Former India fast-bowling all-rounder Irfan Pathan showered praise on Rahul Dravid stating that the legendary batsman had the ability to instil confidence and self-belief in players while motivating them to produce their best in adverse circumstances. Dravid is the Head Coach of the Indian contingent currently in Sri Lanka and will be at the helm of affairs for the ODI and T20I series against the hosts.
Pathan recalled an incident from the 2007 World Cup which demonstrated the qualities of Dravid - the mentor and leader. Speaking on Star Sports’ Game Plan, Pathan spoke highly of Dravid’s communication skills and his ability to understand the needs of every player.
“It’s all about comfort. You perform much better with a coach or a captain, whom you are comfortable playing with. What Rahul Bhai brings in is - clear communication. Even when he was the leader for the Indian cricket team, if anyone had any problem, they could just go up to him and talk about it very freely. I remember an incident – when we lost the 2007 (ODI) World Cup - we were in West Indies - he came up to me & Mahendra Singh Dhoni and said, ‘look, I know we all are upset, let’s go for a movie. We went for the movie and then we had half an hour to ask him things," quoted Pathan.
Dravid was the captain of the Indian team which fared terribly in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean but even after the disappointing performance he did not lose hope and constantly motivated his team and players.
“He said, yes, we lost this World Cup, we wanted to make a difference, but this is not the end of it; life is much bigger; we will come back tomorrow. That’s the kind of character he is. He is always looking to put any cricketer in a positive frame of mind," added Pathan.
With Ravi Shastri with the Test squad in England, the series in Sri Lanka provides a fine opportunity for Dravid to showcase his worth as a coach and mentor. He has already done a tremendous job with the India A and Under-19 Teams and also as the Head of the NCA in Bengaluru and Pathan stated that even if a player or a group of players go out of form or experience some difficulties in Sri Lanka, they would have the number 1 man in a crisis by their side to go to for advice.
“If unfortunately (in Sri Lanka), anyone goes out of form, he will be the first one to guide him and give him confidence," said Pathan.