Let me tell you an interesting incident that I read about in the biography on Rahul Dravid written by Vedam Jaishankar.
- Rahul Dravid was selected to represent South Zone in the inter-zonal under-14 competitionsto be held at Nagpur. During those times, Rahul Dravid and Fazal Khaleel were the best of friends and were almost always room-mates during these tournaments. The tournament had started and quite a few matches were over. Both Rahul Dravid and Fazal Khaleel were having a pretty good tournament.
- Those times, players from all the zones lived in the same hotel and were told to stand in a queue to get their evening snacks and dinner. One evening, after all the matches were finished for the day, all the players were standing in line to get a taste of Nagpur’s famous orange juice.
- Obviously, Dravid and Fazal were standing together and were discussing the proceedings of the day. Dravid had scored a century on that same day and Fazal too had a good match. They were also discussing about the events of other matches and what was going on at other venues.
- There was a buzz in the line and every kid was talking about what their individual performances. That’s when Rahul Dravid pointed at a weird looking long haired boy standing quite a few feet ahead of them.
Fazal and Dravid were talking too!
Dravid: Fazal, that short, weird looking, long haired boy who is standing there, he will play for India within the next two years.
Fazal: (in disbelief) What? Are you joking? How did you come to that conclusion?
Dravid: He is representing West Zone. Just yesterday, he scored a brilliant 200 against East Zone.
Fazal: (dismissive tone) Both me and you have scored 100s more than once in the tournament and so have many others. A 200 here does not mean one is fit to play for India. That too in the next two years.
Dravid: Just wait and watch, Fazal.
Fazal: OK, let’s wait and watch.
Two years later, Dravid and Fazal Khaleel were playing for Karnataka under-16 and were on a tour, when the Indian team for the Pakistan tour was announced.
- They were watching TV in the hotel lobby. The selection of a small boy to the team had created some media hype and the news was about that small boy. Dravid and Fazal then looked in astonishment at each other.
- Dravid became really excited and told Fazal “Didn’t I tell you? Didn’t I tell you?”Fazal could not believe his eyes. That short weird looking long-haired boy that Dravid had pointed to in that Nagpur hotel 2 years ago had made it to the Indian National Cricket Team and within 2 years.
That short, weird looking, long haired boy, incidentally, was SACHIN TENDULKAR.
The first time you read it, you get GOOSEBUMPS!