Blog by: Sharada
Indian cricket today isn’t what it was a few years ago, undergoing a re-formatting that not many would have envisaged. But even as the focus shifts to the younger generation, one can’t forget the contribution of the past cricketing legends, instrumental in helping the country’s cricket rise emphatically from the ashes of its own making.
Rahul Dravid was one amongst these gems. He was always the one who wore down opponents methodically with innings constructed out of painstaking patience. To watch him then too required immense patience – he was never one of those guys who would loft the ball for easy sixes or bludgeon bowlers in case he felt they were getting on his nerves. Rather, he was a finisher who would be there right till the very end to wrap things up giving the most elegant of finishing touches.
But where the entire cricketing world doesn’t hesitate to open up on Dravid’s meritocracy, it wasn’t always so kind to award him with plaudits when he was still playing. Always underrated, right from his debut test match where Sourav Ganguly seemed to have stolen the show with a ‘century on debut’, these underestimations often took on a cynical stand. It was as if everyone expected him to fall short, thus justifying the cynics’ cynicisms.
To give Dravid due credit however, it was as if each of these cynical perspectives made him a far more resilient cricketer thereby allowing him to deal with scepticisms in the calmest of manners possible. There were no attitudinal problems associated with him ever; he was always the most humble of them all though in the latter years as his greatness grew and abounded – it was the cynics who had no choice but to eat humble pies themselves. When doubts pervaded about his ability to be a part of the ODI team Dravid answered the naysayers by proving his worth as one of the best ODI players of his time.
He became the catalyst for the team, reinvigorating it to achieve significant series wins and match wins – both in India as well as on foreign shores. History bears testimony to this unique aptitude of Dravid to whittle things down to a finer point even whilst facing the likes of invincibles.
There was then never a time when Dravid failed to deliver for the team. Be it adroit wicket-keeping to help keep the team’s compositional problems at bay or be it exceptional fielding in the slip cordon, Rahul Dravid ended up being the team’s go-to man. As compared to many of his peers, Dravid may not have been flamboyant, but the way in which he allowed his cricketing acumen to speak for him, his on-field flamboyance became an aspect worth delving into – again and again.
Perhaps that’s why Dravid’s absence is still felt keenly, even after almost two years of his retirement. And perhaps that’s why; the crowd is amped to watch him give his best shot – for one last time – in the Champions League T20 for the Rajasthan Royals.
For someone who was considered to be a misfit – yet again – to play in the T20 circuit, there’s no denying that Rahul Dravid has been an important presence for the Rajasthan Royals. Though his team has gone through some severe problems with spot-fixing allegations spoiling its qualification for the Champions League T20, Dravid’s matter-of-fact acknowledgements about the crippling issue did go a long way in soothing the fans’ despondency. It also helped the team to retain its loyalists even as the future of the team’s existence in the IPL balanced precariously.
Though the threat of being displaced from the IPL doesn’t loom over the Royals anymore, it’s only befitting that everyone expects the Royals to do well in this year’s Champions League T20. For, anything less than an absolute perfection of a performance wouldn’t be a worthy enough farewell to offer to the team’s captain; who had to go through immense scrutiny arising in the aftermath of the infamous spot-fixing issue, in spite of always maintaining an impeccable cricketing standards.