If there is one cricketer who deserves this honour more than anybody else, it is Rahul Dravid. Dravid's tryst with the World Cup is an old one - from being the vice-captain of the team that lost the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup final (against Australian side) to crashing out in the group stages in 2007 edition where he was the captain. The 45-year old's long impending dream of holding that coveted world cup trophy eluded him in his 16-year international career where he achieved many laurels for the country.
However, as they say - those who work hard write their own destiny and the saying has finally become a reality in case of Rahul Dravid. On Saturday at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, the fate brought him back into the limelight once again when his young brigade took defeated Australia by eight wickets in the title clash of ICC U-19 World Cup. And, the result is history now, Dravid is a World Cup winning Coach - an honour many cricketers dream or just think of.
During our exclusive show 'Cricket Ki Baat', India TV's cricket expert and former India opener Virender Sehwag believes Rahul Dravid is the most appropriate man for the job and with this win, he has proved his calibre as the world's best cricket coach. Sehwag said: "In his 16 or 17 years career, Rahul Dravid never managed to get his hands around the world cup trophy, but as a coach, he has lived that dream with the help of this young U-19 team."
He added, "Dravid is world's best coach at the moment and as a player, his records speak for themselves. He prepared his wards for the big game and taught him the nuances to handle the pressure of a big final."
Speaking about playing the pressure of playing a World Cup final, Viru said, "More than physical, it's the mental pressure which players need to absorb of playing the final of a world event. Every player who dreams of representing India has a long-live dream of winning the coveted world cup in his career."
Hailing the 'man of the match' - Manjot Kalra for his unbeaten hundred in the final against Australia. Sehwag said: "Congrats to Manjot Kalra for playing a match-winning knock in the WC Final. He emerged as a big-match player and proved his class at this level. We all were looking at Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill or Harvik Desai to score big in the final but it was Manjot who rose to the occasion."
"To get noticed at the top level, you need to convert your knocks into big hundreds. I believe a young player can only make a statement if he scores prolifically wherever he plays to put the pressure on selectors. Manjot did just that in the final vs Australia."
Sehwag also added that playing the senior cricket world cup is more difficult as compared to the U-19 competition. If it would have been easy, India would have lifted the 50-over world cup more than twice just like Australia who have won it five times.
ICC U-19 World Cup: Credit to support staff and especially Rahul Sir, says skipper Prithvi Shaw after triumph
The swashbuckling opener also praised the captaincy of talented Prithvi Shaw who impressed him with his bowling changes and field placements in the final. Sehwag said: " Your captain is as good as your team. Prithvi Shaw is an exceptional talent but I believe our bowling department was the best in the tournament which resulted in the triumph. Bowlers who pick up 10 wickets should be given the credit. However, credit also goes to Prithvi for making smart bowling changes during the match and showed great pro-activeness on the field."
On Shaw's comparison with Sachin Tendulkar, he said, "Don't compare Prithvi with Tendulkar, it would be better for the future of the youngster to keep him away from such comparisons. Allow him to play freely and express himself without any burden."
Finally speaking few words of praise for India U-19 quicks Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi, Sehwag said: "Both Nagarkoti and Mavi impressed me the most in their incredible speeds in this tournament. To constantly bowl over the 140-mark speaks a lot about the talent of these bowlers."
"I also have them on my radar during the IPL Player Auction but their price went way beyond my budget. I believe IPL has benefitted a lot in preparing world class players for Indian cricket. Nagarkoti and Mavi have that calibre to go and become the Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra of tomorrow," Viru signed off.