A familiar face donned the Indian practice jersey for the first time in almost 10 years, went about his business with all seriousness. It did take a moment for the eyes to get accustomed to seeing him without the pads and that slim willow which used to get broader within the split seconds the ball took to reach the batsman but Rahul Dravid was at home even with the notebook in hand.
This has been his role for the past few years. The designation from an India A and India U19 coach or the NCA head, however has changed to India head coach for the first time. But with so many fresh faces – many of whom groomed by him – nothing much changed for Dravid.
Under the watchful eyes of the legendary former cricketer, the Shikhar Dhawan-led young Indian side completed their first training session in Colombo, Sri Lanka after being in quarantine for 18 days.
With BCCI deciding to name two different teams for different formats to play in England and Sri Lanka almost at the same time, Dravid and Dhawan were given the reins of the limited-overs Indian side while regular captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri take responsibility of the Test team in England.
“It has been nearly 17-18 days that we have been in some sort of quarantine. Really good for the boys to get out and just get moving a little bit. A nice little area in front of the lawn before we practice tomorrow, we have an open space,” said Dravid in a video posted on the website of BCCI on Saturday.
The Indian cricketers were out of quarantine on Friday and instead of straightaway jumping inside the nets, Dravid decided to let the players have physical drills and soak in the atmosphere.
The young Indian side, which has six fresh faces, were seen jogging, stretching and playing a game of footvolley before their pool session – all under Dravid’s supervision.
Talking about coming out of quarantine, pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been named the vice-captain of this Sri Lanka tour, said: “Everyone was excited to come out, fun activities are happening. Everyone is enjoying it, this is the first day that we have gotten out and it is important that team bonding happens.”
India are slated to play three ODIs, starting on July 13, followed by as many T20Is at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. These six matches will be the last white-ball fixtures for Team India before the T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman in October and November.