Rahul understood very early that junior cricket was only a stepping stone to bigger things. This might sound simple but it has to be
understood that a great many youngsters' quest for a place in the State junior cricket teams was only to gain admission in engineering
and medical colleges.
Of course some realised pretty early that they were not cut out to play the game at the highest level and chose instead to seriously
pursue a career in the sciences. In Karnataka, as indeed in a few other states in the country, representing the state in a major sport
helped to gain admission to `professional' colleges. Engineering and medical colleges in the State had a quota for sportsmen and getting
into one of the many junior state teams (Under-13, Under-15, Under-17, and Under-19) was, for many, one of the easier ways to gain admission
through the quota system.
The admission process into these courses was so intense that students usually needed marks in excess of 95 per cent to be considered
for merit seats. The grace marks that went with sports quota thus came in handy in many situations. Indeed many a cricketer went through
junior cricket with the sole aim of squeezing into these professional courses.
But this was not the case with Rahul. His ambitions in the game were far greater, as will be revealed throughout this book. On completion
of his ICSE, he sat with his parents to decide his future. Rahul was very clear that he did not want to seek a career in either engineering or
medicine as it would seriously curtail his pursuit of cricket.
``Rahul told us (the parents) that he would opt for a course in commerce. If by chance he did not make it big in the game,
he assured us that he would concentrate on a course in business management and get into the corporate world. We were in a position
to asses his potential in the corporate world and knew that he could make it big there even at a later stage. But since his interests
and love lay in playing cricket we decided to back him to see how far he could go,'' said Sharad Dravid.