need to be audacious, obdurate, even a bit ugly– much like Rahul Dravid, I had actually stated, while starting a tribute on the day he revealed his retirement in 2012.
His cricket, I had actually stated, defies the reasoning of simple statistics. Yet, a few special ones was worthy of mention: that in the history of the video game, just 3 Indians had actually till then retired with a higher away typical than in your home; the other two being Sunil Gavaskar (52.11) and Mohinder Amarnath (51.86 ). Dravid topped them with 53.03. Sachin Tendulkar later retired with a higher away average (54.74) than in your home (52.67 ).
That on the 18 celebrations Dravid had to take guard at zero for one, he averaged 51.94.
[Stroll the Talk– Rahul Dravid in conversation with Shekhar Gupta: ‘The Indian fan today is running world cricket, make no mistake about that … there’s no doubt that they are very requiring’]
That his career greatest, 270, was scored away, in Rawalpindi (2004 ), when he had been available in after Sehwag had been dismissed off the first ball by Shoaib Akhtar. That on the 45 events he was available in to bat after the very first wicket fell between 11 and 20, he averaged 60.54. That with 123.06 shipments in between 2 dismissals, he has been the 2nd most long lasting batsman in the game ever after his modern Jacques Kallis (125.55 ), but then, Kallis never ever had to play South African bowlers in South Africa, and Dravid never got simple runs from an Indian attack.That in one golden
stage in his career between 2002 and 2006, he balanced 100.3 in England, 123.8 in Australia, 77.25 and 80.33 in two series in Pakistan, and 82.66 in the West Indies, helping India defy the old slur of being tigers only at house. He strolled out as an emergency opener 23 times, and never used victimhood on his sleeve, scoring four centuries. We all likewise understand that his world record of 210 Test catches will most likely never be broken. Also remember his partnership with his Bangalore pal Anil Kumble. Caught Dravid bowled Kumble included 55 times on Test scorecards, next only to the Jayawardene-Muralitharan combination. However then, Dravid made his launching six years after Kumble, so he also has the third spot in catcher-bowler rankings with Harbhajan Singh 51 times.It is tough to recall a fantastic cricketing moment in the last 16 years without Dravid in the frame, whether batting or crouching in the beginning slip. And now, with his under-19s, with the ICC World Cup, holding out that sobering truth check: we beat Australia in the Under-19 last in 2012 too, however just one of that group has gone on to bet India (Sandeep Sharma, a solitary T20 International), while five Australians currently have. Who won?That’s essential Dravid for you.If Sachin Tendulkar was the greatest hero and star of Indian cricket ever, Dravid was its most powerful anchor. In his second innings as coach and mentor, he is back because role once again. Dravid, in fact, is not a phenomenon that can be specified by mere data. Due to the fact that statistics can not always describe quality, stature or integrity.M oreoften than not, the quality of his contribution on the field, in the dressing space, at the other end in a long partnership (he was associated with 738 collaborations that yielded 32,039 runs, and holds the world record for 88 century partnerships), was beyond numbers. His runs often came when the group needed them one of the most. No marvel then that till the last big catastrophe of Indian cricket began in England in 2011, just once had India lost a match after Dravid had scored among his 32 centuries. You want more uncommon realities? He averages 65.70 in India’s overseas Test wins, the greatest in our history, and 75.19 in abroad draws, against elite Test sides. When Dravid scored, we conserved the match or won it. This puts in point of view his function in making India very first reach the top ranking in Test cricket, and hold it for 19 months, and never ever mind Greg Chappell.It is not a surprise that his 16 years marked the golden period of Indian cricket when it inspected every box on the efficiency sheet: leading ranking in Tests, a series win versus every Test-playing nation, ODI and T20 World Cup wins and another ODI World Cup final, when India lost just 2 Test series (against Australia and South Africa)at house. Naturally, he did refrain from doing it alone. The happiest coincidence of Indian cricket was that his era was also shared by 5 other exceptional men who all showed one very special quality: competitive pride, but with maturity, self-respect and character.Dravid, Tendulkar, Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman and later M.S. Dhoni made the six-man core of Indian cricket that not just took India to the top, however had earlier helped pull its cricket back from the
catastrophe zone that the whole subcontinent was slipping into at the peak of the late-1990s match-fixing days. They nursed the raw, young skill that walked in, and taught people like Zaheer, Harbhajan, Yuvraj, Sehwag, Gambhir, Mohammad Kaif, the Pathan brothers and later on Virat Kohli to deal with the newly found fame and cash. Harbhajan Singh acknowledged it richly in a’Walk the Talk’interview with me when I asked him how come Indian cricketers of his generation, talent and social background left the trap that destroyed many of their Pakistani contemporaries.E ven in a video game that is now so cut-throat, where a cricketer is only worth as much as the ticket in the last IPL auction, you find brand-new stars informing you how much each owes to Dravid, the counsel and teacher.Simple, useful things like informing novice opener Abhinav Mukund in
the middle of a torrid spell at Lord’s that in a Test innings, stormy phases often come; if you weather them, they will pass. Or shielding another shaky opener, Sadagoppan Ramesh, from a rampaging Brett Lee at Melbourne in 1999, simply after a snorter had actually smashed into his thumb.There’s an interesting prologue to this big-hearted selflessness that he gave the group. It’s understood that Dravid played hockey at the school level before he changed to cricket, but a lesser-known truth is that he played centre-half, the pivot whose task is primarily thankless, stopping the opposition’s forwards and offering the ball back to his own. Perhaps that set him up for the unique function he played, without which his might not have become the greatest Indian team ever.Dravid has been much pilloried for his defensive design. However after Gavaskar, he and Tendulkar were the first Indians to reveal to the world that some Indians might flourish versus quick bowling on pacey pitches. Of course, each did it with his own genius: Tendulkar’s was medical aggressiveness, Dravid’s was virtuoso defence. I as soon as asked Tendulkar what was the one stroke he would borrow from each one of his great batting contemporaries: he stated, Laxman’s pull, Ganguly’s cover drive, Sehwag’s upper cut and, naturally, Dravid’s defence. A commentator once said Dravid is as protective of his stumps as an infant is of his rattle. Funny then, how those six clean-bowleds marked his swansong in Australia. However then, who said even 16 radiant years in world cricket would protect you from the game’s ironies?When I wrote that tribute on his retirement, I had stated it was not suggested to be a cricketing obituary of one of the best, best, most intelligent, and of course, the majority of self-effacing yet captivating sportspersons of perpetuity. And a mere article is too modest an online forum for a sporting biography. That post, like this one to act on his go back to the”leading”now, is just a grateful fan’s thank-you note. It is a tribute to an athlete who has given me some of my most cherished cricketing minutes, and these are not almost winning huge games. I count amongst these his removing his helmet to kiss the India crest when he got his first hundred at the Wanderers, just when he was becoming notorious for giving us all heart breaks in his worried 80s and 90s. At a time when big cash was simply being available in and the logo-versus-the-flag argument was raging, this was a conclusive statement of the arrival of an excellent Indian patriot, besides cricketer. He dared to declare in Multan(2004)with Tendulkar not out at 194, risking the ire of a whole nation, however India won that match. This developed the team-above-the-individual concept for the very first time in Indian cricket.Then he measured up to it, to return to the pavilion, smiling, 91 not out in Sydney, as Ganguly declared, to squeeze out a couple more overs and press for success. Then, the minute that told fellow Indians, much before Sehwag got here on the scene, that you can look the fiercest bowler in the eye, and loft him behind his back, even if his name is Allan Donald. It remained in the Requirement Bank tri-series last in Durban, with India chasing after an unlikely D/L rating of 251 in 40 overs and a still-young Donald completely fury. You might understand Donald’s fury when the guy he least expected to do so, and one with the lightest bat, Dravid, took a step forward and struck him over long-on for 6. Donald ended his follow-through swearing at him.The result, besides much else, was his Reebok sponsorship and the advertisement that said: Rahul Dravid, fast bowlers swear at him, he swears by Reebok! Obviously, he also offered us all discomfort often, like getting that plume to the keeper at 95 in his debut Test at Lord’s: the commentator’s words, “and Lewis breaks Rahul Dravid’s dream”, when that snick was still on its way to the gloves of Jack Russell, still ring in my ears. Naturally he filled that blank in his career by later scoring a hundred at Lord’s. Or the bemused appearance on his face at Sharjah in a match we much better not talk more about, when run out on exactly what looked like the 3rd intentional attempt by his partner. The match-fixing scandal broke shortly afterwards.Do I have a grievance with Dravid? Most likely not, but if you put a gun to my head, I ‘d state two. One, that he always looked so extreme and worried while batting that he had fans on the tenterhooks even if he was 130 not out. Composing on Dr Manmohan Singh when, I had actually asked why does he always look like Rahul Dravid at 37 for 4. Till someone mentioned to me that Dravid constantly appeared like it was 37 for four.Two, that such a master, who utilized the lightest of touches with the lightest of bats in this age of the sledge-hammer, did not time his retirement with greater excellence. Which, in my book, would have been a hundred in his last innings at Adelaide. But he offsets it with the dignity that marked his departure. In any case, you can not require a sportsman to respond to all of a fan’s desires, even if his name is Rahul Sharad Dravid.Postscript: Self-respect might have been Rahul Dravid’s middle name. Just last week, speaking at a Wisden occasion, cricket historian and writer Ramachandra Guha spoke about the failure of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA)to institute any reforms in the BCCI so far. Except one, he noted.In response to his letter mentioning some disputes of interest, he had actually stated that Rahul Dravid concurrently being coach and coach of IPL team Delhi Daredevils and India under-19s was questionable. Not a surprise for thinking whichone Dravid opted to quit: the one that involved less work and more pay: Delhi Daredevils.Guha noted that this is the only reform brought out, and what he saw as a conflict removed. You in some way know such a selfless choice had to somehow have the touch of Dravid.Rahul Dravid now stands head and shoulders above the gods of cricket