India head coach Rahul Dravid said that he is happy that there is a lot of competition for places in the Test team and he hopes that this continues to be the cause and the players cause the team management selection “headaches”. India beat New Zealand by a record 372 runs at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday in the second Test to take a 1-0 series win.

It is India’s 14th consecutive series win at home. While debutant Shreyas Iyer scored a century and a half century in the first Test, Mayank Agarwal, who has struggled to hold on to his spot at the top of the order with the emergence of Shubman Gill and re-emergence of KL Rahul, scored a 150 in the first innings of the second Test and a half century in the second.

“Great to see the boys stepping up and taking their opportunities. Yes, we were missing a few senior players. Credit to the guys who came in, Jayant had a difficult day yesterday, but learnt from it today. Mayank, Shreyas, Siraj, who doesn’t get a lot of opportunities. Axar, great to see his development with the bat in addition to what he can do with the ball. It gives us a lot of options as well, helps us become a stronger side,” said Dravid after the match.

“It’s a good situation to be in, we’ve had injuries in the lead-up, so we need to manage our players physically and mentally, it’s going to be a large part of my challenge, challenge too for the selectors and the leadership group. It’s a good [selection] headache to have, see young boys perform well.

“There’s a great desire to do well and great depth in the squad and everyone’s pushing each other. I hope we have more headaches to have, and I hope we have more of that later. At times we are going to have to take difficult decisions but that is just the way it is. As long as we have clear communication and we explain to the players why, don’t see it to be a problem,” he said.

Dravid said that while the result of the second Test may seem one-sided – this is India’s highest margin of victory in terms of runs scored – India were tested throughout the series and it was good to see the players fightback whenever they were down.

“I think it was good to finish the series as winners, came close in Kanpur, not able to get that last wicket there and had to work really hard here. This result seems one-sided, but right through the series, we were made to work hard. There have been phases where we were behind and had to fight back, credit to the team,” he said.

New Zealand were all out for 62, which is the lowest total for any team against India in Test cricket, but India did not enforce the follow-on. Dravid said that the team never considered enforcing the follow on.

“We knew we had a lot of time, didn’t think much of the follow-on, also a lot of young batters in the side, so wanted to give them a chance to bat in conditions like these. We had a red soil wicket here with turn and bounce and we knew we may be in such situations in the future where we may have to force pace with the turning ball in the fourth of fifth day. It was good to see the boys being tested in this manner.

“Yesterday, Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson created problems with short pitched bowling. So it was a great opportunity to have the guys get some more practice in the middle with conditions that even we in India are not able to find often. Was great to help in the development of our players. We knew we had a lot of time to get them out and to be honest we still have a lot of time left,” he said.


India today

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