Rahul Dravid Addresses India's Defeat to Australia: Post-Match Press Conference Insights
In the post-match press conference, Coach Rahul Dravid expressed a balanced perspective following India's loss by a 6-wicket margin against Australia.
[Reporter:] Nothing could go wrong till the final, but this time a bad day at the office. Your thoughts?
[Rahul Dravid:] Yeah, obviously a tough day at the office. Ran a really good campaign. Really proud of the boys, the way we played right through this tournament, the kind of cricket we played, just the quality of cricket that we played right through this tournament, I thought was quite exceptional. So really proud of the efforts, proud of everything that we gave. I think we gave everything we had in this tournament. So really proud of the team, proud of all the boys, proud of the support staff. I think we ran a really good campaign. Just at the last step in the final we probably didn't have our best game and credit to Australia. My congratulations to them. They played really well on the day and they were better than us.
[Reporter:] I just wanted to ask that how do you sum up these two years of your coaching? How do you look at it? One semi-final, one final, a very good team, a lot of good performances with a high winning percentage. How do you look at it?
[Rahul Dravid:] I haven't had time to think about that. I mean, I've just walked out of a game there so to be very honest with you I haven't really thought about it and to be honest I am not really someone who's going to judge and analyse myself. But to be honest I've just like I said I was really proud to work with. I think the players that I worked with over the last two years in all the formats, really enjoyed working with them. And yeah, it's been a privilege.
[Reporter:] Ten wins, consecutive wins, how difficult does it get for the coaching staff, for the senior players like Rohit and Virat to pull the boys up after such a defeat because very much the favourites in the game and then losing a final which was there for the taking because you were considered the favourites for this?
[Rahul Dravid:] I mean we were the favourites because we were playing well but I think you can recognize that Australia is also a very good cricket team. They also came here with eight wins on the bounce so we were under no illusions that this was going to be a tough contest. We were confident that if we played well, we'd get the right result but unfortunately on the day they played better than us. And no, I think, like I said, it's for us - of course, there's going to be disappointment. There is disappointment in the dressing room, and there is disappointment among the boys and among the support staff. But certainly, I think when the dust settles, we can reflect on what has been a really good campaign.
[Reporter:]From this squad of 15, many of them would be on the other side of 30s when it comes to the next 50-over World Cup. Who among these would you think are potential for the 2027 World Cup?
[ Rahul Dravid:] Again, like I said, I just walked off the ground, so 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. But yeah, so to be honest, I just do not know how to answer this question because I have just walked off. Like I said, even the earlier questions, I haven't really had time to reflect on these things.
[Reporter:]Around 80 for 3, was it a conscientious effort of Kohli and Rahul to bat out the 50 overs, at least bat till the 50 overs and still 240 was not enough, would you say that?
[Rahul Dravid:]I mean, we knew, in hindsight, I think we fell about 30-40 runs short. It's not that we were looking to bat it out. I thought they bowled well through that period. I thought it just felt like the ball was stopping in the afternoon a little bit more than it did in the evening. And not that there a lot of dew, to be honest, but just felt like the ball came on to the bat a lot better in the evening. There was that period where I think the ball was stopping. We weren't able to get boundaries. We were rotating the strike, but we weren't able to hit those boundaries. And yeah, there was a conscious effort to try and take the game deep, but we kept losing wickets. We just lost wickets just when we felt that we built a partnership and we can start going. We lost a wicket, we lost Virat [Kohli], then we lost Jaddu [Jadeja] and then we lost [KL] Rahul. So, we just kept losing wickets at critical intervals and probably felt that we were about 40 runs short. I mean, I know in the end it looked like they would have chased even 40 runs more. But if we had got to 280, 290, and they were 60 for 3, then it might have been a very different game. But with 240, I think they were always one partnership away from getting there and yeah, they batted really well. I thought Travis Head played exceptionally well. He got through that initial period. We were a little bit unlucky. He beat the bat a few times. Stuff could have gone our way in that situation, but once he got through that, I thought he played really well.
[Reporter:] Just a few words on Rohit, the captain, and the batsman, having committed to a brand of cricket that he wanted to play and set the tone and just to maintain it throughout the competition?
[Rahul Dravid:] Yeah, I think he's been an exceptional leader. You know, Rohit's really led this team fantastically well. I think he's certainly got the dressing room. I just think he's given so much of his time and energy in the dressing room to the boys. He's 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. And his batting as well, I thought it was fantastic, the way he set the tone for us. We knew that we wanted to play a certain way. We wanted to play a positive attacking brand of cricket. And he was very committed to doing that. And he wanted to lead by example. And I thought right through the tournament, he was quite superb in doing that. And yeah, I just can't speak more highly of him as a person and as a leader.
[Reporter:] How did you plan, you made all three injured players who got operated, Shreyas Iyer, [Jasprit] Bumrah and KL[Rahul] perfectly in time. How much of planning did it go and how did you do this split up?
[Rahul Dravid:] Obviously, there is a certain level of planning and some thought that goes into it. Obviously, we were unfortunate with a few injuries before the tournament. And it was always the plan to try and get them ready for the Asia Cup and the World Cup. And you need a bit of luck as well. Sometimes in these things, these injuries can take a little bit longer. I think in that sense, we were quite lucky that we were able to get them for the Asia Cup and then from there on into the World Cup and I thought all three of them performed exceptionally. Obviously during the tournament, we lost Hardik [Pandya], which meant our balance changed, but that honestly didn't affect the results because we were able to play with five bowlers. And we managed that pretty well, except for probably this final. But yeah, but I think in any tournament that you play like this, you've got to have plan A and plan B and sometimes plan C. And we obviously started off with a particular plan, but then we were good enough, I thought, to adapt and shift to plan B when we had the injury.
[Reporter:] You said there is a lot of time for 2027, but in 7 months the T20 World Cup is coming up - there is not much time left. The way this team has run the campaign, the senior players, earlier we were talking about Virat and Rohit. Do you think that whatever the final result is, they can take another crack for the West Indies, including you? Is there a possibility that in the next 6-7 months, we will be back in this team?
[Rahul Dravid:] 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.
[Rahul Dravid:] Last year in the T20 World Cup, we made 170 runs in 20 overs, and England chased it easily. Today when we made 240 runs - Australia did not face any difficulties. Rohit comes on this wicket and scores 45-47 in 30 balls. But on the other hand, there are some batsmen who can score 60-65 runs on 110 balls. And the strike rate is very low. So, what happens is that in big matches, we play a little scared. You feel that our approach is not right? What are the issues? These issues have been visible since the last three or four World Cups, Asia Cups.
[Rahul Dravid:] I won't believe that we played with fear in this tournament. In this final match, we were on 80 runs in 10 overs. We were losing wickets. When you lose wickets, you have to change your strategy and tactics. We showed that in this tournament. When we lost against England, we differently. You have to play. You start with front foot cricket. And in this match, in the final, we didn't play anything out of fear. They did a lot of good bowling in the middle overs. We lost three wickets. So, we needed a period of consolidation. But whenever we thought we'd play attacking or positive and go forward and hit, we lost wickets. So, you have to build again. Whenever you have a partnership, you have to build it. You saw the batting of the team. There was a time when Marnus and Head were playing. They established it. But they didn't get out, so they kept playing. If you keep losing wickets in the middle, then you have to rebuild. But it's not like we started playing defensively.
[Reporter:] There was obviously a massive hysteria building up to the final. People were excited. But 100,000 people left disappointed tonight. Many more are going to be disappointed tonight around the country. What would your message be to the nation of India after the defeat?
[Rahul Dravid:] I think there will be some disappointment but I think they got to watch the Indian team play and have a fantastic campaign right through the World Cup. I said that at the start of the tournament, that we'd be traveling to, we eventually went to 11 cities, played in front of our fans, truly grateful for the kind of support that we received. Every single venue we went to was packed. People came out to watch. It was a great privilege to play in front of our fans and I thought the team did really well and really entertained the fans. So, while there may be some disappointments today, I think there's a lot of joy that this team has given to the people over the last couple of months. It was a privilege, I think, this tournament, just to see. I think there's no doubt that the fans of the subcontinent are truly great fans. They make this game the great game that it is, without a doubt. And what would we do without the fans in the subcontinent? And I think for us to be able to play in front of them and to entertain them and to play the brand of cricket that I think a lot of people really enjoyed watching was a privilege. So yeah, of course there's disappointment. Everyone wants us to win. There's disappointment. There's more disappointment in our dressing room than anywhere else. But like I said, there's a lot of positives to reflect on as well.
[Rahul Dravid:] I think it was really important that we got off to a good start because as you noticed it got really slow and got a bit lower later on, especially when we batted first. So, it was really good that we got off to a good start. I thought 84, just losing Rohit unfortunately in that last over to a terrific catch was, you know, unfortunate. But I thought, you know, we set the base up really well. But then, like I said, we kept losing wickets just when we thought we were consolidating and building a partnership. We lost a couple of wickets in a clump there. And then just as we built a partnership with Rohit and Rahul, with Virat and Rahul, Virat got out and then we lost a couple more quickly. So, I think that we just kept losing wickets and credit to Australia. I thought they utilized the conditions really well. They utilized the reverse swing a lot. They got a bit of reverse swing when they bowled first and they used that really well. I thought their fielding was spot on. So, they played really well and I thought they did well to restrict us to 240.
[Reporter:] After working together for two years, one is to give big exams like the World Cup. And the other thing is to make a team. So, how far has the team come in the last two years? How happy are you with that?
[Rahul Dravid:] Obviously, if you look at it, in all three formats, we are the number one team at the moment. But obviously for us, it would have been really nice at this point of time, there is a disappointment of not winning the trophy. But of course, I think there have been a lot of positives as well, a lot of good results, a lot of good performances. Of course, we would have liked to have won today, but we didn't win. And I thought overall, you know, I thought it's been a really good World Cup.
[Reporter:] The Rohit we have seen through this tournament on the field, has been very calm and composed. In his many press conferences, he's been humorous, light-hearted. You must have seen the other side in the dressing room, especially today. How emotional and how disappointed is he?
[Rahul Dravid:] Yeah, of course he's disappointed, as are many of the boys in the dressing room. It wasn't, yeah, there was a lot of emotions in that 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. You get to see the effort they put in, the hard work that we've put in over the last month, the kind of cricket we've played. But yeah, but that's sport. That happens. It can happen. And the better team won on the day. And I'm sure that the sun will come up tomorrow morning. We'll learn from it. We'll reflect. And we'll move on, as will everyone else. I mean, that's what you do as sportsmen. You have some great highs in sport, and you have some lows in sport. And you keep moving on. You don't stop. Because if you don't put yourself on the line, you don't put yourself in games like these, you don't experience the great highs. And neither do you experience the great lows. And if you don't do that, you don't learn.
[Reporter:] You said when the dust settles down, you'll be reflective of how good the campaign was. When the dust settles down, would the overarching feeling of being a satisfaction, a pride, be given such an enthralling, dynamic, entertaining campaign? Or just because this team has been so dominant, so good, there's a great chance of winning a World Cup. Would that be a regret? What do you think will be the takeaway from this tournament when the dust settles down?
[Rahul Dravid:] I can answer that when the dust does settle down. It was your word, exactly, because the dust hasn't settled down now. It's going to take some time for the dust to settle, I think. So, you know, at this point of time, yeah, at this point of time, there's disappointment. I mean, what else can I say? But, you know, I'd like to believe that, you know, in time, we'll look at look at some of the positives of this. But sure, at this point of time, there is disappointment.
[Reporter:] Just wanted you to dwell on your future now and would you like to continue as the coach of maybe only the red ball team or the white ball team? Or where do you see yourself?
[Rahul Dravid:] I haven't thought about it. Again, I've just come off a game. I have no time to think about this and no time to reflect on this. Yeah, I will when I get the time to do that. But at this point of time, I was completely focused on this campaign. It was focused on this World Cup, and there was nothing else on my mind. And I haven't given any other thought to what happens in the future.
[Reporter:] Just a word on the making of the bowling attack, which is one of the best, like other teams consider it one of the most lethal things of the Indian team. So, you know, how much effort and planning went into creating this bowling attack?
[Rahul Dravid:] Look, I think bowling attack, to be honest, I don't think we can take all the credit for the creation of this bowling attack, because it's been around for a long time. It's been there. So, I think a lot of the three fast bowlers who bowled for us right through this tournament have been around for a while, really experienced fast bowlers as well. But certainly, I think some of the tactics and the strategies and some of the execution that we saw over the last tournament and what we've seen recently has been absolutely fantastic. A lot of planning and effort goes into it. Paras [Mhambrey] works really closely with them. We've got our sports science team that really looks after their fitness side of things. So obviously any fast bowlers, you know, keeping them on the path and working with them requires planning, requires strategy and more importantly it requires a willingness from the boys to put in the effort and the hard work and you know I think just a credit to Booms [Bumrah] and Shami and Siraj. They've been absolutely brilliant for us right through this tournament, as has been Jaddu and Kuldeep [Yadav] and even Ash [R Ashwin] in the one game that he played. So yeah, bowling's been truly spectacular right through this tournament. Probably today was one of those days where we just didn't give them enough runs to be able to work with.
[Reporter:] The Australians were very wary of this pitch that you were playing on today. They were probably inspecting it more than they have in other games. Were you happy with how it turned out?
[Rahul Dravid:] Yeah, they should be happy now. No, I thought it was fine. I mean, yeah, 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. 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. Yeah, probably 280-290.
[Reporter:] Did Australia's use of bowlers, they used 7 bowlers often for 1 or 2 overs spells, did they have an impact on the batsmen in the middle overs?
[Rahul Dravid:] No, not just the fact that they used seven bowlers. I thought the way that they bowled was really good. I thought they, like I said, they bowled very straight, bowled straighter lines, used the slower ball really well, used the larger, big size of the boundary really well. Didn't let us get away with many boundaries in that middle period. We've sort of been a team that's been hitting a lot of boundaries in that period but with you know with their tactics and the way they bowled they probably didn't let us get many boundaries and like I said it's probably also a function of the fact that just when we thought we were settling in and looking to go, you just felt that the guys were looking to go and then you lost a few wickets. So, we just couldn't build a big partnership. We couldn't really get a really big partnership like Travis Head or Marnus Labuschagne did. We just couldn't. We just didn't get to that 70-80 run mark in a partnership to be able to sort of take it on and launch and get those extra 30-40 runs that we needed.
[Reporter:] Superb cricket your team played throughout the tournament. But just that an ICC trophy last 10 years, it still is out of bounds for the Indian team. Now, having worked with the team for two years, have you found any particular reason that why are we failing the crunch matches, be it semifinal, final, wherever? What happens to us?
[Rahul Dravid:] I mean, I guess if I knew the answer, I would say that. But no, I think, to be honest, I don't know. I've been involved in three now, one semifinal, and the World Test Championship, and this one as well. I just think we haven't played really well on the day. I mean, I thought we were a bit short in Adelaide, in the semifinal. We lost the first day in the World Test Championship, unfortunately. We didn't bowl particularly well after Australia was three down there. And here we didn't bat well enough in the first. So, yeah, there's not one particular reason you can pin it down to. It's not that, I mean, I didn't feel at any stage going into this game that there were any nerves or the guys were intimidated by the game or they were concerned about the game I think they were looking forward to it we were excited about the game. I thought there was energy and the mental space the boys were in leading into this particular game was spot-on was terrific. Just on the day we probably didn't execute, and Australia played better than us.