Rahul Dravid is widely regarded as one of the best cricketers to have come out from India. He was recently inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame for his astonishing achievements. Dravid became only the fifth Indian to receive this honour after Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Bishan Singh Bedi and Anil Kumble.
As far as Dravid’s cricketing credentials are concerned – he has aggregated 13,288 runs in 164 Tests with 36 centuries and 10,889 runs in 344 ODIs with 12 centuries during his 16-year long international journey.
However, all of these accomplishments wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Bangalore United Cricket Club (BUCC) and Dravid recently acknowledged this fact.
"For me, whatever I achieved for India, the foundation for it was laid at BUCC. I joined the club as a 13-year-old. The late Mr Tarapore was our coach at St. Joseph Boys' High School. He saw some talent and asked my good friend Fazal (Khaleel) and me to join the club. I think when you talk about my career highlights, to be asked by Tarapore sir to join BUCC, which had cricketers like Kiri (Syed Kirmani), Roger (Binny), Carlton Saldanha was amazing. Asked by him to be come to the nets felt like playing for India, there was a sense of achievement," he quoted as saying by TOI.
Dravid, the club's 45-year-old president, spoke at length as how the club cricket helped him to shape his career as an international cricketer.
"Club cricket is the bedrock of all the success Karnataka cricket has had over the years. Without the number of (league) matches we play, the opportunities club cricket offers to young players to play their game, hone their skills and rub shoulders with senior players, all this would not have been possible," he added.
Soon after his retirement in 2012, Dravid turned up to play for KSCA Group I Division II league match against Sri Jayachamarajendra Cricket Club and scored a 72-ball 108 (15x4, 3x6).
Recalling why he opted to play club cricket then, the former India captain said, "When I retired from international cricket, BUCC was in Division II and it was little disappointing because when I started we were in first division. So, I thought, let us try and bring the club back into first division. I got an opportunity to play with many from the younger generation and on matting surface after a long time. It was a different experience. Unfortunately, I don't think my effort got the team through. Just after the first game, my body started screaming and I found it difficult. But it's really nice to see current players from BUCC like Liyan Khan and Sharath Srinivas making good progress."
Dravid also expressed his gratitude towards BUCC for infusing discipline and dedication in him at a young age.
"We had to be on time for nets in whites and with the shoes polished. Small, yet significant things like discipline held us in good stead in whatever we did. In 1989-90, I was sharing a dressing room with the legends. It was an incredible boost to my international cricket," he concluded.
(With TOI inputs)