Kolkata: A legend in all senses of the term, Rahul Dravid has played a crucial role for Indian cricket in bringing up the young talent to the forefront. Today, he is man who has been entrusted with the responsibility of the Indian batting at all levels-from the Indian U-19 team, the India A side to the senior team (only for overseas tours). His batting technique might not be very modern but it was definitely very stylish and had class written all over it and Sudip Chatterjee, the young Bengal southpaw is following his footsteps and dreaming of making it big someday.
In the last season of the Ranji Trophy, he scored more than 500 runs in the domestic season and his elegant stroke play and exquisite timing is no less than a treat to watch. His consistent performances in the domestic arena has earned him a place in the India A squad for the four-day matches in South Africa later this year.
The youngster earlier having worked with the legendary VVS Laxman during the, ‘Vision 2020’ project of the Cricket Association of Bengal would now get the guidance of another Indian legend, who many refer to as, ‘The Wall’ of Indian cricket.
SportsCrunch caught up with the Bengal lad who was looking forward to working under India A coach Rahul Dravid.
“Getting inputs from legends like Rahul Dravid is a big gain for me early on in my career. It is a good thing that I will be getting to share many things with them and I am really looking forward to playing under him,” said Sudip.
Totally unaware of his call-up to the India A team, the Barasat boy was elated when he heard this news and said that he would grab this opportunity with open arms. “It is every Indian cricketer’s dream to play for the country one day. I am happy that I got this opportunity but I will utilise this opportunity and make it count,” said Sudip.
An avid lover of sports right from his childhood, Sudip took up cricket at the age of eight at the Subhash Institute Club in Barasat under the watchful eyes of his coach Prasenjit Bhattacharya. He also played for Kumartuli and Kalighat before making his debut for Bengal in 2012. “From my childhood, I had an attraction towards sports and I loved cricket. My parents also supported me,” said Sudip.
Since then, it’s been five years and it and today, he is one of the best batsman at the domestic level. Some even tout him to be representing the national team at the senior level very soon.
Former Bengal cricketer and a highly experienced coach in the Maidan cricketing circuit Abdul Monayem spoke to SportsCrunch over the phone where he narrated an incident from the past.
“When I first saw Sudip play at the U-19 level, I remember that a letter was sent by Dav Whatmore to the CAB which said that this young talent should be nurtured well as there’s a high chance of him playing for India one day,” said Monayem.
His preparations for the upcoming tour has been aided by the presence of quality pacers like Mohammad Shami and Ashoke Dinda, both of whom have represented India.
Said Sudip,”They are top quality bowlers and to train with them is a good learning experience. So playing a match becomes easy after that as I have trained with good bowlers in the nets.”
On the rapport he shares with the other members of the India A team, he said, “I have had a lot of camps with Karun Nair and we share a good rapport with each other. I share a good relationship with most of the members.”
An ardent fan of Sachin Tendulkar, he feels that the South African pitches have more bounce and is fast but he is prepared for the challenge.
“As a batsman, I improve every day but I’m mentally prepared and ready for the challenge,” said the southpaw.
In recent times, there has been talks of the India A team pulling out of South Africa tour as Australia A have opted to boycott the same due to the pay dispute that’s headlining Australian cricket at the moment.
On asked as to whether this had hampered his preparations, Sudip said, “No, these talks didn’t hamper my preparations. Obviously it would have been disappointing if India A had pulled out of the tour but according to the information I have, the four day matches would begin from August 12.”
In a couple of days he would fly to Bengaluru where he would lead the CAB XI in a KSCA invitational tournament. Asked about the challenge, he said, ” We have done well in the past. Bengal are the defending champions and I am looking forward to doing well.”