“We will have to…” – Rahul Dravid makes big statement on Bazball after first Test loss

Ben Stokes, Rahul Dravid

India head coach Rahul Dravid spoke about the defeat the team suffered against England in the first Test against Hyderabad. He said they have to find ways to counter Bazball in the five-match series.

India suffered a disappointing 28-run defeat against England in the first test. The visitors batted and bowled sensationally well in the second innings and clinched the game. They made a great comeback after being down on the first two days and dominated days 3 and 4.

Ollie Pope was the main reason England won the game. The batsman played a magical innings of 196 runs and made the Indian spinners look clueless on the turning tracks. The main mantra behind his success was the sweeping shots he played.

Ollie Pope played sweeps and reverse sweeps to perfection and tackled the spinners well. He helped England take a lead of 230 runs when they were 190 runs behind. Then with the ball, Tom Hartley went through the Indian batting line-up and picked 7 wickets to help England surpass their opponents by 202 runs.

Rahul Dravid, while praising Ollie Pope, admitted that he had never seen batsmen perform sweeps, perfect reverse sweeps against quality spinners. Speaking to reporters at the press conference, he explained:

“We will have to counteract that (Bazball). I certainly haven’t seen that done (play sweeps, reverse sweeps)

consistently against that quality of bowlers. You’ve seen people try that before and play some exceptional innings. But to be able to play it so consistently and successfully without making so many mistakes, and maybe one or two odd mistakes, I probably haven’t seen it.

“Yes, especially the reverse sweep… I think the reverse sweep is something we’ve seen people employ in the past. But to be able to do a reverse sweep so consistently and successfully for so long, you know, I take my hat off to Pope.”

This is not the first time they have been challenged – Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid further said that Indian spinners need to be more disciplined with the ball. He, however, is optimistic about the comeback and states that this is not the first time the team has faced a challenge.

Rahul Dravid is aware that they need to come up with better plans and strategies for Ollie Pope in the next game. He said that his team must be meticulous with his execution in the next match. He elaborated:

“We have to be more disciplined about where we throw the ball. We will work on it and improve as we get some world-class spinners. It is not the first time they have been questioned. One of the good things about our spinners is that they always come back.

“But Pope really played an outstanding innings. And if someone does something exceptional, we will shake their hand and congratulate them. It is important that we respond. We need to come up with some plans and strategies and see how we can make him (Pope) play those shots from even more difficult lines.

“We need to be even more disciplined and meticulous with our execution because I thought our execution was a little off.

Hopefully, in the next Test match, if we can execute correctly, I hope he makes a mistake.”

The second Test match between India and England will be played from February 2 in Vizag. The Rohit Sharma-led team would hope to come back in the second game and level the series.