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IND vs NZ 2022-23, 3rd ODI: 'Not that I am aware of India adopting split captaincy' - Rahul Dravid

IND vs NZ 2022-23: India will take on New Zealand in the final Indore ODI on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Rahul Dravid was asked if India would adopt the split captaincy formula, which he firmly denied.

On Monday, India head coach Rahul Dravid denied that his team had adopted split captaincy. Since India's unceremonious semifinal exit from the ICC T20 World Cup last year, there has been speculation over the future of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in the shortest format. The three have yet to feature in any Twenty20 (T20) game since the World Cup semifinal against England in November, missing the series against New Zealand and Sri Lanka. They will also miss the three games against the Black Caps starting this week. In Rohit's absence, Hardik Pandya has led the Indian T20 side and is also seen as the front-runner to captain the team in the 2024 T20WC.

"Not that I am aware of [India adopting split captaincy]. That's a question you need to ask the selectors, but as of now, I don't think so," Dravid said at the pre-match press conference ahead of the third and final ODI between India and New Zealand. Earlier this month, Dravid himself had called for patience as the Indian T20 team goes through a rebuilding phase, hinting that it could be the end of the road for the likes of Kohli, Rohit and Rahul.

However, Rohit maintains that he has yet to consider his T20 future. "We have three T20Is against New Zealand. We will see what happens after IPL [Indian Premier League]. I have not decided to give up the format," Rohit had said earlier this month.


Preparatory camp ahead of Border Gavaskar Trophy
With the build-up to the all-important four-match Test series against Australia clashing with the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals, no squad member will be released to play in the domestic marquee tournament. The Indian Test players are slated to join a preparatory camp starting February 2, while the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals are slated for January 31.

"We would like the boys to play, but it is a tough one for us. I think the quarters are on the 31st or 1st, and the build-up to Border-Gavaskar is at the same time," Dravid said. But, the coach added that there might be scope to release players during the semifinals and final, depending upon the situation.

"Obviously, in the build-up to a big tournament like that, we won't be able to release any players, but when the series starts, and an opportunity presents itself where someone is not playing and is required in the semifinal or final, then we will certainly look at it. We have already agreed that the selectors will not be touching anyone playing the quarterfinal of the Ranji Trophy," stated Dravid.


"Want to give game time to players who are, in our scheme of things"
With the series already in the bag, the third ODI against New Zealand is a formality. Still, Dravid sees it as an opportunity to provide valuable experience to his players. "It's not a formality. We can give the guys sitting outside in our plans some game time," he reckoned.

"It is important to win matches and series, but you also have to give enough experience to your squad. So that when there is an injury to someone, those players can play in big tournaments. So it's nice that we have the opportunity, but this match is not a formality," Dravid concluded.

"Key players will compete in IPL unless there are injury concerns"
Indian cricketers who are in the scheme of things for the 2023 ICC World Cup will compete in the IPL unless there are injury concerns and the workload of seniors like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma is being managed as one white-ball format takes precedence over the other, said head coach Rahul Dravid on Monday.


According to BCCI's new policy, the workloads of key players will be monitored during this year's IPL by the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru and the franchisees considering the 50-over CWC at home in October-November. "Workload management is part and parcel of the game today. We keep reviewing these things. You will call the break we gave to some of our boys [Rohit, Virat, KL] in the T20 series as workload management," Dravid answered a query from PTI during a media conference ahead of the 3rd ODI against New Zealand.

"Injury management and workload management are two different things. We have to keep balancing the two based on the priority for us in the short term considering the amount of cricket we play and ensuring that we have our big players available for us in the big tournaments," added Dravid.

Dravid added that "targeted" players for the CWC will play the IPL to help them assess their T20 skills. "In terms of the IPL, the NCA and our medical team are constantly in touch with the franchises, and if there are any issues or injuries, we connect with them. Unless the players are injured, or there are other concerns, then the BCCI has the right to pull them out," he mentioned.

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"But, if they are fit, we release them for the IPL because it's an important tournament. It is a huge tournament for the BCCI in terms of our preparation for the 2024 T20 World Cup. It is important as it helps us assist the performances of our players in the specific T20 format," continued Dravid.

After going through an extended lean patch, Kohli returned to form in last year's Asia Cup and continued his excellent run at the T20WC. Still, the batting maestro, skipper Rohit, and KL Rahul have yet to feature in a single T20 game since the marquee event in Australia. The trio is set to miss the T20 series against New Zealand starting next week. But Dravid feels the break is needed before the two-week camp ahead of the all-important Test series against Australia starting next month.

"You need to play certain white-ball tournaments in certain stages of time. Playing the four matches of the Border Gavaskar for a potential WTC qualification is important. There were some white ball tournaments we had to prioritise after T20 WC. Virat has played all six games [ODIs]. He will get some break along with Rohit and some other guys and then come back refreshed on February 2 for a two-week camp ahead of Tests," Dravid concluded.

(With inputs from PTI)