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Did we misunderstand the enigma that is Rahul Dravid?

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So far ahead has the game progressed today than where it was in the yesteryears that you can’t really disagree with Rahul Dravid when he says, “I wouldn’t have survived today with the way I batted.”

You bowl a short-pitched one to Rohit Sharma and he’ll shuffle back to the crease and lift the ball over cover almost effortlessly. The one bowled around middle and leg to a Suryakumar Yadav can be hoisted behind square leg for a towering six.

Chances are, a batsman as instinctive as he’s alert, the Mumbai Indians man won’t be actually seeing the delivery all along.

Though truth be told, if Rahul Dravid would’ve played such a stroke during his time, you won’t attribute it mighty respect akin to the Sky; you’d have perhaps called him sly.

For that wasn’t Rahul Sharad Dravid; his game was about restraint, not release. His batting was about a certain degree of preciseness, not power.

The very fact that even today Dravid is the man to have faced the most number of Test deliveries- 31,258- seems more mired in myth than rooted in reality for one just doesn’t see that many Test matches today.

Does that make Dravid perhaps the last renowned Test match specialist, a term that’s perhaps been hijacked by a T20 power-hitter today?

Maybe, yes.

But truth is, we’ve maybe restricted Dravid to the close confines of Test match cricket when he almost flawlessly adapted to all formats of the game, T20I’s included.

In some ways, he was also a breaker of biases for the man never rated quite highly in One dayers ended with nearly 11,0000 runs against his name- scoring 10,889 to be precise with 12 centuries.

Lest it is forgotten, he was the man who hit three enviable sixes of as many deliveries in what turned out to be his first and last T20I appearance for India (against England in England in 2016).

And yet, perhaps it is us, the Indian cricket obsessive who didn’t quite comprehend the magic of the Indore-born, Bangalore-based, true hero of Indian cricket.

Maybe the truth all this while was that there was a fluidity and sense of adaptability to Rahul Dravid that perhaps nullifies the very notion of him being a wall.

For while surely, wall’s don’t retire, they become monuments, a phrase commonly found on the Internet about the man, Dravid was less of a wall and more of a man who willed himself for India.

A torchbearer of calmness, a batsman of monumental patience and someone who believed in upholding the spirit of the game!

Which is why there’s no surprise but respect when Dravid says- and truly believes- that, “you don’t play for revenge, but for pride.”

And here’s the thing- he never batted to exact revenge, never in the least

Surely, you may have been guilty of closing the TV set when Sachin got out. But to those of us who hung in there, with the belief that the game wasn’t yet over for Dravid was still there, got our rewards.

Indian cricket wasn’t dead when the great Tendulkar was out; the match was still alive for as long as Dravid thrived.

It’s one of the great truths about our sport that the Tendulkar obsessive may never agree to but those who regard temerity over temper will offer affirmation to.

A spectacle, where the reward of enjoying the beauty that was Test cricket, where ball after ball, over after over, session after session, the naysayers of Indian cricket tried to bully us into oblivion but the defensive blade of Dravid blunted the world’s best away.

Perhaps credit must be given to these nineties and 2000’s heroes who arguably saved the day against bowling attacks that were far more vicious and demanding of batsmen than what we find in today’s fast-paced era where bowlers suffer not only from injuries but burnouts.

Frankly, it appears that there’s far more value in Rahul Dravid’s 13,228 Test runs (36 centuries to boot), than there would be in a swashbuckling T20 entertainer who features in 600 games and powers 500 sixes.

Why?

For those precious runs for India didn’t come by way of easy slogging in smaller grounds but often whilst evading innings defeats and holding fort and as it turned out against Donald, Shoaib, Walsh, Akram, McGrath, Vaas, Ambrose, Ntini, Caddick, Harmison, Hoggard, Klusener, Streak and a countless others.

Dravid’s finest quality, of the many, is perhaps that he remained ever so humble and proved that one didn’t have to stand like an arrogant achiever rubbing one’s triumphs on an opponents’ face when such an act today is accepted sadly with glee by armies of fanboys who consider themselves supporters of cricket.

Dravid’s very being- simple, studious, stoic- was an act of rebellion in itself in a world where cricketers often conduct themselves as wild rancoeurs whose weapon of choice isn’t technique or quietness but temperamental outbursts.

For the runs and the manner in which he collected them, the legend of Dravid will always soar over and above those who perhaps we bandage a bit too loosely as greats.

Because true greats don’t play for their glory, but for that of the team. Probably we all know where to place a certain Rahul Sharad Dravid in that regard.

Happy 50th Mr Dependable!

Cricket is a game played by 22 but opined by millions.Caught At Point will try to inform you and humour you on the game’s newsmakers, trends and, emerging patterns. Expect those deserving praise to be celebrated and expect tons of ‘arsehattery’ gifted to those who’ve earned it.I’ll cricket sincerely,Dev Tyagi

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1 Response

  1. January 24, 2023

    […] Read This Article in English – Did we misunderstand the enigma that is Rahul Dravid? […]

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