Today, the cricketing world bid adieu to one of the all time legends- Rahul Dravid. Cricket today witnessed one of its saddest hours when the legend announced his retirement from international and domestic cricket. Legends are not to be forgotten rather cherished immaterial of how they entered the 22 yard pitch to take guard or how they exited for one last time. It is an emotional moment in our lives ,we Indians in particular, as we pay our last tributes to a selfless and truly a wholesome cricketer for his glorious service to the game of cricket.
SWEATS DON’T FALL DOWN EASILY
Rahul Dravid, a name inched in all our lives and considered as the second best in India after Tendulkar and considered among the world perhaps an inch greater than Sachin when he (Dravid) is at his best. He is not a gifted talent but a hard working cricketer who sweats his heart out in the 22 yard battlefield through perseverance, patience and intense concentration. His elegance stroke making and ability to leave the ball was the hallmark of his batting style. He had everything to offer and was a full dimensional textbook cricketer. His career path is hard fought, battles lost, overlapped with emotional moments, capturing victories, but most importantly respected and overwhelmed. But he left the green pitch for one last time with the most painful memory for us to digest. My heart ached to see the stumps, which was as safe behind him as it could ever be behind a batsman, getting rattled and going for a cartwheel.
THE BEST TEAM MAN
Among all the legends of Indian Cricket, Rahul Dravid is right up at the top in the list of best team players. He took the gloves when the team needed. He captained the side with honor and might have a win-loss ratio of mere 1.3 with only Ganguly and Dhoni ahead of him but his entry as a captain was critical. He became the leader who could unite a team which was dismantling with the Chappell-Ganguly Saga. He kept waiting lonely at the slips but grabbing 210 catches by thriving through slipping down the sitters. He pushed himself up the order whenever needed. He even carried the bat and come out after a mere ten minute break to open again in the 2nd innings at the Oval in his last England tour. He pocketed the West Indies tour and England tour in his reign of captaincy despite getting eliminated early in the 2007 World Cup. When critics questioned his ability he silenced them with an extraordinary performances and match winning knocks in 2011. After such a glorious year and just one poor series it is a shocker his career has halted to an abrupt end. Though it was his decision to call it quits, it was more of a decision or an initiative to come forward and be the first among the big 3-Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, to pave inroads for youngsters to groom.
SEND OFF COULD HAVE BEEN ON A GREEN PITCH
A testimonial match at Banglore could have been fitting finale rather than a press conference. BCCI should have showered the legend with a test match in Bangalore in the next series. For any player it would itch their minds as they leave the grass knowing this will be their last time and thereby raising the bat to acknowledge the applause for the final time. As they fade away into the dressing room the grass becomes less green.
A MAN OF CHARACTER
The legend is a man of true character who demands respect among his fellow team mates and even among his opposition. He is a role model for many youngsters and a perfect gentleman and so was his flamboyant batting. He walks off with his head held high but with his heart always humble and generous. An excellent communicator with an extraordinary skill of sportsmanship. His accolades are a growing garland but his Bradman Oration in 2011 Australian tour remains a thing of beauty and a class apart. He is a man whose actions reflect the tradition and culture of cricket which seems to have gone with the wind over the years. Dravid will also be remembered also as a man who wore his Indian cap throughout his 164 tests with the same pride as he received it 16 years ago at Lord’s in 1995.
THIS IS RAHUL DRAVID
You bowl to him short, he will not hook it. You bowl to him outside off, he will let it go. You york him, he will crave it out slowly. You bowl to him a beauty, he will respect it. You bowl to him a bouncer, he will let it go past whizzing his nose. But at the same time you bowl to him giving a little width, he will crack it past square. You bowl to him a little full, he will drive it straight past you. You give him room outside off, he will push it through the covers. You bowl to his pads, he will glance it in style. You bowl to his wrists, he will flick it away. You bowl to him a fraction too short, he will punish you with a pull. His offense is impersonated through his defense. HE IS RAHUL DRAVID AND THERE WILL BE NO OTHER.
Taking a leaf out of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poetry this line holds a significant truth for the game of cricket.
“FOR LEGENDS MAY COME AND LEGENDS MAY GO, BUT CRICKET GOES ON FOREVER.”
THANK YOU RAHUL DRAVID.
THANK YOU RAHUL DRAVID.