India suffered a big setback when their pace spearhead Bumrah was ruled out of their final preparatory series against South Africa due to stress fracture in his lower back.
“We are awaiting the official confirmation on the next steps. As of now, he’s officially ruled out of this (SA) series. But we will see what happens over the next few days,” Dravid told reporters on the eve of the second T20I against South Africa.
Usually a stress fracture in the back takes about six months to heal completely but Dravid said they are still “hopeful”.
“Honestly, I’ve not gone deeply into the medical reports, I rely on the experts to tell me what it is. They ruled him out for this series and he’s being assessed. We will know in due course what happens in the future,” the 49-year-old said.
“Obviously till he’s completely ruled out, and we get an official confirmation that he’s ruled out, we will always be hopeful. We will always hope for the best just for us as a team and Jasprit as an individual.”
Bumrah, who has been out of action since the India tour of England in July, had recently made a comeback during the home T20I series against Australia but the 28-year-old has been forced to head back to the National Cricket Academy for rehab again.
Bumrah’s spate of injuries, despite his workload being carefully looked after by the think-tank, has become a matter of debate.
Bumrah played all the 14 IPL matches for his franchise Mumbai Indians and since then he only featured in six Internationals in four months.
Doing rehab at the NCA, Bumrah made a comeback in the preceding Australia series where he played two matches and travelled with the team to Thiruvananthapuram for the 1st T20I against South Africa only to be ruled out ahead of the game.
“To a large extent we manage to get everything. Not everything will be perfect. It happens, it’s part and parcel of the game, we are not the only team which suffers from injuries.
“Obviously if they happen closer to big tournaments they can upset your plans a little bit. Everyone is making good efforts to minimise the injuries as much as possible,” Dravid defended their workload management.
The workload management and their experiments in the build-up to the World Cup may have come in for a lot of criticism but Dravid chose to keep away from the “noise”.
“I know there is a little bit of noise from the outside but in the group, communication has been very good and there’s clarity. It’s a bit unrealistic to expect us to keep playing the same guys over and over again, sometimes they are forced upon you — like Bumrah.
“We played the same XI against South Africa in June if you remember, and people kept saying why don’t they change. But in the group we’re very sure of what we are doing.
“Sometimes, there are a lot of things people won’t know from outside, what are the niggles, how we are going to manage, how we are preparing for a Test when there’s a series in Ireland. It’s hard to just explain.”
There has been a lot of debate on who is going to replace Bumrah if he is officially ruled out as only two weeks are left for their World Cup warm-up fixture against Australia.
But Dravid said they are in their comfort zone, having got all the skill sets for different conditions and rival sides in Australia.
“We are quite comfortable that we have got all the skills that allow us to play different combinations and different kinds of XIs based on the wickets and oppositions. That’s really important in a World cup when you play in 4-5 different venues.
“You need to have that little bit of versatility and flexibility in your squad that allows you to change things.
“Over the last few series, we probably have not been able to play that squad due to a variety of reasons. But most of the guys in the 15 now have had a pretty decent amount of cricket in the last six months.”
Dravid said they have absolute clarity on the roles assigned to each of the players in the World Cup-bound squad.
“Within the group, within the team, we have been pretty clear about the kind of combinations we want, the kind of players that we are likely to play in the XI. You can’t pick an XI months in advance, you don’t know the wicket, and what it’s like.
“We have been pretty clear about the skills we want in the 15. For me, that is really important. The kind of squad we pick to the World cup, barring injuries, what were the skills that we are looking for, different kinds of bowlers, certain batting skills, we have been very clear about.”
Happy with Harshal progress
Having returned to action after overcoming a rib injury, death overs specialist Harshal Patel has leaked runs in the series against Australia.
But Dravid was happy with his progress.
“We’re very happy with the way he’s progressing. He bowled a phenomenal last over against Australia in Hyderabad. The more and more games he plays, the better for him. He’s really a mentally strong cricketer,” he said.
“He has been phenomenal for the franchise he plays in, even in international cricket he has played some good spells. He’s preparing really well, he’s practising really hard.”