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From Being Sanju Samson's Coach To Attending His Wedding, Rahul Dravid's Been A Great Mentor

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What is it that makes a teacher something more than just that? A mentor, an idol, somebody one would be extremely lucky to have in their life as a guiding light? For Sanju Samson, former Indian batsman and the current head of the National Cricket Academy, Rahul Dravid has been all those things for the better half of the decade. 

It was recently announced that the 25-year-old will be replacing Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan in the upcoming T20I series against a visiting West Indies side which is scheduled to take place later this week. 

Sanju Samson gets a second wind as he returns to the India squad as a replacement opener for the West Indies series. https://t.co/6IWyxUE6lO

— ICC (@ICC) November 27, 2019

Following the update, Samson spoke about Dravid's influence on his cricketing career in an interview with MensXP.

“I consider myself to be extremely lucky that I was being trained by someone as great as Rahul Dravid ever since my teenage days,” he says. “Whether it was the India A team or Rajasthan Royals or Delhi Daredevils, I think I was very fortunate to build my career with him by my side.”

Sanju Samson thanked Rahul Dravid for Everything ! https://t.co/gs99jUOHJh

— ICT - Bleed Blue (@ICT_Bleed) April 11, 2017

Despite making a name for himself in the domestic circuit, the only opportunity Samson got to play for the national Indian roster was a 2015 T20I match against Zimbabwe in Harare. Since then, the talented yet unlucky wicket-keeper batsman has been looking to return to the squad but didn't get the call until now. 

And even though he describes his career as a “roller coaster ride”, the success he saw during multiple Ranji Trophy seasons as one of the best athletes Kerala had to offer Samson credits Dravid for the way he bats. 

“I have learnt a lot about my game and the way I bat from him. After every match, we used to talk about the way I played and he'd tell me what I could have done to have a better performance and I have seen a significant improvement within me because of him,” Samson added.

Not only did Dravid make himself available to coach Samson on the field, but also made sure that he'd become a part of the young cricketer's happiness off of it.

When Sanju decided to tie the knot with his college-mate and longtime girlfriend Charulatha in December last year, he decided to keep a very low-key wedding with not more than 30 people being invited to the wedding, including the family members of the bride and the groom. Even then he invited his coach to be a part of such a close gathering and Dravid made sure that he'd be there for him.

“Rahul Sir has been a mentor to me and all players who made their India A debuts in the last few years,” Samson had told ET Panache earlier this year. “He is very approachable. You can just walk up to him for tips.”

Even Prithvi Shaw, the man who led the junior Indian cricket team to U-19 World Cup championship in 2018, has spoken about how Dravid helped him get back on his feet when he was banned from cricket for unintentionally consuming prohibited substances.

This is who Rahul Dravid is. The man who has never believed in showboating but has always put in the work to make himself, his team and eventually his students become better versions of themselves. 


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