It might be close to a decade since Rahul Dravid exited international cricket, but his legacy continues to live on in the game through the next set of India international players.
As a new-look Indian team clinched a historic win on Tuesday, beating Australia at Brisbane to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, praise around Dravid, India’s former captain and one of their most celebrated Test batsmen, started to do the rounds on social media.
With some of its most prominent names missing from action, an injury-beleaguered Indian team had to field some of its fringe players in the Test series, but the replacement options proved to be the right fit for the red-ball challenge, despite their limited to no experience playing Test cricket.
After the win, “Rahul Dravid” started to trend on Twitter in India, as fans thanked the 48-year-old for his pivotal role in helping the fresh set of Test players get ready for international cricket, as part of his larger role in shaping Indian cricket’s next breed of players.
After he retired from Test cricket in March 2012, Dravid was associated for an additional year with Rajasthan Royals as player-cum-coach, possibly his first step towards taking on a full-fledged coaching role in the Indian setup. After acting as a mentor to the Royals, he joined the Indian team as a batting consultant on away tours, before being named the coach of India’s U19 and ‘A’ teams in 2015.
Over the last half a decade, Dravid has worked closely with India’s upcoming youngsters, starting with the batch of the U19 World Cup in 2016, which featured the likes of Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar and Khaleel Ahmed, among others, to the victorious U19 bunch of 2018, two of whose biggest stars – Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw – were part of the title-winning India squad in Australia.
Along the way, he has also helped hone the talents of India’s A group, which act as a conveyor belt for channelling potential players towards the national side, and has played a crucial role in the career progress of Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson and Navdeep Saini, to name a few.
Even as his pupils, Pant, Sundar and Gill, played a big part in India’s Gabba triumph, social media hailed the role of Dravid, who is now the director of India’s National Cricket Academy.
As someone said on WhatsApp: We have to also give credit to Rahul Dravid for grooming our youths in the India A setup. Players like Gill, Siraj, Sundar, and Thakur had an instant impact! #IndiavsAustralia #IndianCricketTeam
— Jarshad NK (@jarshadnk) January 19, 2021
Real man of the series – Rahul Dravid. Building such a great bench strength through India A. Moulded in his personality – grit, resilience and immense self belief!!
— Mandar Dandekar (@MandarDandekar) January 19, 2021
In an office at the NCA in Bangalore, Rahul Dravid must be watching and feeling proud of the India A and India U19 programs he's developed, which gave India their depth.
Then, he'll quietly get back to work planning the next series.
— Snehal Pradhan (@SnehalPradhan) January 19, 2021
…after being racially abused and sledged and their morale 'scuffed up' like batting marks can display such superhuman resilience, spunk and skill in a hostile away series with a World Test Championship at stake. And apart from the players, hats off to Rahul Dravid for…
— Srijit Mukherji (@srijitspeaketh) January 19, 2021
If India is still able to put out a reasonable team, we should applaud the 'A' tours over the last 3-4 years. Without them, the gap between fc and international cricket would have been very tough to bridge. Quiet thanks to Rahul Dravid too for the finishing school he has been.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 15, 2021
Well done @Sundarwashi5 Rahul Dravid told me in Bangladesh during U19 WC that he was the man to watch with bat.. was speaking of temperament .. and Sunda showing it now .. he was 16 then . Congratulations 👏
— Russel Arnold (@RusselArnold69) January 17, 2021
We just cannot forget what Rahul Dravid has done with our younger players. We're wondering how can they be so resilient in their 1st or 2nd matches! Let's not forget they've been trained & mentored by Dravid. Who's still serving Indian cricket like none other! 🇮🇳🏏 https://t.co/sz5RPfPQF9
— Sohini (@Mittermaniac) January 17, 2021
Brilliant fighting 50s for @imShard & @Sundarwashi5. See it this way. India are holding their own at the Gabba with fully a 2nd string attack & lower batting order. Such amazing depth Rahul Dravid’s mentoring has built.
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) January 17, 2021
— Dr. Smriti (@dentist_chick) January 19, 2021