Dravid takes hands-on approach, visits Lucknow to see India U19 side in action

Since his retirement, Rahul Dravid has unearthed talents during his stint as the India U-19 coach and even guided the team to the U-19 World Cup title last year.

Rahul Dravid pictured at the Ekana Stadium B ground in Lucknow.   -  Special Arrangement

Watching India’s junior-level cricket is not a new thing for Rahul Dravid. The former India captain has been doing that for years — first as India U-19 head coach and now as the director of the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

And as a mighty Afghanistan U-19 team clinched the third One-dayer against India U-19 by three wickets at the Ekana Stadium B ground on Tuesday, Dravid watched the proceedings from the players’ arena.

For the last couple of days, the NCA director is in town to take stock of things at the junior level and has made it a point to discuss the road-map with the U-19 coaches — Paras Mhambrey, Hrishikesh Kanitkar and Abhay Sharma. Besides that, Dravid could also be seen discussing a thing or two with the junior national selectors Ashish Kapoor, Debasish Mohanty and Gyanendra Pandey.

“He has been with the team for the last few days and has made it a point to interact with the players and coaches and also help them with various inputs,” one of the BCCI officials aware of the development told Sportstar.

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If Dravid’s presence was a motivation for Indian cricketers, the Afghanistan colts were also excited to have him around. Some of the players and coaches could be seen talking to Dravid during the innings break and even Afghanistan’s Director of Cricket and chief selector, Andy Moles, caught up with the former India captain for a chat.

“Rahul has always supported our cricketers. He is very approachable. In the past, whenever, we required his help, he has always been there. He is a true legend,” Raees Ahmadzai, a former captain and a national selector of the Afghanistan team, said.

After quitting the game in 2012, Dravid has ensured to unearth talents during his stint as the India U-19 coach and even went on to guide India to the U-19 World Cup title last year. And now, with another U-19 World Cup nearing — it begins in South Africa from January 12, next year — the Indians selectors are making sure that they pick the right team, which can defend the title.

And for that, Dravid’s inputs will definitely be of immense importance. After all, no one knows the junior set-up better than ‘The Wall’!