Saturday, September 17, 2011

I will simply go ahead and call this article Rahul Dravid

I don't have a stack of statistics to throw or a bunch of anecdotes to quote but if it wasn't for one man I wouldn't have realised the need for perfection in anything you do, The Wall. He is also sometimes known as Rahul Sharad Dravid when his father is angry and summons him to his room.

I remember watching his debut at the Lord's. A recorded footage of course. Me, being the Sourav fan I am, usually skipped the rest of the match every time except for Dada's innings. I grew up as the kid who loved every batsman who could clear the boundary. If you were able to hit a six, you were a superman to me. Be it Tendulkar or Agarkar. Dravid always came off as the guy who slowed things down, brought the run-rate to single digit figures as soon as Sehwag or Sachin got out. But once I crossed the age of 15, run-rate and sixes did not mean as much as consistency or  temperament. 

I started following test cricket more religiously. Dravid and Laxman made me assure myself that white kits are more pleasing to the eye than the coloured kits. With his cover drives and late cuts, it was love at first sight with Dravid. It was that period of school life where discussing stuff like batting average and bowling figures was thought to be  'cool'.  And it was RSD's side who always won the argument when it came to batting average. He made us realise how hard it was to remain consistent. And the guy who was mocked at for bringing the run-rate down and slowing down the game ended up scoring one of the fastest ODI half centuries in the history of Indian cricket.

Dravid is that corporate guy who would come to a business meeting with a tie and shoes even if it was wear-a-t-shirt-to-work day. He was a man who respected the game. He was the man who taught us how to look at it. Dravid was charming and was loved by the girls for the way he was. Dravid was a text book cricketer who was loved by the guys for the magic he cast on the field. He was someone who could not be hated. He was someone who could not be not loved.

He has played at all the positions, fielded at all the positions, kept wickets, bowled, took wickets. He would probably transform into a coach for the Indian team in a few years proving that his name is synonymous with Indian cricket, whatever be the format. 

You feel guilty when you expect someone to perform even at the direst situations where there is nearly no hope of recovery. Dravid ended up making us feel more guilty by delivering every single time he was expected to and even when he wasn't. People would scream out loud that the match is a lost cause even then their hearts would hope for a knock from Dravid. Because people knew him. People believed in him.  He broke down when he couldn't get the team past round one during the world cup when he donned the captain's role. That probably was the only role he thinks he couldn't pull off. I would say he was the captain the team did not deserve and that's the reason they faltered, failed under him.

Dravid is that kid in school who slogs day and night to achieve excellence. And having achieved that, struggles harder to maintain the momentum. Dravid, though performing at top levels almost in every game, probably had the fear of failure all along which made him work hard, harder than the rest and hardest of them all. As  Siddhartha Vaidyanathan has mentioned here  Dravid was the player who never once came into the field without his shirts tucked in. He was the worshipper of the game. He held it that close to his heart.

He hasn't played the blame game. He hasn't criticised his team mates or other players of the game for that matter. He has always been humble, even when he walked into the field with his head held high. He never gave excuses when he failed to exceed expectations. He just did better in the next game. When the formats changed, the game changed, the colours changed, one man remained consistent.

Most of us ended up praising some other performance in the games where Dravid's innings played an integral part but did not contain as many boundaries or wickets. We ended up cursing him when he declared when Sachin was on 194 at Multan. Blaming him for the pathetic exit in 2007.

He endured all that. 
Because he is whatever the country wants him to be. Because sometimes truth is not good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. They want their faith to be rewarded. 

A hero. A hero whom we did not deserve. A hero we needed. He was the silent guardian, a watchful protector, the Dark Knight of Indian cricket.


  1. Minor quibble on the post. Ajit Agarkar holds the record for the fastest ODI 50 by an Indian. Dravid missed it by one ball.

  2. Brilliantly written! Dark Knight of Indian Cricket. True that.

  3. My bad. Will edit off.

    Thank you so much for reading. Keep visiting :)

  4. The last two lines brought me tears.. Truly, I am proud being a fan of the 'Buffalo Soldier'.. Nice article..

  5. Brilliant read . Especially loved that bit about being 15 year olds and talking of stats .

  6. Brilliantly written Vignesh.... Truly Dark knight of Indian Cricket.
    Fans realize how much they love someone only after that person departs..Love dravid now more than ever..

  7. Thank you Hathim for reading. Who wouldn't be proud :)

    Thank you Chan, everyone has been a 15 year old at some point, no?

    Thank you Avinash :)

    Keep visiting.

  8. I've read this before.
    Someone on my fb friend list had shared it, I think. Or twitter, maybe.
    And I read it again now.
    Stray tears..

  9. Just someone, thank you very much :)

  10. Blindly true, the one and only wall of indian cricket, why not to mention as international cricket, still keeping the game alive. Hats off to Dravid ...!!!

  11. My favorite ! Dark Knight indeed, he is.

  12. awesome article!! Dark knight part was brilliant n so true!!

  13. brilliant read! loved it. especially the DARK KNIGHT part. apt!