KL Rahul is fast becoming a top batsman for India. In this year’s five-match T20I series, he scored 224 runs in five matches and followed it up with a haul of 204 runs in the three ODIs.
He was also given the duties of a wicketkeeper-batsman to add more balance to the side, a role he performed quite well, just like Rahul Dravid, his idol.
Dravid has had an influence on Rahul’s career. A 13-year-old Rahul who was making an impact in age-group cricket caught the Indian legend’s eye, who also gave him a pep talk.
“I remember KL got back-to-back double centuries in an Under-13 tournament. He first scored a double hundred at the NRA ground and then scored another double hundred at Chinnaswamy stadium. At the same time, Dravid was undergoing endurance training,” Rahul’s childhood coach Jayaraj told The Times of India.
Jayaraj then asked Rahul to observe Dravid as he batted in the nets.
“When Dravid padded up for a net session. I asked KL to sit at the boundary ropes and watch him. I told him to watch his technique and batting style,” Jayaraj said.
“I did the same for at least a week. Rahul used to watch Dravid carefully,” he added.
Then Dravid surprised Jayaraj and Rahul with his observations.
“After finishing one net session, Dravid came and said, ‘I watched this kid’s batting (double centuries). He played wonderfully. He has a future, please take care of him,” Jayaraj said.
“I didn’t know a player like Dravid would have so much observation about a kid. I requested him if he can speak with Rahul for some time. Rahul was so happy to meet him. He (Dravid) spoke with Rahul and gave him a pep talk. Rahul still remembers that conversation,” the coach added.
KL Rahul went from strength to strength after that and has now played 36 Tests, 32 ODIs and 42 T20Is for India.
“He (KL Rahul) has always been a good listener. Whenever he is in doubt or in any sort of problem, he calls and we discuss that. He is still a kid and a brilliant student of the game,” Jayaraj said.