On Future As India Coach

Despite his unwavering commitment, Rahul Dravid doesn't have a Cricket World Cup trophy in his cabinet as a player or coach. After India's loss in the 2023 final against Australia in Ahmedabad, Dravid said he has not thought about his future as coach yet


India coach Rahul Dravid at a training session during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.

He gave it his all as a player, and did the same as a coach. Rahul Dravid has been the ultimate servant of Indian cricket, displaying unwavering commitment to the team's cause at all times. But despite all his efforts, Dravid still does not have a Cricket World Cup trophy in his cabinet. The latest near-miss would have hurt the most, as he oversaw a dominant Team India notching up 10 consecutive wins in ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, only to be outplayed in the final by Australia in Ahmedabad. (Highlights | Scorecard | Full Coverage)

Dravid seemed emotionally spent after enduring the soul-crushing defeat in the title clash, and said he needed some time to introspect on his future with the Indian team, even as his his two-year contract with them ended on Sunday, November 19, 2023.


Asked about whether he wishes to coninue coaching the team, Dravid said he hadn't thought about it yet. "I've just come off a game. I had no time to think about this and no time to reflect on this. Yeah, I will when I get the time to do that," he said at the post-match press conference. 

"At this point of time, I was completely focused on this campaign and there was nothing else on my mind. And I haven't given any other thought to what happens in the future," he added.

Dravid also said he does not believe in analysing his own two-year tenure. "To be honest, I am not really someone who's going to judge and analyse myself. I was really proud to work with the team. The players that I worked with over the last two years in all the formats, it's been a privilege." 


The 50-year-old also didn't want to comment on whether he would be interested in guiding the team during the 2024 T20 World Cup in USA and the West Indies. "Honestly, I haven't thought about it. I think all our campaign, all our energies were focused on this match, focused on this tournament, and focused till here. And I haven't actually given it any thought or I have no plans, I have had no plans of what's going to happen in the future," said the former India captain.

Dravid laughed when asked whether some of the golden generation of Indian cricketers lost out on an opportunity to win a World Cup, as the next edition in South Africa in four years might be too late. "I'm not really thinking about 2027 and who's going to be there and who's not going to be there. There's a lot of time for that. A lot of water will flow under the bridge before that. There'll be a lot of time for that," Dravid said.

'Rohit Was Invested In This Team'
Dravid termed India captain Rohit Sharma as an incredible leader and spoke about how invested the skipper was in this team, going out of his way and spending his personal time in the dressing room to strike a rapport with his teammates. "He's been an exceptional leader. You know, Rohit's really led this team fantastically well. He's certainly got the dressing room, he's given so much of his time and energy in the dressing room to the boys. 

"He has 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," he said. 


'Tough To See Boys Disapppointed' 
Understandably, the Indian cricketers were gutted after the final and there were a lot of emotions in the dressing roo, which Dravid said were tough to see as coach. "Of course he's (Rohit) disappointed, as are many of the boys in the dressing room. It was tough to see as a coach, because 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."


'Played Fearless Cricket In Final Too'
"We played fearless cricket, we had 80 runs in first powerplay. Sometimes, you have to rebuild innings after losing a few wickets, we were not defensive.

"They also did the same when Head and Labuschagne batted but they did not lose wicket and kept going," said Dravid. 

'Fell Short By 40 Runs'
India could only muster a below-par 240 in the first innings and the Pat Cummins-led Aussies chased down the target in 43 overs to notch up a record-extending sixth ODI World Cup title.

After losing three wickets for 81 runs, Virat Kohli (54 off 63) and KL Rahul (66 off 107) went on consolidation mode in the middle overs where the hosts could only find the boundary twice.


Dravid felt that the pitch was slow, but still not a 240-run surface. "It was a bit slow to start off with when the sun was on. But I thought it played fine. It was probably a 280, 290 kind of wicket. It wasn't 240."

He added: "We should have got those 40 extra runs. That might have put more pressure on Australia. Thought it played really well later on as well. So, I thought it was a pretty good wicket. Sometimes looks can be a bit deceiving. Didn't really have that many tricks."