Rahul Dravid, fondly known as “The Wall”, has been recently appointed as the head coach of the Indian team for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka. He has been a mentor for IPL teams such as Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals in the past. Currently, he also serves as the director of NCA (National Cricket Academy) in Bangalore.
By mentoring junior players like Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill, Dravid has been instrumental in shaping their careers upwards and they went on to represent India. In this article, we will discuss his achievements as a coach.
Stint as a mentor of Rajasthan Royals (RR)
Rahul Dravid retired from International Cricket in January 2012. He became a mentor as well as captained RR till 2013 after which he retired as cricketer. He officially took the role of a mentor for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2014. RR finished 5th in IPL 2014 and missed out narrowly on playoffs due to net run-rate. In IPL 2015 though, RR finished 3rd on the points table but lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the eliminator.Embed from Getty Images
Promotion as India head coach for 2016 ICC U-19 World Cup
Dravid was called for coaching India in the 2016 U-19 World Cup which was held in Bangladesh. India finished as runner-up in that tournament. India incumbents like Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar and current standbys like Ishan Kishan were unearthed from that tournament. Rishabh Pant scored 267 runs in 6 matches at an average of 44.50 with 1 hundred and 2 fifties. Pant also had the highest batting strike rate in top-10 run-getters, striking at 104.29.
“Sir (Dravid) has known me since the India U-19 days and knows my strengths and weaknesses inside out and guides me accordingly. This is where the role of a mentor is very important. To be honest, there is no denying the importance of a good coach as he keeps telling you about your game. Rahul sir for me is more than a coach, sort of a mentor, who not only fine tunes my technique but also helps me develop a positive mindset.”Rishabh Pant on association with Rahul Dravid since U-19 World Cup held in 2016
Ishan Kishan meanwhile was the captain of the India U-19 team which was adjudged runner-up after losing to West Indies in the final.
“Dravid is such a humble person. It was very nice to work with him. He made sure he appreciated us whenever we performed well. Sir comes to us individually, he helped us learn a lot. He is very, very calm and doesn’t lose his temper. Even if we make mistakes, he just lets us know them and makes us aware of our negatives.”Ishan Kishan on association with Rahul Dravid since U-19 World Cup held in 2016
Mentor of Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2016 and IPL 2017
Dravid was appointed the mentor of Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) for IPL 2016 and IPL 2017 but had little success. However, after his conflict of interest issue arising for IPL and international commitments, he chose the latter and put a halt to his IPL mentoring. He continued to be a coach for India-A teams and India U-19 teams.Embed from Getty Images
Finally, success comes through perseverance for Rahul Dravid
The 2018 U-19 Indian Team made Rahul Dravid proud when it won its 4th U-19 World Cup since its inception in 2000. Finally, Dravid won one ICC Trophy, that too as a head coach! Opener Shubman Gill was the highest run-scorer for India in that World Cup and 2nd overall. He scored 372 runs in 6 matches at a batting average of 124 with 1 hundred and 3 fifties. Amongst the top-10 run-getters, he had the highest batting strike rate of 112.38.
Their captain, Prithvi Shaw also had a productive tournament, scoring 261 runs in 6 matches at an average of 65.25 with 2 fifties. He was the 9th highest run-getter and 2nd highest from India.
“We toured together with sir (Dravid) before the World Cup (U19) also. He never forced any player to be like him. He didn’t change anything in batting. Told me to stick to my natural game. He knew if I play the Powerplay overs, then it’s difficult to get me out.
Sir mostly talked about the mental aspect, tactics, and how to approach a game. He never spoke much – just during meetings. Wanted us to enjoy the game. If we are repeating mistakes then only he’ll come and tell you about it.
With Rahul sir, you have to be disciplined. We were a little scared of him. Off the field, he was quite friendly with us, used to join us for dinner, sitting with a legend like him was a dream come true. Every youngster dreams of that.”Prithvi Shaw on association with Rahul Dravid since U-19 World Cup held in 2018
On the other hand, Player of the Tournament, Shubman Gill said that Dravid always worked on batsman’s mentality rather than on the technique.
“Rahul sir never asks a player to change his technique or way of playing, rather he tries to make the player mentally strong. He tells you to analyze the game and play well in difficult situations.”Shubman Gill on association with Rahul Dravid since U-19 World Cup held in 2018
Head Coach of Indian Cricket Team
Rahul Dravid was made head coach of the Indian Cricket Team for the upcoming Limited Overs series against Sri Lanka in July 2021. Though few regular members are there, deserving uncapped youngsters like Nitish Rana, Chetan Sakariya and Mumbai Indians leg-spinner Rahul Chahar got a chance to prove their mettle.
Rahul Dravid and Shikhar Dhawan
Rahul Dravid has mentored so many young cricketers since 2015 and has been instrumental in sending many of them to the senior team’s plane. A good coach’s hallmark is to support talented players through thick and thin and this is something that Dravid has mastered perfectly.
I’m a mechanical engineer and I’ve been writing articles related to cricket on Quora since 2017. I’ve got more than 2.5 million views on my answers and have got close to 600 followers. Apart from writing on cricket, I’ve also played club cricket for close to 2 years.