When young cricketers start off, their heroes are Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Steve Smith: Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid is regarded as one of the legends of cricket. Dravid, alongside Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, had been dubbed the ‘big three’ of Indian cricket during his playing days. His records as a batsman are staggering - 13,288 runs in 164 Tests and 10,889 runs in 344 ODIs. Since his retirement from the sport, Dravid has worked as a coach for India ‘A’ team and India U-19 team as well. Under his guidance, India won the ICC U-19 World Cup in 2018. In a recent interview, Dravid, who has spent a lot of time with budding cricketers, said that young players idolise Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson when they start off their careers.
“I work with a lot of younger players. And when they start off their heroes are Kohli or Kane Williamson or (Steve) Smith. They want to play all the formats of the game,” the former India batsman explains in an ESPNCricinfo videocast with former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar. “But some of the less talented or less skillful players realize that its difficult to break into a team with Kohli or Pujara or (Ajinkya) Rahane.
“But they know that if they practice their white ball cricket, they can definitely get into an IPL team and make a living. And this thought today probably creeps in a lot earlier than in the previous generation of cricketers. But superstars will always want to play all the formats of the game. What budding players or kids lack today is enough time to practice their skills,” he adds.
Dravid also praised Kohli and Smith for continuing to excel across all three formats. “There are some players like Virat who have shown that one can excel in all three formats of the game too but it takes special ability to do so. Things to learn from Virat is the intensity that he brings to practice and his ability to challenge himself. Intensity will help you survive difficult spells and you need to bring that into practice. I have watched Smith as well and he has tremendous work ethics too.”
The 47-year-old also said that Kohli’s dedication towards Test cricket is a great thing for India. “Going forward we want to see more runs scored, people are playing more shots even in Test cricket which is fantastic. One of the great things for India is that Virat Kohli values Test cricket.
“He is always talking about it. I think he understands that the real respect for him as a cricketer will come through his success in Test cricket and I think that’s a great role model for our young cricketers. I would like to see wickets keep getting challenging, a good balance between bat and ball and I think people will get excited by seeing that,” Dravid said.