One of the most respected figures in world cricket, Rahul Dravid's stature in the gentlemen's game is beyond words and his importance is weighed in no less than gold. After failing to lift the coveted world cup trophy as a player, the 45-year old completed the circle of life by getting his hands around the silverware as a 'head coach' on Saturday. Dravid's young brigade created history by beating Australia by eight wickets to lift their record fourth ICC U-19 world title at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui.
Earlier, Dravid had missed out on the elusive World Cup trophy on two occasions - once as a player in 2003 (losing against Australia) and another as coach of the U-19 team in 2016 (losing against West Indies). Speaking after India's sensational triumph, Dravid hoped that it won't just be "one memory" that would define this talented bunch of cricketers as a bigger and more challenging journey awaits them.
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"It's a memory they'll cherish for a long time and hopefully it's not a memory that defines them and they will have a lot bigger and better memories as they go on ahead in their careers," 'The Wall' said after win.
Dravid spoke about the effort that the entire batch put on for the last 14 month, which bore fruit.
"I am really proud of the boys, proud of the effort that they have put in and proud of the support staff as well. I think the effort we have put in over the last 14 months have been sensational. They really deserved this, couldn't be really happier and proud for this bunch of boys," the legendary batsman said.
He was always aware that the since this was an U-19 team, the spotlight will always be on him but as usual, he was magnanimous in praising the entire support staff comprising of fielding coach Abhay Sharma, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey to name a few.
"Coaching this team, I tend to get a lot of attention, but it is really about the quality of support staff that we have had, there have been seven or eight of us, who have been together for the last 14 months. The effort they put in was incredible," he said.
"I am proud to be a part of their (support staff) team and see it as that. We try and do what's best for the kids and hopefully they can put in the performances on the field and they have certainly done that in this tournament."
And as expected, Twitter can't keep calm and is showering all the love for Dravid and the team.
Congrats to India's talented young cricket team for winning the Under-19 World Cup. Calmness and composure of our boys embellishes their skills. Proud of captain @Shaw_Prithvi and his mates, as well as of coach Rahul Dravid and the hard-working support staff #PresidentKovind— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) February 3, 2018
Every Indian is delighted, all credit to Rahul Dravid for committing himself to these young kids ,and a legend like him deserves to lay his hands on the WC. Only Fitting. #INDvAUS— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) February 3, 2018
For some, this will be the biggest moment in their lives. But as Rahul Dravid said, they must look upon this as a stepping stone. #ICCU19CWC— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 3, 2018
Finally a World Cup for Rahul Dravid!— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) February 3, 2018
No one deserves it more than him!#U19CWC
Rahul Dravid cracks me up. Speaks during interview about how embarrassed he is sometimes as coach of India U-19 because too much attention is put on him because of his stature rather than the players and support staff. Class act. World cricket needs more of him.— Peter Della Penna (@PeterDellaPenna) February 3, 2018
Congratulations India, exceptional U19 team, great coach and mentor in Rahul Dravid. Future stars in the making.— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) February 3, 2018
What a moment for these boys. Feel so so happy for them and am reminded of our triumph 18 years ago. Great effort by Rahul Dravid and these guys have a great future. #under19worldcup pic.twitter.com/Cu2Mrm2FJ4— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) February 3, 2018
Cometh the hour, Cometh the man!