K.L. Rahul shares a longstanding bond with new India head coach Rahul Dravid. Over 15 years ago, Rahul scored two double centuries for Mangalore Zone in the KSCA inter-zonal under-13 tournament, and caught the eye of Dravid.
Dravid, then an India star, called Rahul aside and had a long chat with him. The young Rahul was over the moon to gain an audience with a legend.
Rahul may have now climbed the ranks to become an India star himself, but he still feels a sense of excitement at the prospect of interacting with Dravid.
'Fortunate to know Dravid'
“I’ve been fortunate to know him (Dravid) for a long time. As a youngster, I tried to pick his brain and better understand the art of batting. He has been more than kind to us with his time back home in Karnataka. Having him here is a great opportunity for us to get better as cricketers. We all know what a big name he is, and what he has done for the country,” Rahul said on Monday.
“I’ve played a couple of games under Dravid in the India ‘A’ set up, and we’ve had a chat with him before coming here. He was a team man when he was playing, and that is the sort of culture he wants here. He wants everyone to put the team ahead of individual goals. We are excited to have him. It is a great time for Indian cricket,” Rahul said.
The three-match T20I series against New Zealand, which commences at Jaipur on Wednesday, will also see Rohit Sharma taking over as T20 captain from Virat Kohli.
'Rohit tactically good'
“There is nothing new about Rohit being captain. For as long as I can remember, he has been the captain of Mumbai Indians. His stats speak for itself. He has a great understanding of the game. He is tactically very good, and that is why he has been able to achieve great things as a leader. He will bring a lot of calm into the dressing room.
“The next few days and weeks will be exciting, as we will understand what sort of goals and culture that Rohit has in mind. It’s a big change in Indian cricket, and we’re all very excited about it,” Rahul said.
He wants everyone to put the team ahead of individual goals.