Rahul Dravid: The architect of the future of Indian Cricket
The unsung hero of Indian cricket began a new chapter in his life in 2015 when he was named the coach of the India A and Under-19 side. Rahul Dravid scored over 20,000 runs in his international career and acted as a backbone for the Indian side. He was recently inducted in the Hall of Fame of the ICC.
He averaged over 50 in Test match cricket and faced over 30,000 balls in the longest format of the game. One of his biggest traits was his down to Earth attitude. Dravid was against the disparity in the cash prize which was given by the BCCI on India’s triumph in the Under-19 World Cup in 2018.
He was initially awarded ₹50 lacs whereas the rest of the coaching staff was given ₹20 lacs each. His request of all the coaching staff being equally rewarded was accepted by the BCCI as they awarded all the coaching staff ₹25 lacs each which included Dravid as well.
Dravid always had a modest smile on his face during his time as a cricketer. This smile was seen on his face even after scoring a match-winning knock. That same smile was seen on his face after he led the young Indian colts to victory in the Under-19 World Cup in 2018.
Dravid has always been a selfless person who was always flexible to adapt to new roles whenever the team needed him. He even played as a wicketkeeper to accommodate an extra batsman in the team and also opened the innings with the bat when needed.
The coaching stint with the U-19 side
The humble man has led the young colts in recent years to make them a dominant force. Rahul Dravid started his coaching career with the India A team in 2015 where he registered back to back wins in tournaments against the likes of South Africa and Australia
A few of the games the Under-19 Indian side played under his guidance are as follows:
ICC Under 19 World Cup 2016
His first assignment in an ICC tournament as a coach was in the Under-19 World Cup in 2016 which took place in Bangladesh from the 22nd of January to the 14th of February. India began the tournament with dominating wins over teams like Nepal, New Zealand and Ireland to top Group D and qualify for the quarterfinals.
India cruised through the quarters and semis with dominant wins by 197 runs and 97 runs over Namibia and Sri Lanka respectively. The finals saw a disciplined bowling performance by the West Indies to restrict the Indians for 145 runs in 45 overs.
The Indian bowlers too bowled tight lines led by Mayank Dagar and Avesh Khan. This kept the game alive until the last over. West Indies prevailed and won the 2016 ICC Under-19 World Cup defeating India by 5 wickets.
Asia Cup 2016
After a decent show in the Under-19 World Cup, the side coached by Rahul Dravid put up yet another dominating show to win the Under 19 Asia Cup 2016. This tournament saw the rise of Shubman Gill who ended as the second highest run-scorer of the tournament. The bowling charts were topped by India’s Rahul Chahar who ended as the highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
England's tour of India
In December 2016 the young Indian colts continued their dominant run to register a 3-1 victory over England in the 50-over format. The Test match series ended in a 0-0 draw.
India's tour of England
The Indians thumped the Englishmen in their own backyard by whitewashing them in the 2 match Test series by 2-0. They won the first Test by 334 runs and the second Test by 97 runs. Similar results were seen in the ODI series where England didn’t stand a chance in front of the Indians losing as they were whitewashed 0-5 by the visitors.
Asia Cup 2017
The Asia Cup 2017 witnessed a big upset as the defending champions India was knocked out of the Asia Cup in the group stages after losing to Nepal and Bangladesh.
ICC Under-19 World Cup 2018
After getting knocked out of the Asia Cup in the group stages, the Indians had a lot to prove as they headed into the ICC Under-19 World Cup in 2018. The Colts didn’t disappoint their coach and registered back to back wins in the group stages to qualify for the quarterfinals.
The quarterfinals and semi-finals against Bangladesh and Pakistan saw India continue their dominant show as they proceeded into the finals of the World Cup. The finals between Australia and India saw a one-sided game where India thrashed the Aussies by 8 wickets to record their 4th win of the coveted Under-19 World Cup.
Youngsters honed by Rahul Dravid
A few of the players who have risen under the guidance of ‘The Wall’ are as follows:
1. Rishabh Pant – Rishabh Pant came to fame in the Under-19 World Cup in 2016 where he scored the fastest ever 50 in Under 19 cricket. His consistent performances with the bat for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL made way for him becoming a part of the Indian national team for all 3 formats of the game. Pant is known for his fearless attitude with the bat and has grown leaps and bounds in recent years to make a place for himself in all 3 formats of the game for India.
2. Khaleel Ahmed – The young left-arm pacer was a part of the side which ended as runners-up in the Under-19 World Cup in 2016. He didn’t have an impressive campaign in the World Cup as he could just pick up 3 wickets in 6 games at an average of 56.66.
Since then he has made great progress. He recently made his ODI debut for the Indian side in the Asia Cup. He performed really well in the ODI series against the Windies where he ended as the second highest wicket-taker picking up 7 wickets behind Kuldeep Yadav. He is currently challenging the likes of experienced bowlers such as Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami for a place in the senior side for the 2019 World Cup.
3. Shubman Gill – Shubman Gill is a player who is knocking at the doors of the Indian team with his consistent performances for Punjab, the India-A side and the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. He rose to fame in the 2018 Under-19 World Cup where India emerged as winners. This World Cup win couldn’t have been possible without the contribution of Gill who was named as the Player of the Tournament.
4. Prithvi Shaw – The young left-handed batsman led the young Indian side to victory in the 2018 Under-19 World Cup. He led the team from the front with the bat as well providing them with a strong start. He’s been compared to greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, and Virender Sehwag for his run-scoring form at such a young age.
His consistent performances for the Mumbai side in domestic cricket earned him a much deserved Test Cap against the West Indies where he got the best possible start to his career. He was named as the Player of the Series for his back to back performances in the Test Match series. He even notched up his first century in his very first innings of Test cricket.