Presently working with the group of highly talented boys, former India skipper Rahul Dravid has taken the young India U-19 cricket team to dizzy heights under his mentorship. Since taking over the full-time coaching role of India Under-19 and A teams, the 45-year old has worked tirelessly day in and day out to rectify the flaws of the young turks and turn them into world beaters.
Speaking on 'Cricket ki Baat' show ahead of the big game against Pakistan, India TV's cricket expert Virender Sehwag heaped praise on the India U-19 team and credited head coach Rahul Dravid for the performance of his wards in the tournament. The 'Nawab of Najafgarh' said: "Rahul Dravid is the only player in the world who have played more than 150 Tests and is working with the junior national side."
"There are very few players in the world who have played over 150 Tests and have agreed to work with the junior team. Dravid, I think, is the only player to do so. Normally a player of such high repute refuses to work with the junior teams but Dravid is doing this from the past two years. So, he deserves all the accolades," Sehwag added.
Earlier, Dravid has worked as a mentor of Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils in the cash-rich Indian Premier League. He has groomed several young players such as Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Hooda. He also had a short stint as batting consultant of the Indian team, and several players spoke highly of their interactions with the former captain.
In the ongoing ICC U-19 World Cup, the boys in blue have reached the semifinals and have emerged as firm favourites to lift the coveted title at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on February 3. Led by inspirational Prithvi Shaw, the Indian team have topped their group stage winning all their matches in the tournament. In the quarterfinals, they defeated Bangladesh by a comprehensive margin of 131 runs. The Indian team will now face arch-rivals Pakistan on Tuesday for a place in the final against Australia.
The 45-year old Dravid has also expected his boys to have full focus on their ongoing campaign in the ICC U-19 World Cup and not get distracted by the IPL auction this weekend. "There's no point hiding from the fact that it is there. It is around the corner," Dravid was quoted as saying by 'ESPNCricinfo'.
"There's no point living in the bubble and pretending it doesn't exist. We do discuss it.
We've spoken about what their focus should be and what their long-term goals are as compared to their short-term goals," said the former India captain.