Interview of Cricket Fans – 77 – Rahul Dravid
Thank you for your participation in this interview, what are your early memories of Rahul Dravid?
Firstly, I need to thank you for considering me worthwhile to talk about our beautiful game.
My first memory of Rahul Dravid was an afternoon of 1997, I came back from school, switched on the television & began watching India’s tour of South Africa, Johannesburg test. The first innings Dravid batted around 360 odd deliveries, the innings went over 10 hours & I fell in love with him from that very knock. His patience, mental toughness made me his fan forever.
The second instant happened very soon in the same year. There was a store opening in Bangalore and Dravid was the chief guest to cut the ribbon. The store opening was at Brigade Road and that’s a very busy market area in Bangalore and Dravid wearing a blue shirt and khaki parked his car, crossed in the road like a normal person. His humility & simplicity that day inspires me even today.
13288 runs with an average of 52.31 in the longest format of the game, few words for these numbers of Rahul Dravid?
I would like to answer this with what Harsha Bhogle said on Rahul Dravid – “Dravid makes mortals believe that they can achieve greatness”
When we talk about Rahul, we don’t talk about stroke play and range of shots, he had a limited range, a very compact game and still he had a long career with astonishing numbers.
This speaks volumes on his mental strength, always considering himself as a student of the game who wanted to keep improving, keep learning & keep excelling.
What is it that you like the most about him? What makes him different from other stalwarts of Indian Cricket?
Things I like the most about him are his always ready to learn nature, his entire career you find him evolving as a player. His wittiness, I used to love him talking about his game how he underplays his role or the way he bats that also brings two other attributes about him, that’s his modesty & humility. His quotes on the game inspire me as an individual in life.
For example, England’s tour of India was touted as revenge series as we were whitewashed when we toured and during a pregame chat, Dravid was asked about this revenge & Dravid replied “you never play the sport to seek revenge, you play to earn respect from your competitors, team and yourself” now this can be applied in any walk of life.
Now coming to the second part of your question, How is he different from other Stalwarts of Indian Cricket? I would like to use an analogy for this. Let’s say cricket is an institute.
Rahul Dravid was a boy who was a great student and now is a professor of this institute and that’s his legacy.
Which is the one record that you are proud of as a Rahul Dravid fan?
As a player his record of 52-century partnerships in test cricket. As a captain winning the test series in England 2007.
Rahul Dravid and Test Cricket is like a match made in heaven, and he also got the technique for that. Your thoughts?
You rightly said his technique was impeccable. For a major part of his career, he played as a 3rd opener. Always aware of where his off-stump was. A very good judge of leaving deliveries outside off stump. I might sound as bore but his forward defence was one for the photographers. It was that perfect.
With the technique, he had the temperament to play the big game.
The Leeds test 2002 was for me his best test innings and it shows both his technique and temperament. It was a difficult pitch and India decided to bat first and the way Dravid played with Bangar to set a platform for Dada & Sachin to go bonkers was a beautiful sight for not only Indian fans but fans of the game in general.
An underrated ODI player in your opinion?
His ODI Journey shows his evolution as a player.
From not being fit to play the format as he would try to hit the ball hard, invariably hitting straight to the fielders, unable to rotate the strike and then 1999 happened.
He changed his game on the tour of NZ where he began to play with soft hands, improved strike rotation and then the dream run of becoming the highest run-getter in 1999 WC to becoming the centre around which Ganguly’s 2003 WC was formed because he took an additional responsibility as a wicketkeeper to becoming one of India’s successful ODI captain’s while chasing scores & then the 2007 debacle.
I don’t think he was underrated as a player. On the days he did brilliantly well there was someone who did a little better than him.
For eg: his 145 in Taunton was overshadowed by Dada’s 183. His 153 vs the Kiwis was overshadowed by Sachin’s 186. His 62 vs England in 2003 WC was beaten by one of the best fast bowling spells by an Indian Ashish Nehra’s 6/23.
Your top 3 knocks in any format of the game?
233 vs Australia Adelaide
148 vs England Leeds
50 (22) vs New Zealand Hyderabad
Your favourite shot of Rahul Dravid?
Can I pick two?
His forward defence & cover drive.
We spoke a lot of Rahul Dravid as a cricketer, what about Rahul Dravid the human?
A grounded individual, who knows his limitations and ensures his strengths cover those limitations. An eager learner, always looking to improve himself and the best part about his personality is he’s disciplined and knows how to switch off from the noise around him.
Once someone was angry that he wasn’t getting many chances in ODIs & Dravid replied “if I don’t play well then they why will they pick me?”
That clarity he had about himself is something we all can learn from.
Which current pace bowler could have troubled Rahul Dravid in tests?
Personally, I would love watching Dravid vs Pat Cummins.
How would you describe his greatness in your words?
If they ever tell my story
Let them say that I witnessed giants.
Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die.
Let them say I lived in the time of Punter’s dominance.
Let them say I lived in the time of the genius of Kallis.
Let them say I lived in the time of the God Tendulkar.
LET THEM SAY I LIVED IN THE TIME OF RAHUL DRAVID.