Legend says new challenges keep him refreshed
You would think that coaches at the Under-19 World Cup have precious little free time. Not Rahul Dravid though. After the shellacking handed out to Nepal by his wards, he made a courtesy call on the vanquished side.
He emphasised the need for strike-rotation, even taking a dig at himself, "I'm a good one to speak, as I often would get stuck at one end myself. Guess you live, you learn, you become coach and you get to preach".
By the end of his session, he had the deflated Nepal side in splits. Some of the Nepal U-19 players wanted autographs which Dravid obliged with individual messages - everything from "Rotate strike" to "Outside off not leg".
Dravid also spent time in the Pakistan and Canada camps, talking to their coaches, managers, players. In the Pak camp, he lightened the mood saying he won't be able to answer all their questions because even though Pakistan beating India in a World Cup match is highly unlikely, if it does come to pass, he could be tried for espionage.
Plenty of selfies were taken in spite of stiff resistance from Dravid, "Hey, I'm an old-fashioned guy, used to cameras without phones".
After the Mankading incident in the West Indies - Zimbabwe match, Dravid was requested to meet both the teams and share his opinion on the incident. For once, Dravid didn't take the bait and excused himself claiming he had pressing coaching assignments. When asked, which team, he laughed, "surprisingly, my team!"
Buzz around the U-19 World Cup is that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has requested Dravid to consider taking a mentoring role for upcoming cricketing nations.
It is also learnt that Dravid has been offered a fresh assignment by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) - "to coach out of shape retired cricketers who are hell-bent on making fools of themselves" by taking part in tournaments such as Cricket All-Stars (played in the United States) and the Masters Champions League (MCL), currently being played in the United Arab Emirates.
A furious BCCI senior official thumped his table as he made a strong point: "We can't have our legends playing as if they've never played cricket before. What other nations do with their retired players is their business but we want Rahul Dravid to replicate his Under-19 success with the seniors"
Sourav Ganguly, (Libra Legends' captain in the MCL), who pulled out because of a back spasm even before the tournament started, could well be his old teammate's first assignment. There are rumours that once Ganguly regains fitness, his new coach will be a hard taskmaster when it comes to fielding drills and running between the wickets, something "Dada" has never quite enjoyed.
Dada said he was fine with Dravid as coach, as long as "that Greg Chappell doesn't accompany him".
Dravid's appointment as coach of retired cricketers could also see him looking into players who are no longer active on the field but active in other unsavoury ways. The BCCI has long seen Kambli as a wild child and it is believed that Dravid could talk some sense into the once prolific school cricketer who failed to live up to his potential in the Indian team.
Sachin Tendulkar refused to comment on Dravid's latest assignment.
VVS Laxman, on the other hand, more than made up for him on TV: "Sooper! This is very good of BCCI to appoint Dravid I must say. I have full faith in Dravid that he will do an excellent job to the best of his abilities and will get the full support of the players, I mean retired players hehehe... Even I can't wait to restart our partnership, hopefully we will train in Eden Gardens hehehe. We have good memories of that ground... hehehe ok commercial break? Take it, I'm not going anywhere hehehe..."
Meanwhile Virender Sehwag (captain of Gemini Arabians) shot from the hip when he said, "Retirement is for relaxation, hope Rahul Dravid doesn't make me train too hard".
(However plausible this might sound, this is largely a work of fiction.)