With Team India getting knocked out of the Asia Cup 2022 from the Super 4 stage, former India cricketer Saba Karim has claimed that Head Coach Rahul Dravid understands that his honeymoon period is over but things havent gone as per his plans.

Karim – the cricketer-turned-commentator – believes the coming assignments are going to be very crunch for the head coach for he would like to get positive results in the upcoming ICC T20 WC 2022 and ODI World Cup in 2023.

Speaking exclusively on SPORTS18’s daily sports news show ‘SPORTS OVER THE TOP’, the former India selector also spoke about Dravid’s expectations from Team India.

“Well even Rahul Dravid is aware that the honeymoon period is over, and he is trying his best to be an alchemist but so far, such metals haven’t been converted into core. One would expect him to do that. This is crunch time for Rahul Dravid. With the World Cup T20 coming up, next year the ODI World Cup coming up. These two big ICC events, if India can win both these championships then only Rahul Dravid will be satisfied with the kind of inputs he has given to team India,” said Karim.

Karim also spoke about India’s combination leading up to the T20 World Cup as the Rohit Sharma and Co. – who were the overwhelming favourite in the Asia Cup 2022 – failed to defend the title as they suffered back-to-back defeats against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Speaking about India’s team combination in Asia Cup as well as the team’s balance, the former wicketkeeper-batter said, “Yes, even I was quite perplexed because I thought before heading into the Asia Cup, India have sorted their combination. But I can understand that they were hard done by the injuries to Jasprit Bumrah, Harshal Patel, and then as recent as injury to Ravindra Jadeja. But having said that, once you get the combination right you can always replace that with the resources you have in hand. For instance, India has had a very successful T20 campaign starting from the home series against South Africa by sticking to 5 bowlers plus a sixth bowling option in Hardik Pandya, that’s the kind of combination India has gone ahead with, and India has won quite well at home against South Africa, in England even West Indies. And I don’t know for what reason India straight from that path in the game after the first win against Pakistan, India straight from that path and played with 5 bowlers including Hardik Pandya as a 5th bowling option and I think that he put too much of undue pressure on the rest of the bowling unit.”

Speaking about the inconsistent results under Dravid’s coaching, Karim said the former India captain would take Test series wins in SENA countries over the bilateral white-ball series wins on any given day.

“If given an option Rahul Dravid would love to have those Test series win in South Africa and the last Test match in England. He would love to swap that with so many bilateral wins that India has got under his belt. But that’s the nature of the challenges which Rahul Dravid has to face. See Rahul is sensible and intelligent enough to understand that the only way he can define a successful tenure of his coaching career is if India – number one, wins ICC events and number two it starts to win Test series in SENA countries. I’m not talking about Test wins. Test wins even while Rahul Dravid was playing, India has done that. But more importantly, when India starts to win in SENA countries, the test series, that’s when Rahul Dravid will be very happy with team India’s performance,” he added further.