Apart from being the head coach of the current Indian team, Rahul Dravid is also one of the best batters the country has ever produced. He was a part of India’s ‘Fab 5’ alongside Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, and VVS Laxman, forming a strong batting line-up for over a decade.
However, Dravid was almost an unsung hero on most occasions. The right-hander often did the hard work of blunting the new ball and played marathon knocks to allow the players around him to score at a decent pace.
Rahul Dravid was also someone who used to overthink his game at times even when India weren’t playing. Speaking to Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra on his podcast ‘In the Zone’, Dravid explained how he realized the importance of taking a mental break from the game. He said:
“I used to spend a lot of energy even when I was not playing thinking about my game, worrying about it, and reflecting on it. In time I learned that was not necessarily helping my batting. I needed to refresh and almost find a life outside of cricket.”
Dravid also spoke about why a pretty jolly character like Sehwag used to find it a bit easier to switch off from the game. The current Indian coach, on the other hand, had to learn its importance gradually. He added:
“Honestly, I was never going to be like Viru (Virender Sehwag). He found it much easier to switch off because of his personality. But I started recognizing the red flags.”
“If you do all of that but are unable to switch off mentally, you are not going to have enough energy to play the game. Once I started recognizing that three or four years into my career, I started to make an effort to switch off a lot more and it helped me a lot.”
“I loved that contest between me and the bowler” – Rahul Dravid
Quite a few former fast bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar have been vocal about how difficult it was for them to breach Rahul Dravid’s defense. Dravid himself accepted that scoring quickly was perhaps not his strength. He stated that he built his game around batting for hours and wearing down the opposition bowlers:
“As my career progressed, I realized, I was never going to be someone who will be scoring as quickly as Sehwag did or maybe to an extent as Sachin did. I was always going to need patience.”
“I loved that contest between me and the bowler, sort of tried to make it a one-on-one contest. I found that help me concentrate a bit more.”
Rahul Dravid enjoyed an incredibly successful career at the highest level, accummulating 13,288 and 10,889 runs in Tests and ODIs respectively. He recorded a mammoth 48 centuries and 146 half-centuries across both formats.