Gautham KAMATH

BI Developer specializing in SSAS and MDX

Posts Tagged ‘Golden Era Cricket

Rahul Dravid, I salute you.

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“If I have to name anyone to bat for my life, it’ll be Jacques Kallis or Rahul Dravid” said Brian Lara. The magnanimous personification of “The Wall” in Rahul “The Wall” Dravid was instantly made clear. Rahul Dravid is one of the greatest cricketers to have graced the Indian Cricket through its golden era. A true gentleman and an excellent sportsperson, he has, all through his career, displayed great modesty and been an honest cricketer.

Lets flashback to 1996 particularly the back to back series in Singapore, where Dravid made his ODI debut, Sharjah and England where he made his Test debut. There were a few faces drafted into the Indian Team for those series. One was the dashing Vikram Rathour with a tall and rough physique and second was someone going with the name of Rahul Dravid who looked more like a chocolate hero. Between the two I was confident that Vikram Rathour will eat into this Karnataka batsman’s opportunity. How wrong was I and in this instance it felt particularly good.

Dravid was given more chances before he had to relinquish his place for Vikram Rathour in Sharjah. They continued to shuffle their places till the second Test against England which almost sealed Dravid’s place in the Indian team.  With his classy 95 in the debut Test match at Lords, Dravid truly arrived in the international scene as a confident enigmatic textbook Test cricketer. In many ways he reminded us the forgotten art of Test match batting. Seldom, since then,  has he let himself, the team or cricket down.

Having scored 24208 runs all forms of International cricket, some of his great innings have been a second fiddle to a greater contribution by his partners. For instance his innings of 180 at Calcutta in March 2001 was overshadowed by the 281 by VVS Laxman but was as much significant that led India to their greatest ever victory in Test cricket. In ODI he has been involved in both 300+ partnerships only to be overshadowed by his partner’s innings. Nonetheless, in all such partnerships and in many others he stood at crease like “The Wall”.

Rahul Dravid batting during his last ODI at Cardiff

Elegantly batting at number 3, he shielded the Indian batting line-up with a determination and temperament that fed on opposition’s patience. He exemplified on leaving the balls that were outside the line off-stump often frustrating the bowlers and forcing them to bowl at his wicket. His defence was immaculate as if scripted by God himself. If the bowlers were little off line or length and I really mean fractionally little bit, the ball would be punished. It always seemed it was not Dravid who was getting 6 chances to survive, instead it was Dravid who was giving the bowler 6 attempts to bowl accurately. His was always the prized wicket as he had this innate temperament that frustrated the bowlers to make mistakes.

Apart from his batting, he manned the slip cordon, and almost all the time, alone at first slip. He was the safest pair of hands that has now held more catches than anyone else in the history of Test cricket (non wicket keeper).

He was modest and a very accomplished cricketer often being an inspiration and a mentor to many who played around him. His experiences and words of wisdom have and will always be cherished and respected. The greatness of this man lied in his honesty towards cricket. In many ways he has become Gandhi of cricket. The spirit with which he played has had a profound impact on the game of cricket.

The retirement of Rahul Dravid is truly the end of the golden era of Indian cricket. Sad but inevitable, I wish Rahul Dravid good luck, hoping to see him in an administrative role.

Rahul Sharad Dravid, I salute you.

Vikram Kamath Nalin Pai Gautham Kamath at Cardiff 16 September 2011On a personal note, my closest encounter with Rahul Dravid was at Cardiff when I along with two of my friends had the privilege of watching him play his Last ODI. The ground had an electrifying buzz, more so because it was Rahul Dravid’s last ODI match and perhaps the last time that the fans could see him play in England. For us it was more of a celebration, celebrating Dravid’s glorious ODI career. That day too Dravid did not disappoint scoring a masterful 69 runs.

The only reason we are here is to show our gratitude to Rahul Dravid

Like many we had made a poster that read “The only reason we are here is to show our gratitude to Rahul”. The most important thing for me, that day was that Dravid, just before India’s bowling innings saw the poster and raised his hand to acknowledge and possibly to say  thank you to the message. The fact that he just acknowledged was enough for us.

Rahul, if you happen read this blog, just so u know I still have that poster in a “not so good state” and would very much appreciate it if you can sign it for us.

Written by Gautham KAMATH

13/03/2012 at 22:04