He talked to Dravid, Tendulkar after the match. Asked me 'Can we have coffee?': Upton's fascinating story about NZ star

Updated on Aug 05, 2022 02:35 PM IST
  • Paddy Upton, the recently-appointed mental conditioning coach of India, recalled an instance regarding a star New Zealand cricketer and how it reminded him of the great Rahul Dravid.
Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in a still from 2011. (Getty)
Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar in a still from 2011. (Getty)
By, New Delhi

Paddy Upton, the recently-appointed mental conditioning coach of India, has named two of the most professional cricketers he has come across, one of which is head coach Rahul Dravid. Upton has worked closely with Dravid, when he was with the Indian cricket team during his first stint and later with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, but their story goes back a long way, 1996 to be precise, when Dravid had just made his debut for the Indian team. Upton, who was the fitness trainer of the South African team back then, recalled his first meeting with Dravid and how was he was bowled over by his professionalism and conduct.

"I was the fitness trainer with the South African cricket team from 1996 and Rahul Dravid had just made it into the international team. During his first India tour of South Africa, he picked up the phone to me as the fitness trainer of the South African cricket team and said – and there was no such thing as a fitness trainer in world cricket at that time; South Africa was the first – and Rahul phoned me in my hotel room and said 'I would very much like to buy you a cup of coffee. I've got a few questions for you. And the first time when I met a young Dravid, he had so many really good questions about getting fit, managing his body, taking himself to a new level of professionalism," Upton said while talking to cricket.com.

He then narrated an interesting and similar story about New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who years later reminded him of Dravid. Williamson made his Test debut during New Zealand's tour of India in 2010, where he scored a century on debut in the first of the three matches. After the match got over, Upton recalled a stunning sight and narrated a incident similar to what he had experienced with Dravid 14 years ago.

"And some years later, when I was with the Indian team and Kane Williamson came on his first tour, I watched him talking to Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar after a Test match, and that evening he phoned me in my room and asked can I have a cup of coffee with you tomorrow, and like Dravid, a young Kane Williamson came to me with some really good questions about how can he take his game forward," revealed Upton.

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