'Such a big role model' - Rohit reflects on Dravid's career-long influence

The India captain tried to encourage the outgoing coach to reapply for the position but was keen not to talk-up sending him off with a trophy

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
India's captain Rohit Sharma unsuccessfully tried to get the outgoing coach Rahul Dravid to stay on in the job. Rohit, who played under Dravid, with Dravid, then against Dravid in the IPL and against teams coached by him, said he wanted the association to carry on. Dravid, though, decided not to seek an extension after the current term ends with the T20 World Cup 2024.
"I tried convincing him to stay, but obviously, there are a lot of things that he needs to look after as well," Rohit said. "But yeah, I've personally enjoyed my time with him. I'm sure the rest of the guys will say the same. It's been great working with him and I hope…I'm not going to say anything, actually. I'm not going to say anything."
In the end Rohit was trying not to jinx it by saying that he hoped they sent Dravid off with a trophy. He could look back at fond memories, though. "We have not really thought of it," Rohit said when asked if they were looking to do something special for the outgoing coach. "But my equation with him goes a long way back. He was my first international captain when I made my debut in Ireland. Then I've seen him play while I was just coming into the team, Test matches, when he was captain. And such a big role model for all of us. Growing up, we watched him play.
"We know what he's achieved personally as a player and also what he's done for the team over the years, bailing out the team from difficult situations. And that is what he's known for. He's shown a lot of great determination throughout his career, and that is something that, when he came here as a coach, I wanted to learn from him. It's been very fruitful, other than the big silverware I think we've won all the major tournaments and series and all of that.
"Having said that, I think I've enjoyed every bit of it, working with him, deciding what direction the team needs to head. And for him to buy into that thought makes a huge difference. And he was the first one who came and said, this is what we need to do as a team."
That missing silverware has become a bit of a stumbling block for India. Rohit's international career began in 2007 when he was part of the T20 World Cup winning team. Virat Kohli was part of the ODI World Cup win in 2011. They both won the Champions Trophy in 2013. Since then, though, India haven't won a world title. Losing the final after a dominant run at home in last year's ODI World Cup left Rohit heartbroken. He has spoken of the struggle getting out of that funk. Now, he said, he wanted to not think of the title before making it to the summit clash.
"I have thought a lot about all this," Rohit said. "Now I'm just going to play my game and help the team in whatever way I can and get everyone together to play as a team. That is what I'm going to be focusing on. Not looking at the larger picture. I don't think those kinds of thoughts will help so much. Staying in the present and doing what is required at that particular time which is important, and I'll be focusing on that.
"I'm sure everyone in the team have their own way of dealing with tournaments like World Cup. And I'm sure they'll take the right calls as well. But for me, I think it's important not to look too far ahead. Just think about what we need to do tomorrow. Play the game well and then take it from there. We won't think too much and put ourselves under pressure."

Sidharth Monga is a senior writer at ESPNcricinfo