Former India left-arm pacer Irfan Pathan has termed Rahul Dravid’s decision to head the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru as the “best thing that has happened to Indian cricket”.
Dravid recently reapplied for the position of Head of Cricket at the NCA after his tenure expired. With no other candidate applying for the post, BCCI has extended the deadline for applications but Dravid remains the front-runner to retain the position.
Speaking to Crictracker, Irfan Pathan hailed Dravid for his move to mentor the next generation. The former cricketer, who himself has completed the Level 2 coaching course at NCA, opined:
“The best thing that has happened to Indian cricket is Rahul (Dravid) getting associated with NCA. I have a huge amount of respect for him. Rahul bhai has performed his role with utmost sincerity. Look, we know how Rahul Dravid got involved in U19 and India A. But how he gets involved in each and every coach as well in terms of sharing his knowledge, listening from their perspective as well which for a guy of his calibre is a big task.”
“But he does it with such ease. That’s why you have huge amount of respect. It doesn’t mater if you have played 1 or 100 first-class games, he gives you same amount of respect.”
Asked if Dravid had a special message for him, Pathan did not divulge too much details and replied:
“His message was very clear to me and had a lot of positive things to say about me because he noticed me as I personally share a great rapport with him. What he said to me remains between us but you should ask him.”
Earlier in the day, ex-cricketers Brad Hogg and Salman Butt also backed Dravid’s move to reapply for the NCA post. By doing so, Dravid effectively ended speculation of him being in line to replace Ravi Shastri as Team India coach.
Would love to coach an IPL franchise: Irfan Pathan
In the same interaction, Irfan Pathan was also asked if he would be interested in taking up a coaching role with an IPL franchise. The former pacer replied in the affirmative and said:
“Yes, I would love to do that going forward and hopefully it will happen.”
Coaching is not something new to Irfan Pathan. He played for Jammu & Kashmir as a coach-cum-player and did a more than decent job. On thoughts of becoming a full-time coach, Irfan Pathan commented:
“I understand basic nitty-gritty of technical side of batting, the stance, the head position, the bat flow and other things. I understand basic structure of bowling biomechanics as well. So I like to help out people. Hopefully in future when something comes up, I will definitely take up and would love to help out Indian cricket directly or indirectly.”
36-year-old Irfan Pathan represented India in 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is, claiming 301 international scalps.