T20 World Cup a parting gift for Rahul Dravid as he ends term on a high

Under his tenure from November 2021, India won 11 of the 14 bilateral T20 series, eight of the 11 ODI series and six of the eight Test series

Rahul Dravid in an affectionate moment with his boys
Rahul Dravid in an affectionate moment with his boys

Gautam Bhattacharyya

From an almost reluctant taker for the India head coach’s role to being tossed about by the ecstatic Men in Blue at the Kensington Park, Barbados on Saturday – it had been quite a journey for Rahul Dravid. The signing off, however, was not without fuss as the man would have possibly liked it to be.

The end of his two and-a-half year tenure was one of the number of poignant moments when Rohit Sharma & Co ended India’s 13-year-old jinx of a ICC World Cup title.

If the captain and Virat Kohli’s calling time on their T20I careers touched a chord deeply as Ravindra Jadeja also followed suit, the thought of the familiar, stoic figure of ‘The Wall’ not being at the dugout anymore also hit home badly.

‘’He (Dravid), more than any one of us, deserved that trophy. What he has done for Indian cricket for the past 20-25 years, I think this was the only thing that was left in his cabinet. I am very happy that we could actually do this for him. You saw how proud he was and how excited he was,’’ remarked Rohit at the official press conference. A spontaneous response from the captain, notwithstanding Dravid never being comfortable at the idea of a #DoitforDravid vibe ahead of the final.

Neither did the legendary batter buy the thought of a redemption, as some of the Indian cricket media made it out to be for a star-studded Indian team’s debacle in the 50-overs World Cup in the West Indies in 2007 under his captaincy. Or for the Ahmedabad heartbreak in 2023 against Australia when he was at the helm.

‘’There is no redemption, I am not one of those guys who thinks about those kinds of things,’’ was Dravid’s reply on Saturday. ‘’As a player, I was not lucky enough to win a trophy but I tried my best. It was not to be.’’

A sound logic as one would expect from the articulate Dravid, but deep down, the cricket romantic probably craved for some kind of a poetic justice for both the coach and the captain. In the daily churn of modern cricket, it’s not often that one judges the chemistry between coach and the captain on the basis of their human qualities, but Dravid made no bones about what appealed to him about Rohit during their association.

‘’I will miss him (Rohit) as a person. Forget his cricket and the captain he is, cewhat impressed me is the kind of person he is. The respect he showed (for me) and care and commitment he had for the team. Great batter and great captain apart, I will remember the person most,’’ an emotional Dravid said.

After the euphoria settles down over a much-needed title for Indian cricket and the discussion veers around who could be his eventual successor, it will also be time to take stock about Dravid’s balance sheet as a coach.

Under his tenure from November 2021, India won 11 of the 14 bilateral T20 series, eight of the 11 ODI series and six of the eight Test series. They also made it to two finals and one semi-final of ICC world events and had also reached the final of the World Test Championship in June 2023 when they lost to Australia.

Under him, India also became the No.1 team in all three formats and currently, are No.1 in both white ball formats and No.2 in Test format after Australia.

What next for him? Possibilities abound but for now, don’t be surprised if one finds Dravid and wife Vijeta slipping into the stands in a week – in the verdant surroundings of his city Bengaluru – to watch son Samit play some age group cricket.

That’s the quintessential Rahul Dravid for you!

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines