Dravid: 'Coaches are sacked but it has to be done the right way'

Former India captain says, "When we were players, we were more powerful than coaches. Coaches get sacked – that’s the reality. As the India ‘A’ and India under-19 coach, I know I will get the boot one day. But it has to be done the right way."

Rahul Dravid at the Bangalore Litrature Festival in Bengaluru on Sunday.   -  Sudhakara Jain

Rahul Dravid had the big crowd in splits with his reply to a question on whether M.S. Dhoni has become powerful enough to decide he wants to retire. “Don’t be critical of Dhoni, even Ashish Nehra has gotten to decide when he will retire,” Dravid said to senior journalist, Rajdeep Sardesai, at the Bangalore Literature Festival here on Sunday. The former India captain was at the event to support Sardesai’s new cricket book, Democracy's XI. Journalist Prem Panicker moderated the lively session.

The audience gave a standing ovation to Karnataka legends, B.S. Chandrasekhar, E.A.S. Prasanna and Syed Kirmani, when they were called to the stage. “Like the Bengaluru weather, cricketers from this city are the most decent in the entire country,” an emotional Sardesai said.

Excerpts:

Have players like Dhoni and Virat Kohli become supremos, so much so that Dhoni gets to decide when he wants to retire?

Don’t be critical of Dhoni, even Ashish Nehra has gotten to decide when he will retire. How do we know that Dhoni can choose when to retire? Just because some people say so in the media, it does not mean it is necessarily true.

The Anil Kumble-Kohli tussle, when Kumble was the India coach

The whole thing was played out in the media, which was very unfortunate for Anil. Anil has won more Test matches for India than anyone I know — he is an absolute legend. Look, players are more powerful than coaches. When we were players, we were more powerful than coaches. Coaches get sacked – that’s the reality. As the India ‘A’ and India under-19 coach, I know I will get the boot one day. But it has to be done the right way.

READ: Anil Kumble: Under the microscope all the time

Staying authentic: People ask me why I didn’t behave like Virat, like I played for India. I would have been inauthentic to myself had I gotten tattoos and behaved like Virat. Sometimes, before an Australia series, Virat says the most outrageous things. I read it in the newspaper and cringe. But then, I feel that he wants that tough contest, and wants that lip on the field, because it gets the best out of him. You can’t blame him, because it works so very well for him. But that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Ajinkya Rahane, for example, is very different.

What worries me is that a lot of young kids tend to copy Virat, without realising that they are not being authentic to who they really are.

Meeting Prasanna: Mr. Prasanna lived diagonally opposite my house in Indiranagar. I would peep out of my window to see him walk his dog, and say, 'Wow! That’s Mr. Prasanna'. I didn’t have the courage to talk to him. It was only when my name starting appearing in the newspaper did Mr. Prasanna say to me, ‘You are Rahul Dravid. I’ve read about you’. After that, every time he would come out of his house, I too would come out and pretend that I just happened to be there. I would say, ‘Oh, hello sir’ and start a conversation. Those were great times.