Actions do speak louder than words. Rahul Dravid is one person who gives the impression that he plans his utterances. He never supplemented his cricketing brilliance with mindless comments about the game.
His technique for enjoying the game is simple. When the cricketer’s personality blends with the culture of the game, gratification automatically ensues. And this is how Dravid has moulded himself all these years making him the Rahul Dravid we know today.
In an interview to a television channel, he modestly but clearly spelt out things which he was comfortable with. When he said he was open to coach the Indian team, he perhaps meant the role of a mentor which is very important in the pressure-laden modern sports.
In all other countries, a qualified coach with international experience is preferred with the assumption that he points out mistakes and offers workable solutions. But in India, the principle of coaching seems to be ‘I coach the way I played’.
Dravid must have interacted with qualified and unqualified international coaches during his international career. It’s not that the non-qualified haven’t had impact on the game but some of the Australian cricketers such as Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer acquired the certificate of coaching when they were playing for the country itself. Langer now is the batting coach of Australia.
The players who played under Dravid’s captaincy for Rajasthan Royals vouch that he handled them much better than their respective State coaches. This is where experience counts.
Dravid gauged the potential in each player and didn’t make the mistake of raising their bar unrealistically. Instead, he used man-management skills to get them to reach optimum level of skills.
This is very important for an Indian cricketer whether he is an international or a State player. Virat Kohli would be the first to admit that when the Indian Premier League was launched, being with Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid at Royal Challengers Bangalore helped him change his outlook towards the game.
But not many youngsters have been smart enough to use the guidance of seniors to their advantage except Ajinkya Rahane.
Ideally, Dravid should be entrusted with the responsibility of a High Performance Manager (HPM) of the India ‘A’ team which should have 25 players training together at the NCA with specialised and experienced coaches as the support staff.
Dravid’s presence as a HPM will change the outlook of the numerous Indian youngsters who are guided solely by money and a fancy life.
Indian youngsters need tough handling. In Australia, promising fast bowler Mitchell Marsh, son of Geoff Marsh, was sent home from the CA academy for being out at night. This should send a message to our youngsters being brought up on IPL culture. Marsh too is a product of the IPL. Dravid is capable of handling such mindsets.
If Dravid is appointed a HPM, it will definitely result in the propagation of healthy competition creating many options for selectors. We all know that international cricket isn’t a child’s play and yet we continue to carry forward our archaic ways of player management.