Bangalore:When Rahul Dravid, GR Viswanath, Dilip Vengsarkar and Yuvarj Singh talk highly of a young batsman, he ought to be taken note of.
The word is that he is in the Dravid mould. Spends long hours at the nets and scores big hundreds. Intriguingly, his name is also Rahul.
An ardent fan of Sunil Gavaskar, his father Lokesh named him Rahul, mistaking that his icon's son is also called Rahul.
"I was a huge fan of Gavaskar. So when my son was born (18-4-1992), I wanted to name him after my icon's son, and also after Rahul Gandhi. For some reason, I thought Gavaskar's son name was Rahul, when it actually was Rohan," said Lokesh a former Bangalore University player.
But it is not the name that has drawn attention. K L Rahul, short-listed in the 30 Indian probables for the under-19 championship in South Africa (January 2010), scored runs in tons even as an 11-year old.
In 2004, he carved two back to back hundreds (200 and 262 not out) in the inter-zonal tournament conducted by the Karnataka State Cricket Association.
He followed it up with scores of 91 and 71 to aggregate a whopping 650 runs in five innings.
He amassed 450 runs, including three centuries and a 65, in the South Zone Inter-State under-13 tournament the same season. His consistent showing in the under-15 Vijay Hazare tournament earned him a call to the National Cricket Academy.
Since then, Rahul has been on a run-accumulating roll, making life miserable for bowlers.
Dravid, who has closely watched his namesake at the NCA nets, rates him highly and is hopeful that the 17-year-old will play Ranji Trophy for Karnataka soon.
Vengsarkar and Yuvraj, who watched the youngster in the Col C K Nayudu under-22 game at Mumbai, have been in awe of his batting potential.
But when GR Viswanath talks about him, it ought to be taken seriously, for the NCA batting coach seldom speaks.
"I have been watching him. There is no doubt about his talent. He is a very good prospect," said Viswanath.
Rahul is confident that he will be able to live up to the expectations of Viswanath and Dravid, his role model.
"Everything has fallen in place and I am getting the results for the hard work I have put in. The way I have been performing is very good," said Rahul.
Though he has produced many match-winning innings at the crease, the Karnataka under-19 captain cherishes two knocks.
"One is the unbeaten 262 I scored against Bangalore Zone in the inter-zonal under-13 tournament. The other is the 125 I made against D Y Patil Academy this year in the MRF Trophy," said Rahul.
The youngster, determined to scale higher peaks, spends long hours at the NCA, much after his teammates have gone to bed. He bats on and on, even past 10 in the night, to realise his dream of playing for India.