India recently registered a historic Test series win over Sri Lanka on their soil to end their 22-year long drought of victory on the island. The Virat Kohli-led Indian team also became the first to come back from behind and win a three-match Test series in a foreign land. But the youngsters were not that comfortable playing the Lankan spin attack, feels India A coach Rahul Dravid.
Tharindu Kaushal and Rangana Herath ran through the Indian batting line-up in the first Test match at Galle pretty easily. India could have won that game as well, but unfortunately none of the batsmen could withstand the pressure and threw their wickets away.
"We are not bad players of spin suddenly, but maybe the fact that these boys play a lot of T20 cricket, where the value of the single is not so much, and you can play big shots means that the ability to create the single like VVS Laxman or Mohammad Azharuddin is a skill that needs to be worked on," Dravid said in an interview to ESPN Cricinfo.
"In terms of shot-making ability against spin, this generation is incredible. The shots they play against spin, like stepping out and hitting sixes, and some of the creativity, is terrific. They have got that. One of the areas that could be a concern for Indian cricket is that there is a lack of balance; people are either defending or hitting big shots and it easy to set fields to that as you can set in-out fields," he said.
Dravid also asked the youngsters to focus on rotating strikes and constructing partnerships in the longer format of the international game. That would help them deal with a tricky situation in near future in Test cricket, feels the former Indian captain.
"The ability to rotate the strike and construct a partnership when people have put men on the boundary line, and not hitting cover or point all the time, being able to hit to long-on or long-off and playing risk-free cricket, and building an innings against spin on tracks that are slow and turn a bit - I think that's a skill that needs to be worked on and developed, because a lot of the young batsmen are either defending or trying to hit big shots, and there is no in-between.
"That puts pressure on you because in a high-pressure situation, it becomes hard to play a really big shot and if you keep blocking balls, the pressure builds up on you," Dravid said.