Why Rahul Dravid took India U-19 to the Tiger Safari

Image Courtesy: BCCI/Mongabay

Its been 7 years since the world saw the Great Wall in action on the pitch, but Rahul Dravid’s presence has been a positive impact on the young cricketing generation of India. The present Director of Cricket Operations at National Cricket Academy, Dravid previously coached the India Under-19 and India A teams in the last three years, and is their current mentor. Interestingly, Dravid’s mentorship for the youngsters is not just limited to the 22 yards, he also takes them to safari!

Image Courtesy: BCCI/Mongabay

As the 2020 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup approaches, the former Men in Blues skipper believes that team bonding not only happens on the pitch, but outside of the cricketing grounds as well.

Saba Karim, the General Manager of Cricket Operations at Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) revealed that the Tiger safari was conducted under the 46 year old’s suggestion.

“It’s a two-day team bonding exercise and not a boot camp or anything. If I remember, earlier an India A team had also gone to the Nagarhole National Park.” Karim told Times of India.

Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan, when they were under Dravid’s coaching at the under 21 teams, had received trekking sessions back in 2016.

“We keep having these activities for U-19 and A teams. This is not for the senior team though which has its own schedule,” Karim added.

Tufan Ghosh, the current Chief Operating Officer at the National Cricket Academy said that the under 19 team members hail from different parts of India, having different cultures and lifestyle.

The players need to increase their team spirit, which is not just limited to the cricketing grounds. On Dravid’s suggestions, he players receive boot camp like training and jungle safaris to increase their ability to react to several different situations, such as they will face in the upcoming world cup in South Africa.

“The boys enjoyed a Tiger Safari today. In fact, I am told, that they spotted a couple of tigers at various points. A company which designs these kind of programmes consulted the coaches as well as (NCA head) Mr Dravid to formulate a set of activities.” Ghosh told reporters.

However, Ghosh also added that the safaris and camps are not as strenuous as they are in the miliary, and do not hamper the boys’ performance in training: “Boot camp has an army connotation but this is not like a boot camp.”