Interview of Cricket Fans – 78 – Rahul Dravid
Thank you for your participation in this interview, what are your early memories of Rahul Dravid?
Thanks, Jay for the opportunity!
My first memory of Dravid was his winning partnership with Yuvraj Singh v England at Lords in that 2002 tri-series. And since I was a kid I felt an immediate attachment with him (his name was Rahul so that had to be it). And coincidentally it was the beginning of his peak form till 2006! 2003 WC and Australia tour was when I completely fell in love with him and there was no looking back.
13288 runs with an average of 52.31 in the longest format of the game, few words for these numbers of Rahul Dravid?
The numbers are staggering but could’ve been better. He averaged 57 at one time. But regardless of that, a giant of cricket. Was the 2nd highest scorer after Sachin at one point. Sadly Jacques Kallis outscored him by 1 run and Ricky Ponting by 90.
What is it that you like the most about him? What makes him different from other stalwarts of Indian Cricket?
There’s nothing I don’t like about him. Everything about him is so likeable. His selflessness is something one should always look out for in a team sport. He was a legend but never liked to be in limelight and went about his job without any fuss. Harsha once said that if you praise him, he’ll say somebody else played well. Not easy to describe or point out any single trait.
Which is the one record that you are proud of as a Rahul Dravid fan?
Well, his record as the highest number of catches and involvement in the most number of century partnerships is what I like. Even more than the number of balls faced by him. These two are better indicators of his contribution in my opinion. There was another of the first player to score a ton in each test playing nation.
Rahul Dravid and Test matches are like a match made in heaven, and he also got the technique for that. Your thoughts?
He was made for it! He said he always wanted to play test cricket. He was coached like that only, in fact, the majority were coached liked that in earlier times. He wasn’t the most gifted like Tendulkar, but he grinded hard and made sure success came to him. And mind u when he was in full flow, he would play the most aesthetic shots. His strokeplay was poetry. You had to earn his wicket, he wouldn’t fall for the trap easily. And no doubt he was instrumental in India’s improved overseas record. Think he contributed about 23% of total runs under Dada. Mukul Kesavan had written about him in Wisden that he drew level with Tendulkar in the matter of consistency and then surpassed him in scoring big. Even before his retirement, he had 3 good series (in Caribbean, England and at home v WI), I wish he had played his final test at home.
An underrated ODI player in your opinion?
He played 344 ODIs. For a player who was considered misfit for ODIs to play that number of games and ending up as the highest run-getter of the ’99 WC speaks volumes about his ODI game. He didn’t have the best strike rate – 72 was acceptable and most around in the world were batting with a similar strike rate. 95 scores of 50+. Some people do well enough to play 95 games. His tenure as ODI captain was when we became better at chasing as his emphasis was on that and he was marvellous with the bat too during that phase.
Your top 3 knocks in any format of the game?
My fav ones are:
233 v Aus, Adelaide
135 v pak 2005, Eden
Lahore 76* and the Jamaica twin fifties!
Your favourite shot of Rahul Dravid?
Square cut and flick off his legs.
We spoke a lot of Rahul Dravid as a cricketer, what about Rahul Dravid the human?
His modesty is what fascinates me. I wish it was easy for me to describe what influence he’s had on my character. I’m a bit subdued too, hence he was my role model from a very young age. And I didn’t have to do much to inculcate his good things into me. His Patience and humility have always inspired me. Both personally and professionally I’ve benefitted a lot. Many won’t believe that I don’t abuse even being from the medical background. I won’t say everyone should be like that but he’s the perfect person if a young man wants to look up to someone.
Which current pace bowler could have troubled Rahul Dravid in tests?
Today? Someone who gets the shape and hits the length. Holder maybe? He had his troubles v Pollock & Glenn Mcgrath. Hence, he could be one bowler.