Nothing succeeds like success and no one knows it better than India head coach Rahul Dravid.
Despite 10,889 ODI runs, brilliant by any standards, the preliminary round ouster from the 2007 World Cup left an indelible scar on his legacy as Indian skipper.
That week in March at Port of Spain became his Port of Pain and even a Test series win in England later that year – India’s last till date – could never really provide him the relief that he must be seeking for 16 years now.
On Sunday, November 19, 2023, Rahul Sharad Dravid gets his biggest shot at redemption, albeit as a coach as his wards play the match of their lives in the World Cup final against Australia at Motera.
Interestingly, Sunday is also Dravid’s last day of his two-year contract as the Indian coach that started after the group league ouster from the 2021 T20 World Cup in UAE.
If India wins, there will be a lot of clamour, wanting him to continue but anyone who knows Dravid, will vouch that he is a very proud man.
“Jammy (Rahul’s nickname) is someone who swears by his self-esteem. He didn’t quit captaincy after the World Cup disaster in 2007 but within a few months won a high-profile series in England and had a good ODI series.
“He just stepped down on a high after an away Test win in England. Here obviously, if India wins, BCCI might offer him a fresh contract,” a former India teammate told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
There hasn’t been a lot of change between Dravid, the player and Dravid, the coach. He was meticulous then and he is meticulous now.
He was data-driven then and he is highly into analytics now.
But it must be mentioned that working as the National Cricket Academy (NCA) Director and coach of India A, he has been quietly instrumental in preparing the core team for both red and white ball cricket.
Shubman Gill, Mohammed Siraj and Shreyas Iyer have all come up the ranks playing a lot of India A cricket.
Having played with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin and working with the others, Dravid was able to prepare a bridge between seniors and juniors through excellent communication.
Anyone who has seen the Kohli-Ravi Shastri era and the current management run by Rohit and Dravid would tell you that communication has been their strongest suit and hence none of the players are unaware of their roles in the team.
The team reached the final of two global events and semifinal in one more.
However, two months short of his 51st birthday, the question remains whether Dravid has the bandwidth of devoting 365 days thinking about the Indian cricket team, which also includes at least 150-plus days on the road.
A World Cup victory is a high that everyone wants and at times there is nothing left to achieve after that.
At this stage of his life, money will not be a consideration as at least 3-4 IPL teams would offer him blank cheques if he shows any intention of returning to the cash rich league as Team Director or Mentor.
But will the BCCI let ‘Mr Dependable’ let go easily. Lot will depend on which side India ends on Sunday.
If Australia wins, who knows Dravid might just want to continue. Leaving on a high is an art he knows only too well.
Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.