Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid is often credited as one of the key contributors in laying the foundation of the current Indian team. A number of youngsters who were part of the winning Indian Test team in the recently-concluded tour of Australia were coached by Dravid in age-group and domestic levels (India U-19 and India A).
Ajinkya Rahane, who led India to a glorious 2-1 series win in the absence of Virat Kohli, has now recalled a phone-call from Dravid ahead of the side's departure to Australia. Rahane revealed the conversation with Dravid, and also pointed out that the former Indian captain told him to "not bat a lot" in the net sessions.
"Rahul bhai actually called me before the series, when we were leaving to Australia from Dubai. He said, 'Don't take any stress, I know you are leading the team after the first Test. Don't worry about anything, just be strong mentally. Don't bat a lot in the nets', [which is] unlike Rahul bhai," Rahane told Harsha Bhogle in an interaction.
"Rahul bhai loves batting, and he was like 'that's the mistake I did'. He said, 'Don't bat a lot in the nets, your preparation is really good, you're batting so well. So, don't take any pressure. Just think about how you are going to lead the team, how you are going to give confidence to the players. Don't worry about the result, it will take care of itself'.
"That conversation really made it easy, Rahul bhai telling me to not bat a lot in the nets. It was really good."
India faced a humiliating defeat in the first Test of the series as the side was bowled out on 36 in the second innings, but made an incredible comeback to defeat Australia 2-1. The side secured wins in Melbourne and Brisbane, and held the hosts to an impressive draw in Sydney.
The side also inflicted a first defeat on Australia in 32 years at the Gabba, while registering a maiden Test win at the venue.
Team India will return to action on Feburary 5 with a four-Test series against England, which will mark the return of international cricket to the country for the first time since the sport came to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first two Tests will take place in Chennai, while the remaining two are scheduled to take place at the revamped Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Virat Kohli will return to the Indian team as captain, while Rahane will resume his role as vice-captain in the longest format of the game.