In my opinion, Rahul Dravid is India’s premier cricket analyst. With over 10,000 runs in both Tests and ODIs, as well as mentoring/coaching stints with Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils, India’s Under 19 team and India A, his perspective is invaluable.
Dravid has witnessed Virat Kohli’s growth from a gifted Under 19 cricketer at Royal Challengers Bangalore, to the champion cricketer that he is today. We asked him about how Kohli has changed over the years.
Dravid begins by telling us that he frequently quotes Kohli as an example to the current Under 19 and India A teams. While the general impression of Kohli is that he’s an extrovert who likes the good things in life, Dravid points out that when you look past that, you see a cricketer who is desperate to succeed, and has a hunger to do well.
According to Dravid, the most striking aspect of Virat Kohli’s batting is his ability to spot and fix weaknesses in his technique, and become a better player in six months. While Kohli wasn’t the finished product as a 19 year old cricketer at RCB, his desire to constantly improve and answer questions that were asked of him across formats makes him an ideal template for a young cricketer. Watch on for more!
We then move on to Dravid’s own evolution as a cricketer. We asked him how different his batting technique would have been, if he’d started playing the IPL when he was 24, instead of his mid-30s. Dravid points out that he was a product of a system that didn’t even take ODI cricket seriously – when he was playing domestic cricket, the 4 day team would be the same as the limited overs team!
Dravid then goes on to tell us that he realized ODI cricket was going to be big in the mid 90s, and needed to develop different shot-making abilities to further his ODI career. Similarly, if he was 24, he would have developed the technique needed for T20 cricket, because the motivation remains the same – to represent India, play on large grounds and in front of large crowds!
There’s been a long-held belief in sport, that great players don’t make great coaches. Dravid however, is a notable exception. We asked him how an elite athlete coaches younger cricketers who aren’t elite just yet.
According to Dravid, coaching at the national level can be very result-oriented, while coaching an Under 19 team also requires managing a young player’s career, as well as looking at the larger picture.
Finally, we asked Dravid about how he identifies future stars. Dravid immediately points out that it’s impossible to predict an Under 19 player’s success, because international cricket requires different skills. Conversely, there are cricketers who don’t necessarily look like stars at the Under 19 level, but can become world-beaters in a few years.
What interests Dravid is a willingness to learn and improve, as well as people who are honest with themselves, and confront their weaknesses, or skill deficits.
Part II will be out tomorrow, and will focus on some memorable moments from Dravid’s own legendary career.