|Image Courtesy: Google Images|
The Marathon is over. The Run for a cause has touched the finish line. A pilgrimage has ended. The cruise ship has finally reached the shores. Rahul Dravid has eventually called it a day; gracefully and wilfully hands over the baton, leaving behind a legacy. Even that was done in a typical Dravid fashion- calm, composed, modest and humbled; just like the way he had approached his business for the last 16 years. His swansong is a testimony to his persona. Yes, his farewell speech is his last patent, last novel; Bradman Oration his last hurrah. The ‘Wall’ now becomes a ‘Monument’ of pride and character. But the gentleman’s game will miss the Game’s ultimate gentleman.
Before he made his tryst with destiny when he crafted a gritty 95 at Lords on debut, ‘Patience’ was normally associated only with poets and artists. As the former Australian quick Jason Gillespie said,” The game of Cricket is the battle between bat and ball. Its about who loses the patience first and Rahul just beat us at patience”. And the tag of being the man to have faced more deliveries than any other in the history of the game, is a prized possession, another jewel in the crown. To go by the Zaltzmanian way of playing with numbers, here it is; seven-hundred-seventeen hours at the crease which rounds off to full thirty days. Take a bow!!
It is not easier to be a Dravid fan. You need to tick a few boxes to qualify to be one.
One. A girl, somewhere in the twenties or thirties or may be even forties with a heart that longs for chocolate boys; for Rahul’s name often pops up in their list of most desirable man.
Two. It’s a tough ask. You must be a cricket purist; someone who also rubbishes the world beyond Old School Cricket; who believes that batsmen should resort to playing text book shots rather than introducing upar-cuts, helicopters, switch-hits and Dil-scoops.
Rahul is a living example that you don’t need self promotion to succeed. “Do your best and the rest will take its course”is his mantra. A captain’s go-to man or the team’s go-to man, he has played almost all the possible roles with sheer dedication and involvement. Team over self always defined his game. Opening the innings, Wicket keeping, Finishing the game, Anchoring the batting, Playing second fiddle; he was always there to put his hand up. Epics at Calcutta and Adelaide were thus born, Missions at Headingly and Rawalpindi were thus accomplished, Purple Patches were thus hit in 2002 and 2011. Gentlemanly mannerism always dictated his work; No stares, no swear words, no middle finger communication with the crowds and no shirt-stripping histrionics; all he knew was a gentle smile( or at the maximum, the thumping of fists in the air and raising his bat as if yelling ‘on-your-face’ to his critics when he produced a masterpiece in the famous Calcutta test of 2001).
|Laxman:281 Dravid:180 Venue: Eden Gardens, Calcutta! You remember?|
|Writing is on the WALL|
He might never pull you out of your seats, for he is not swashbuckling but when he is in the middle, it’s a stamped assurance that the country is safe in his hands; a whip through the midwicket, the signature cover drive, the fine leg glance; the opposition begins to fade away….
For budding cricketers, he is their address; his shots, their Bible; his persona, their belief. Thank you Rahul Dravid. You’ve always been overshadowed throughout your career but for now, just live on with these glowing tributes and eulogies. Cherish being in the spotlight now…..
Cricket bids an emotional goodbye!!!
|Image Courtesy: Google Images|
Rahul Dravid – Team India’s reluctant hero (thehindu.com)