So a completely unoriginal post coming up except for the fact that I just might be one of the reasons in a tiny little way for this soliloquy from the author.
When I had suddenly decided that I wanted to take a side on the “Chicken/Egg first” of the Sachin/Dravid conundrum that often turned up in practically any corner of the cricketing world! And so it goes..with due respect…
In the twenty-six years of my life, I had never tried to write a blog nor did I have any real reason to do so. When I was in my teens, I occasionally made futile attempts to write a diary that were no more than collection of facts and events, nothing from the heart! However, I chose this hour on this significant day, an emotional day that I spent dwelling on past memories, to write a few words straight out of my heart as a tribute to one person I admire the most – Rahul Dravid.
When the news of his retirement broke, I was not aware of the fact that Rahul called for a press conference the previous day. He made it a less significant one, unlike Ganguly and Kumble who chose to have a farewell match and left the playing field amidst standing ovation of a packed crowd, a lap of honour on teammates’ shoulders and applauds from opposition, full attention and coverage of media, award ceremony etc. This is what Rahul Dravid is all about, this is how he has been, is and will be. He read out the short speech - which he must have carefully prepared - in front of his family, friends and a few media personnel and in a few minutes, left the stage – left 17 glorious years of international career!
What is so special about Rahul Dravid? Yes, he is handsome, smart, and absolutely classic when it comes to batting, technically sound. But aren’t there others who are more handsome, smart and with better batting records?! There is something beyond all the external factors that make him the man he is. Rahul Dravid is a phenomenal down-to-earth human being in the first place. Words like honesty, dignity, respect, humility will always find their places in any of the articles or blogs written by anyone about him. Even in his short speech, he made it a point that he is a man of dignity and he tried to give his best to the country and more importantly to the team.
Not once in his career did he lose this humility, self-respect and respect from others. From the days of Match-Fixing to the days of ‘Monkey Business’, he wasn’t involved in any controversy. There were never any historical statements or interviews (the Bradman’s oration was an honour that was GIVEN to him). Even Anil Kumble, who in my opinion is the closest behind Rahul Dravid and Vishwanathan Anand when it comes to humility, dignity, self-respect and such traits, made that blatant statement after the Sydney test - ‘only one team played with the right spirit’.
The opposition bowlers (known specifically for sledging) tried in vain to intimidate him. The only occasion that I could recollect - when he responded with a stern stare - was when Michael Slater was all furious about an appeal for a catch turned down! The ability to stay focussed on the field and on the job in hand, be it after a wild chase after a ball outside off stump, or after a snarling bouncer hit right on the helmet, or after he dropped a catch at the first slip, is what makes him special. To him every ball bowled and every minute batted was important, they were to be treated with utmost respect and concentration. Rahul himself probably built ‘The Wall’, brick by brick, meticulously!
I have had a several arguments with friends throughout my life over ‘Dravid Vs Sachin’. To me, with no disrespect to Sachin, it has always been and will be Dravid. He is one brilliant person, cricketer who remained in the shadow of Sachin, who was not given the due credit he deserved. People say if he had been in any other era, he would have been more popular. Bullshit! The world would never have appreciated this sheer brilliant personality no matter what, for he cannot and will not play cricket for the crowds! He is boring, calculated, defensive, tiring, a grinding machine, makes one fall asleep while watching a match. How many times had he faced irritating and frustrating comments from media and fans about his batting in one-day cricket? All the people who posted on Facebook about them going to miss Dravid, haven’t they ever criticized him (even while secretly admiring him) for his boring stay at the crease? They knew they needed him, for there was no one who can confidently play on bouncy pitches! Yet, they HAD to criticize. His captains made a joke out of him, asking him to open, bat at seven, and keep wickets, at times even bowl! The selectors did not treat him with respect, he was dropped often and was surprisingly called for a One-day series in England when the Rainas and Rohits were all jumping around to save themselves from the bouncy and seaming tracks. Did anyone stand up for him on those occasions? No. Did he make an issue out of any of those? No. Will Sachin EVER be treated that way?!! – A big No. I admire this man for these far deeper reasons – Dignity and Self Respect. It is always difficult for someone of his stature to maintain such levels of dignity, especially in India. I cannot think of any other contemporary Indian personality on par with Dravid when it comes to dignity.
At this stage of life, having chosen Management as career, I am truly scared about the ways of the world and have a lot of self-doubt about my success in a job in the industry. Many people around me here at IIM, are tearing apart their dignity and self-respect for things as trivial as marks! They easily lie about the placement reports and are least bothered about how misleading the information is and that it is the lives of 120 odd individuals that they are playing with. The desperate PR to attract talent and to make the institute go global, unbelievable! Why do we want to go by the ‘slam bang Dhoni’ way? Why not the ‘Classical Dravid’ way? There is no place for patience, truth, honesty here. I feel disappointed to find the huge gap between the real world and the perceived one. Nevertheless, today I decided to stop blaming others for their acts or words and will try to stick to the ‘Dravid way’ no matter what. When a situation comes where I do not know what stand to take, I would think of Dravid and take it and I am sure I would be taking the right one.
I might not be privileged to watch him bat ever again, and the world might forget him for the person he is (if not the cricketer) but for me, he is more than a batsman or a cricketer. He is Rahul Dravid.”
Sums up the F1 2010 to the tee! The webber/seb teamgate, alonso/massa fastgate and lot more! This is Formula1!