Paddy Upton, the India team’s newly recruited mental fitness coach, recalled a story about a prominent New Zealand batsman and how it made him think of the great Rahul Dravid.
Upton and Dravid have collaborated extensively over the years, first with the Indian cricket team during his first spell and then with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. However, their relationship dates back much further, to 1996, when Dravid had just made his international debut for India.
Upton, who at the time served as the South African team’s fitness coach, recalls his initial encounter with Dravid and how he was astounded by both his professionalism and demeanour.
“Rahul Dravid had just joined the international squad when I started working with the South African cricket team in 1996 as their fitness trainer. He called me, the South African cricket team’s fitness trainer, during his first India tour of South Africa and said, “I would very much like to buy you a cup of coffee.”
“And the first time I met a young Dravid, he had so many really good questions about getting fit, managing his body, and elevating himself to a new level of professionalism,” Upton told cricket.com.
‘Williamson asked can I have a cup of coffee with you tomorrow’: Paddy Upton
Paddy Upton continued by telling a fascinating and related tale about New Zealand’s skipper Kane Williamson, who years later still made him think of Dravid. After the game, Paddy Upton recalled a breathtaking sight and related an encounter that was identical to one he had with Dravid 14 years before.
Later, when Kane Williamson was on his first tour with the Indian team, Paddy Upton recalled, “I saw him talking to Dravid, Laxman, and Tendulkar after a Test match. That evening, he called me in my room and asked if I could 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 he could advance his game.”
During New Zealand’s 2010 tour of India, Williamson played in his first Test, scoring a century in the first of the three games.