The name ‘Rahul’ and Karnataka-connect isn’t the only facet which kept India cricketer KL Rahul in public glare; his technical finesse may remind one of Rahul Dravid (his idol) but not many know that his father actually wanted to call him ‘Rohan’ – after Sunil Gavaskar’s son. He thought Gavaskar’s son was called Rahul. The 24-year-old borrowed from both the greats and made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in the African hinterland. He ended up being the ‘Man of the Series’ with 196 runs in three matches.

The limited-overs debut came a couple of years after he announced his arrival in whites Down Under.

He not only can stick to the wicket when needed, the lad is a master at having a go at the bowlers. His unbeaten 100 came off 115 balls which included seven fours and a six, his 63 not out comprised four fours and two sixes in 70 balls.

Rahul spent most of his childhood in Mangalore but imbibed the rich Karnataka cricket history once he moved to Bengaluru at the age of 17. Since then, the construction of the flyover to Team India began.

He already had the blessing of Dravid; even Proteas speedster Dale Steyn predicted his India sojourn long before it happened after the bowler saw his artsy footwork in the middle.

Rahul earned the tag of a Test specialist with two hundreds in the long form. He lived every moment of the initial days of butterflies and greenery. But soon, he realised the dream to appear for India in all formats isn’t easy. He was adamant to establish himself as a batsman for all seasons and positions.

The handsome hundred is an example of pent up emotions.

It could be skipper MS Dhoni’s presence or the confidence gained from Virat Kohli (his Test skipper) – Rahul is no more the mild teenager who was written off after a lacklustre Test debut.

Today, he is stylish, both as a batsman and as a youth icon – with long hair and funky tattoos.

“To all cricketers who have been branded as Test players before, I want to tell that there will be coaches and players in the dressing room who can tell you that you are not good enough for a certain format. I never thought that they were right. I knew I was blessed with certain skills,” he said after the completion of the ODI series which India won 3-0 at the Harare Sports Club.

Rahul scored his first Test ton last year against Australia in Sydney, the second came against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Before he packed his bag for the African sojourn, he told in an interview that he didn’t even know the opponents which reeked self-confidence.

It is not easy to follow Zimbabwe cricketers, barring the skeletal side, considering the amount of cricket they play throughout the year.

But for a player, who made his Test debut two years before the ODI appearance, he didn’t have the urge to browse a few videos as part of the tour preparation.

He knew the pressure and believed he could handle it.

“I have had international exposure before and I am well-versed with the amount of pressure involved. A lot goes in the mind and one doesn’t know what to expect when taking guard. But having played Tests before, I know how to overcome the nervousness youngsters face on debut,” he said in an interview with an English daily, before the flight to Zimbabwe.

Like Dravid, he also keeps wickets occasionally and understands the significance of fielding in international cricket. Rahul stood behind the stumps for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL and his all-round effort (four half-centuries) earned him brownie points.

Rahul wanted to spend more time with Dhoni before the tour to learn the art of wicket-keeping.

In the same interaction, he had mentioned: “I was sad when he retired from Tests. I was hoping to play more Test cricket with him so that I could get to learn more about the game. He comes with so much experience, so many pressure games, ups and downs; learning from him would have been great. I am happy it is finally happening. I have the opportunity to spend some more time with him.”

The youngster observed the field changes made by Dhoni, standing at first slip, and didn’t think twice before asking him the reason behind the placements.

“He'd explain why, what was the thought process of moving the fielder somewhere or giving someone the ball over somebody else,” he added.

Can Rahul be the next Dravid of Team India?

India wouldn’t mind a wicket-keeper who would bat at No 3 after Dhoni’s retirement.