In the year 2007, the line up of the Indian team which was selected for the ODI World Cup to be held in West Indies was no less than 'Dream 11'.
Captain Rahul Dravid, former captain Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Ajit Agarkar were part of the team. The team coach was former Australia captain Greg Chappell, who had a 'controversial tenure'.
Even though the Indian team was full of veteran players, there was a clear lack of unity in the team. The differences among some big players, ranging from fielding position to batting order, were visible outside the dressing room, which many players have also mentioned in their books. Obviously, as a captain, it was difficult for Rahul Dravid to handle all this. The result was that this star-studded Indian team was out of the tournament even before the knockout stage.
It was certain that Rahul Dravid's captaincy would also be 'eclipsed'. Months later, a young team under the leadership of young captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the T-20 World Cup played in South Africa in 2007. This sequence was repeated in the 2011 ODI World Cup in India.
But Rahul Dravid could not be a part of that team and in the same year he announced his retirement from cricket. Currently Rahul Dravid is the head coach of Team India. He has been in charge of the team for the last two years.
When Rahul Dravid was mentioned in a press conference a few days ago about the crushing defeats suffered by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the year 2007, he replied laughingly, It has been a long time since I was a player. The truth is that I had almost forgotten that I even played. I have left that behind and now I help this entire group to maintain their focus.
But Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya, who played cricket during the era of Rahul Dravid, feels, For such a great player like Dravid, a result like 2007 is like a nightmare.
He said, "We are talking about the batsman who has made the record of staying at the crease for the longest time and playing the most number of balls in Test cricket. Such players are rare in history and Rahul's concentration as a coach is also clearly visible. If India wins this trophy then hardly anyone will be more satisfied than Dravid.
Even today as a coach, Rahul Dravid takes his practice in the nets as seriously as he used to practice batting for hours in the nets as a player. After reaching the nets himself first, Rahul Dravid watches every player practicing very closely, gives suggestions and involves batting coach Vikram Rathore and bowling coach Paras Mhambrey in every activity.
The amount of hard work that the team's fielding coach T Dilip is doing with the players these days is seen in very few teams. On Wednesday, the Indian team reached Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium for practice late in the evening. Dravid first inspected the pitch. Even on Tuesday, when Shubman Gill was batting for one and a half hours, Rahul Dravid was seen talking to the ground staff.
Because the Wankhede pitch is made of light red soil, due to which the ball bounces a little, Rahul first made the batsmen practice fast bowling, in which Siraj also kept bowling balls that bounced for a long time to Virat Kohli and Gill.
Last Saturday, when Team India was having net practice at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow, coach Rahul Dravid went to check the pitch several times, touching it and tossing a ball on it with his hand. Dravid suspected that it would be difficult to bat on and that is exactly what happened. India gave a crushing defeat to England in a low-scoring match.