'Dravid was like a guardian to me'



Dhaka: It's not often that you get to play alongside your childhood hero. That's why Suresh Raina considers himself extremely fortunate that the player he admired as a boy was his captain when made his One-Day International debut and went on to learn from him what professionalism and humility is all about during their seven-year association.

Y! Special: Coverage: And Then There Was Dravid


Raina, who once pasted his hero Rahul Dravid's poster on the cupboard in his room at the Lucknow Sports College, forged partnerships with him for India and learned to become a better person off the field. No wonder, he says Dravid is like a "guardian" to him.

Paying his tribute to the justretired Dravid, Raina, here for the ongoing Asia Cup, told MAIL TODAY : "I have not seen anyone as professional as Rahul bhai. He was never controversial, and his perspective of the game was great - and it impacted me. I was lucky that I played with him at the beginning of my international career."

Raina admired the guts Dravid exhibited. "I liked his mantra that if you are disciplined you can achieve many things. He was a person who never gave up even in the toughest of times and against the toughest opposition," he gushed.

Confession of a Dravid fan


One of the most cherished items in the Raina household in Ghaziabad is a notebook that Dravid presented to the lefthander after he won his first ODI Man-of-the-Match award for his 81 not out against England in Faridabad in 2006. "He told me to cherish that moment, though he said many more such moments would come in my career. He presented me with a notebook and asked me to write down in it what I thought of my knock and what people said about me that day. He was the captain and I was touched by the way he spoke to me," Raina disclosed. "I still have that notebook at home, and I have written the advice that people have given me."

Raina says that even as a student he was a fan of Dravid’s technique. "When I was in the hostel, I used to admire his technique which was considered to be one of the best in the world. I won a poster of Rahul in a tennis ball tournament and I pasted in on the iron cupboard of my hostel room," he said. "When I toured Australia in 2002, people there called me Rahul Dravid, probably because they thought I looked like him."

And when Raina made his Test debut, against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2010, Dravid was part of the team. "When I made a century on Test debut, he was happy for me. He said he wanted me to do well in Test cricket as well," said the ODI specialist.

"Even if I am able to replicate 70 per cent of what he practised, it'd help me a great deal. I've always considered him my ideal. He was like my guardian," he stressed. "I wish him all the best. When I go to Bangalore, I’ll meet him. I hope he continues to contribute to the Indian cricket in some capacity or the other."

Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2012. MTNPL. All rights reserved

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Kevin Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Kevin Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain, Malinga takes over

Chandimal axed as T20 captain, Malinga takes over

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

'A blow to BCCI, could hurt autonomous status'

'A blow to BCCI, could hurt autonomous status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Dwayne Bravo is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to a shoulder problem. Bravo sustained the injury when attempting a catch on the boundary… More »

NZC contemplates domestic revamp

NZC contemplates domestic revamp

New Zealand Cricket has put forward a proposal to reinvent its domestic structure and allow up to 49% private investment into the six major associatio… More »

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

The class act from Saurashtra may have to rethink his approach to the mannerless format. More »

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

The BCCI is likely to convene a special general body meeting (SGM) in May to replace N Srinivasan on the board's disciplinary committee. More »

Roach escapes injury after car crash

Roach escapes injury after car crash

The West Indies fast bowler lost control of his BMW sedan due to slippery road conditions in his native Barbados on Saturday. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Day of Supreme reckoning

Day of Supreme reckoning

Apex court to decide on BCCI’s proposed new committee today. More »

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

The former CBI Director is one of the three candidates proposed by the BCCI to head the enquiry into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. More »

Repose faith in Indian coaches

Repose faith in Indian coaches

All of them cost plenty of dollars which I feel is unnecessary for a two- month tournament, says former cricketer Yajurvindra Singh. More »

Cook relieved after period in limbo

Cook relieved after period in limbo

The England captain is looking forward to a fresh start after a dispiriting Ashes defeat last year. More »