Virat Kohli’s consistency stands out, want my U-19 boys to match his standard: Rahul Dravid

first_imgVirat Kohli’s phenomenal run over the last two years has left everyone in awe of the India captain. But the Delhi dasher will treasure the complements of Mr Dependable, Rahul Dravid.One of the greatest batsmen to have played the game for India, Dravid was the epitome of consistency, discipline and determination. ‘The Wall’ now coaches the Indian A and under-19 teams and is the man responsible for churning out talent at the assembly line. And he wants his wards to match the level of consistency shown by Kohli over the last two years – the 29-year-old has scored 5413 runs and 18 hundreds in international cricket across 2016 and 2017.Recently, he surpassed Brian Lara’s record for most double hundreds by a Test captain and also became the only Indian to score over 600 runs in a single Test series thrice. Dravid and Sunil Gavaskar had managed the feat twice.Kohli, who moved up from No.6 to No.2 in the ICC’s rankings for Test batsmen, will take a short break before the Indian team departs for South Africa later this month.India Today caught up with Dravid for an exclusive chat to understand his take on Kohli, India’s overseas chances and other issues.Excerpts:Rawat: There was a phase in 2003-04 when you hit three double hundreds in a span of six months. Virat Kohli has been doing really well and he seems to have made it a habit of scoring these daddy hundreds. Where would you rate him at the moment in world cricket? Right at the top?advertisementDravid: I think Virat is going through a much better phase than what I was going through in 2003. He has already got six double hundreds so far. It’s incredible and phenomenal the way he has been playing. It’s the consistency of his performance that stands out for me. He is brilliant in all forms. It’s not just Test cricket but ODIs and T20s as well. He is playing great cricket. I always tell the under-19 boys that I coach to see the standard that Virat has set and the young cricketers should actually aspire to match the level of his consistency. (Kohli’s statements before series make me cringe: Dravid)Rawat: Team India have had an exceptional home season. They won against everyone. But the big test begins with the tour of South Africa which will be followed by tours of England and Australia. Starting with South Africa, do you think this team has the potential to do well overseas?Dravid: I am very confident that this team will do well against South Africa because they have all the bases covered. If you see, the performance of this team over the last year and year-and-a-half, it has been exceptional against some tough opposition even though they were at home. I think we are ready to really do well overseas and most of the players who are part of the squad have been to South Africa and Australia before. So I really think we are set up for what, hopefully, will be a successful away series for India. If we have a bit of luck, like no injuries, I think we have the team to do well overseas.WATCH FULL INTERVIEW HERERawat: When you retired from cricket, everyone was wondering who will fill the void at No.3 in this Indian team. Cheteshwar Pujara has done really well at the position and seems to be your rightful successor?Dravid: Cheteshwar Pujara has done really well for himself and for the team. He is a fine player and a lot of success we get overseas in times to come, will depend on the start we get and how the top order plays, which also includes Pujara. I think he has a really important role to play in this team and I am looking forward to watching him in the next one year.Rawat: Not long ago, you had made a remark on MS Dhoni, suggesting that the team management should look beyond him and find options. You have been coaching youngsters and mentoring them. Who do you think can actually take that place although, it looks like Dhoni will play the 2019 World Cup.Dravid: Firstly, I never said that we should look beyond MS Dhoni. What I had mentioned was, of course we have MS Dhoni but in some cases, if you have an injury, we need to have a back-up and they (team management) seem to have worked on it. Dinesh Karthik has been playing in ODIs and now Parthiv Patel has also been drafted in Tests. Karthik has been zeroed in on in case something (injury) happens to Dhoni. There are obviously Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson who have been playing for India A and domestic cricket for a while and have been doing well. As and when they are needed, they should be up for it. I never said the team should look beyond Dhoni. That’s a decision that the selectors have to take and not me.advertisementlast_img