“I don’t agree that we played with fear. We had 80 runs in 10 overs. We lost wickets, and when you lose wickets you have to change your strategy,” Dravid said in the post-match press conference.
Rohit Sharma’s 31-ball 47 had India on its way, as the team reached 80 at the end of the power play. But they only managed four boundaries during the rest of the innings to eventually finish on 240. Dravid attributed the slowdown to losing wickets at regular intervals, not a lack of intent.
“We didn’t play any scary cricket in that final. In the middle overs, they bowled really well and we lost three wickets. So there needed to be a period of consolidation, and every time we thought we could attack, we were going to lose a wicket,” he said. “If you lose a wicket, you have to rebuild. We didn’t plan to play defensively.”
While Australia eventually reached the target with seven overs to spare and six wickets in hand, Dravid believed the match could have been played differently had India got 30-40 extra runs on a surface he believed would have been difficult to bat on in the afternoon. .
“I felt like the ball stopped a little more in the afternoon than it did in the evening. I felt like the ball got to the bat a lot better in the evening. There was that period where the ball stopped and we just couldn’t put out boundaries. We managed to rotate the strike but we couldn’t get those boundaries.
“If we had gotten to 280-290 and they were 60 for 3, it might have been a completely different game. But 240, I think they were always one partnership away from getting there.”
“I’ve been in three games… and I thought we didn’t play really well that day. I thought we were a bit short in Adelaide, in the semi-final.” [of the T20 World Cup, against England]. We lost the first day of the World Test Championship [final]. We didn’t play well after Australia trailed by three goals. And here we did not hit well enough.
“There’s no specific reason you can put it down to. At no point in this game did I feel like there were any nerves or that the players were afraid of the game. I thought the energy and mental space that the boys had was there in leading this particular game. “It’s fine.”
“I think he was an exceptional leader, and he always felt he led this team wonderfully. He gave a lot of his time and energy in the boys’ locker room. There was a lot of planning, a lot of strategy, and he was always committed to those things.”
“His batting as well, I thought was fantastic the way he set the tone for us. We knew we wanted to play a certain way, we wanted to play a positive, attacking brand of cricket, and he was very committed to doing that. “He wanted to set an example, and I think he was Great throughout the tournament. “I couldn’t praise him more as a person and a leader.”
If this is Dravid’s last post-match press conference as coach, it won’t be easy to talk about; Dravid, who walked towards the press conference room even as Australia was handing over winners’ medals, admitted that emotions were running high in the Indian dressing room.
“There was a lot of emotion in the locker room. It was hard to see that as a coach, because I know how hard these guys worked, what they gave, the sacrifices they made. But that’s sports. It happens. It can happen. The best team won in That day. I’m sure the sun will rise tomorrow morning. We’ll learn from it, we’ll reflect, and we’ll move forward. That’s what you do as athletes. You have some great successes in sports, and you have some failures in sports. And you keep moving forward. Do not stop.”
Yash Jha is a multi-platform content producer and presenter for ESPNcricinfo