Rahul Dravid smiled, even as fans cried



Rahul Dravid finally gets his hands on an ICC Trophy (Image: BCCI)

Rahul Dravid and emotions, you got to be kidding. For a man who has always appeared inert to wins and losses, the latest images of the Team India coach on his last day at office after India won the ICC T20 World Cup in Barbados are so beautifully different.

The Wall, or Jammy as people have lovingly addressed Rahul Dravid, was brought on as coach not because he was craving for the job. It was circumstances which led to him being appointed as Team India coach, for which former BCCI President Dada Sourav Ganguly can take credit. That was in November 2021, when Ravi Shastri’s term was coming to an end and Virat Kohli’s captaincy also came to a screeching halt.

A new dispensation, a new captain and a new coach, Rohit Sharma and Dravid took charge of Team India at a critical juncture. Coaching was nothing new for Dravid, he had handled junior teams, at the under-19 level, he had been the big boss at the NCA (National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru). What some fans and experts had also forgotten was, though Dravid was from old school, he had been part of the IPL (Indian Premier League) as well. And to all those experts who felt Dravid was “no good” as a white ball coach, he has answered.

On Saturday night, when India won the trophy, emotions were wild. Players cried, you and I cried, crackers were burst in India and some of the players from Up North of India did a bhangra in Barbados on the ground. No, those were not the images which came as a surprise. The refreshing images on television, and captured later by cameras, was a joyful Dravid. Smiling, happy, his face was a treat to watch. Draping himself in the tricolour, none had seen this from Dravid the player or the captain. What was it that made Dravid so emotional? Had he been the manager of a football side, club or country, Dravid would have been presented a medal. No, in cricket, there are no medals, there is only criticism, taunt and barbs.

ample this, just before the Indian team was leaving Mumbai for New York, news had leaked, the next coach would be named soon, possibly Gautam Gambhir. If you can relate to high performance and pressure of expectation, what Dravid was going through in his head and heart, only he knows. And yet, Dravid the coach never believed in wordplay, when he interacted with the media. As the outgoing coach got his hands on the trophy, many cried.

End of an era! (Image: ICC)

Anyone who has seen Dravid the batsman (now batter) and ‘keeper’ and Dravid the captain of the ODI side will recall, when the Indian campaign bombed in 2007 at the World Cup (ODI), they were ripped apart. There was no social media at that time, but the media, too, was enough to scald Dravid.

For him to be reliving a dream of sorts as coach on June 29 in Barbados was indeed poignant. Call it bottled emotions of years being released or call it celebrations, the images of Dravid smiling will be stored forever. Yes, he was not on the field, leading like Field Marshall Rohit Sharma. But then, none can doubt that Dravid had been a coach, mentor, Guru, and a parent to this winning side which has won an ICC trophy after 11 years plus.

There is a message in what Dravid has done for Indian cricket, that an Indian coach is as good as the best from overseas. Mind you, Dravid has been on an extension for a year, which was spoken of repeatedly, as if the BCCI had done him a favour. Just wait, Dravid will slip away and head to Benagluru. He has done his best, left his stamp, his imprint. He leaves behind a rich legacy. Come on, to coach a side into three finals in a year, ICC Test Championship final in 2023, the ODI World Cup and now the World T20, Dravid is King. He has done something which will be remembered for very long. Dravid has set a benchmark which will be hard to match.

What will be remembered forever is how coach Dravid handled superstars and players who are in their own right, big bosses. A coach’s job in Indian cricket is as tough as being head of state. Just that, Dravid managed all of them, Rohit, Kohli, future captain Hardik Pandya and the entire lot with love and affection.

The normal cricket fan may feel sad this was the last of Rohit and Virat in T20 internationals. For old timers who have watched Dravid the batter and now Dravid the coach say goodbye, it is choking. Is it real his last assignment that is over? Yes, it is. Mind you, Dravid could have applied for the coach’s job again. No, he did not, because, like players, he has peaked.

What can India do for him? He needs nothing but if the Indian government wishes, he can be a sure shot Dronacharya awardee. Nobody will grudge it. Thanks coach, you smiled and we cried.

After the victory (Image: ICC)

The post Rahul Dravid smiled, even as fans cried appeared first on Sports News Portal | Latest Sports Articles | Revsports.


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