Late last year, when it was announced that Indian cricketing legend Rahul Dravid had been appointed by the BCCI as the coach of the India U-19 and India ‘A’ teams respectively, the news was received with much elation and excitement. Cricket fans in India were thrilled to know that Dravid – known as much for his gentlemanly demeanor as he was for his exemplary batting prowess – would now be leading the future stars of Indian cricket.
And within a few months, Dravid has made his mark. The U-19 team has been performing well consistently and up until the loss in finals of the U-19 World Cup, they had won everything prior to it. Apart from this fantastic feat, Dravid has also had an immediate positive connect with the young colts. The players are responding very well to him, and he is inculcating a culture of discipline and an environment of positivity and selflessness in the team. The 43-year-old ex-Indian batting genius has been encouraging the players to perform to their best potential and the results seem to be encouraging thus far. Hence, it has to be said, that the BCCI’s decision to give Dravid the coaching mantle was indeed a laudable one and which should serve Indian cricket very well in the long run.
Now here, we have attempted to analyze five ways in which Rahul ‘The Wall’ Dravid is helping transform the young cricketing blood in India.
Handling Pressure: There was moment in the famous Test match in Adelaide between India and Australia back in 2003, when Rahul Dravid, whilst batting, closed his eyes for a few seconds, mumbling something incoherent, and then faced up to the bowler. He repeated this tactic quite a few times in his epic match-winning knock of 233 against the Aussies in their own backyard. It was later known that Dravid was in fact meditating because the pressure out in the middle was simply immense. Now that Dravid is the coach of the U-19 and India ‘A’ sides, who better there could be for them than Dravid to teach them the ways to handle and soak in pressure. The players, by their own admission, have accepted that Dravid’s words are helping them in playing with a settled mind. Spending more time with him and learning more about pressure-cooker like situations will only further help them in their careers.
Dealing with loss: The Indian U-19 team lost the finals of the recently concluded World Cup. Although they were heartbroken after the match, coach Dravid’s sagacious and soothing words surely helped them cope with the loss. “There’s a learning in everything. I think in their long journeys as cricketers they are going to face a lot of ups and downs, see lot of success, hopefully face disappointments as well. This is a learning. If we can learn some lessons from it and if they can go on to become better cricketers and better people, that’s really the purpose of the tournament,” Dravid was quoted as saying to an English daily after the loss in the finals. Dravid, who has seen the faces of both victory and loss many a times, surely knows how to keep it balanced in both the scenarios and how to accept both gracefully. The current team, after the loss, would be highly grateful to the man for being there for them.
Technical aspects: Yes, when you have such a technical genius in your team as a coach there are so many things that you can learn. The batsmen from the U-19 and India ‘A’ squads would relish the opportunity to hone their skills under Dravid’s tutelage. However, having spent a great part of his career facing the best of bowlers, Dravid would also be imparting some fine details about the art of bowling to the players.
World cricket education: Dravid has scored bucketful of runs in every cricket playing nation and on a variety of pitches. His knowledge of world cricket, be it the pitches, the size of grounds, and the atmosphere in various cricketing nations and how to deal with them, is simply humongous. Bestowing this experience among his young colts is what Rahul Dravid would be doing currently which would be extremely vital for their progress in international cricket.
Fair cricket: If ever there was an example of a ‘true gentleman cricketer’, it was Rahul Dravid. He exemplified the fact that cricket is indeed a gentleman’s game. His virtues of being honest, being sporting, being loyal and being fair to the game are well-known. Now, these traits would be seeped in by the boys from the U-19 and India ‘A’ teams as well. Just being under him, observing him and listening to him should be enough for the young cricketers to take in these attributes from the legend.
In all, one has to say that there couldn’t have been better news for Indian cricket when Rahul Dravid was appointed as the coach for the India U-19 and India ‘A’ teams. He is an ocean of experience and is the perfect role model for any aspiring cricketer. That he is now handling the reins of India’s future stars like Sarfaraz Khan, Rishabh Pant, Avesh Khan and Anmolpreet Singh, among a host of others, and that they are already benefitting from him, shows that India’s cricketing fortunes are indeed bright.