India head coach Rahul Dravid believes that workload management is an important aspect of cricket, a challenge which he feels every cricketing nation is recognising. He firmly emphasised on workload management to keep players fit and fresh ahead of big tournaments.
Dravid's first assignment as the head coach is the three-match T20I series against New Zealand, starting from Wednesday.
"Workload management is an important aspect of cricket, given the amount of cricket we are playing. We see that in football as well, when big players don't play every match in long seasons. If we play all around the year, we have to manage their workload, be it be inside the team or by giving them a break. The mental and physical well-being of players will be a big priority," said Dravid in the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
"We need to do a balancing act at a time like this and work towards getting everyone fit and ready for the big tournaments. It's not only us who's doing that. If you see Kane Williamson, who is not playing this T20I series, every country is recognising the importance of these things. Everyone is doing that. It is not only us who are facing this challenge," added Dravid.
Apart from managing the workload, Dravid mentioned about paying attention to the mental and physical health of the cricketers while insisting that playing separate teams for different formats is not on cards.
"We are not at that point of looking at separate teams for different formats. Of course, there are individuals who play only particular formats. For me, the mental and physical health of players is the-most important in these times. It will certainly be in conversation with them. I would like to work with them to ensure that whenever they are playing, we have them fresh and are fully switched on. These are challenging times, especially for those guys who are expected to play all formats of the game.
"No, we don't priorities formats at all. I think all the three formats are critically important. For us, there is not going to be any let-up on the way we prepare or plan for any of the three formats. Obviously, in the next two years, there are two or three ICC events - the T20 World Cup, the 50-over World Cup and World Test Championship. We need to prepare for those events. For me, it is just about constantly improving every day, and keeping getting better as players and people. Then we should be fine," he said.
Dravid believes that New Zealand, the current Test champions, can't be called underdogs all the time. "They are a very good side, make no mistake about it. You don't need me to say that. Their performances over the last few years have been exceptional. It's almost become fashionable to keep calling them underdogs in every tournament but that narrative has certainly changed over the last few years. From outside, they might be called outsiders but teams internally know that they are always going to be one of the top contenders in any tournament they play."
"They are a very good team, well-planned, well-led and well-prepared. They have beaten India recently in big tournaments but therein lies a really good opportunity for us to keep improving and keep getting better. Hopefully, if we get an opportunity in a big tournament next time, we will put one over them."