Rahul Dravid, never one to highlight his achievements, was the epitome of humility when he spoke about the effort the team put in in the past 14 months before reaching the pinnacle of glory. When India, for the record fourth time, clinched the under-19 World Cup in Mount Maunganui on Saturday, it was yet another feather in his cap. As a captain, Dravid, the Wall, tasted the bitter reality in 2007 in West Indies when India lost in the first round itself of the senior World Cup. The wheel turned a full circle when as coach, his dream was realized when the young dynamic captain Prithvi Shaw lifted the under-19 World Cup amidst wild celebration by the team and expat Indians in New Zealand. It has been a process. He spoke about the entire support system that included the bowling coach Paras Mhambrey and fielding coach Abhay Sharma. For a man who believes in discipline and hard work, Dravid was unlucky last time when the team lost to West Indies in Bangladesh two years ago but this time he ensured that his boys remained focused till the end, particularly with IPL auction that took place during their campaign in World Cup. He made it clear that the IPL auction will come every year but not everyday one gets a chance to play the World Cup. His piece of advice before the quarterfinal match against Bangladesh had lot of substance to it. He said there is an auction every year, but not every year will they have an opportunity to play for India in possibly a World Cup semifinal. That doesn’t come very often. The rest is history. His boys rose to the occasion. It was virtually a start-to-finish affair beating every side that came their way. From beating Australia in the opening tie match to the final match, against the same team, the Indian lads were unstoppable, winning all their six matches in the World Cup. They inflicted a humiliating defeat on Pakistan in the semifinal. Dravid naturally is proud of his boys. He feels that it is a moment to cherish for long and hopefully it is not a memory that defines them.
Surely, it is one of the best decisions made by BCCI to make Dravid the colts coach. The boys stand to gain from this affable coach. In this team, boys like the extremely talented Shaw, Shubman Gill, Manjot Kalra, Abhisehk Sharma, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Anukul Roy, Shivam Mavi and Ishan Porel have the potential to reach the next level. They can chart their success story under the able guidance of Dravid. These players, who have already made a mark in Ranji Trophy, have been given the right direction. There were many players in the past who went on to become highly successful cricketers and the brightest example is Virat Kohli. Hopefully, as Dravid said, these young Indians would have a lot more bigger and better memories in their careers.