NEW DELHI: Former India captain Rahul Dravid believes it's great for Indian cricket that skipper Virat Kohli values Test format and wants the team to excel in the traditional format of the game.
In the latest episode of ESPNcricinfo Videocast, Dravid talks to ricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar about moving on from his cricketing days, the future of defensive batting and Cheteshwar Pujara's ability as a Test batsman.
Commenting on the pressure faced by todays cricketers in the T20 format and how is it as compared to pressure in a Test match, Rahul says, "If you were to talk about the stress levels or pressure of a particular moment, then yes it's a lot more in T20 format. To get there and hit sixes from ball one, requires practice and skill."
"But if you're talking about pressure as a whole, the fact is that you have to play for five days in a Test Match. And I think that is pressure. There is no running away from that. In any other format you can get away, but in a Test match you go out and bat, then you watch you team bat then you watch the opposition bat and you have a lot of time to think. So I think pressure in a Test match is at a different level."
Rahul believes that all formats of the game require different skill sets and one has to value what some of the cricketers do at the T20 level. "Look at Andre Russell (WI origin). He is a strong man, but then there is a skill element to him too. You can't just put any strong man there and get him to bat like that. So the T20 format of cricket also requires certain energy and skill set.
"The only difference between T20 cricket and Test cricket is that in T20 format you can get away with a lot more. But if you have glaring weaknesses, you cannot survive in Test cricket. In T20 format you have a specific role, and if you can perform well in that role, you can be successful."
However, Rahul doesn't believe that the number of players that want to play all formats of the game is shrinking every year. "Test batsmanship is a lot more exciting and positive now than it's been ever before. We are scoring at a quicker rate. See, Test batsmanship is not only defensive batsmanship, it's got to be defensive and aggressive and the aggressive element of the Test batsmanship is welcome."
"Going forward we want to see more runs scored, people are playing more shots even in Test cricket which is fantastic. One of the great things for India is that Virat Kohli values Test cricket. He is always talking about it. I think he understands that the real respect for him as a cricketer will come through his success in Test cricket and I think that's a great role model for our young cricketers. I would like to see wickets keep getting challenging, a good balance between bat and ball and I think people will get excited by seeing that."
He adds, "I work with a lot of younger players. And when they start off their heroes are Kohli or Kane Williamson or (Steve) Smith. They want to play all the formats of the game. But some of the less talented or less skillful players realize that its difficult to break into a team with Kohli or Pujara or (Ajinkya) Rahane.
"But they know that if they practice their white ball cricket, they can definitely get into an IPL team and make a living. And this thought today probably creeps in a lot earlier than in the previous generation of cricketers. But superstars will always want to play all the formats of the game."
He points out, "What budding players or kids lack today is enough time to practice their skills."
The former India captain agrees that boys should play all three formats of the game and then figure the most suitable format of choice and continue their journey. IANS