Former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq highlighted his ex-Indian counterpart Rahul Dravid’s contributions behind India’s historic Test series win in Australia. India, who had to field a second-string side in the fourth Test at the Gabba after most of their main players were unavailable due to injuries did the unthinkable as they defeated a full-strength Australia side in Brisbane to clinch the four-match series 2-1.
At the same time, the Men In Blue also breached Australia’s fortress Gabba after a long wait of nearly 33 years. The Aussies had not lost a single Test match at the venue since 1988.
‘Mentally strong’: Inzamam
Commenting on current National Cricket Academy (NCA) head Dravid and his role in this win, Inzamam said: “Beating Australia at their home is tough and I have never seen in my life a team as young as this to win series in Australia. I was looking behind the reason what made this possible. I found out that Rishabh Pant and Sundar, they have played 2016 Under 19 World Cup.
“And then Shubman Gill and [Prithvi] Shaw played the 2018 Under-19 World Cup. Also, the likes of Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Hanuma Vihari, and (Mayank) Agarwal have played a lot of cricket for India A. So, I have realised that they strengthened their base, through Rahul Dravid. Dravid was called ‘The Wall’ because he could play in any conditions and was mentally strong. So, what Dravid did was he improved the bowlers’ mental toughness.”
Rahul Dravid’s term as India U-19 coach
Dravid had served as the head coach of India U-19 in back-to-back editions of the World Cup in 2016 & 2018 respectively. India had a dream run in the 2016 edition that was played in Bangladesh as they marched to the finals. However, they went down to a spirited West Indies team in a high-voltage summit clash. The team was led by wicket-keeper batsman Ishan Kishan.
Two years later, a new look Indian U-19 team led by Prithvi Shaw steamrolled all the teams and enjoyed an unbeaten run in the tournament that was hosted in New Zealand. In the end, the Boys In Blue overcame Australia in a one-sided finale to win their record fourth ICC U-19 World Cup title.
In August 2019, ‘The Wall’ was replaced by Former Saurashtra captain Sitanshu Kotak and ex-India seamer Paras Mhambrey as head coaches of India A and U-19 sides respectively and since then, ‘Jammy’ has been serving as the NCA chief.
(With ANI Inputs)
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