Monday, November 16, 2009

Rahul Dravid, no God, but an ordinary man trying to achieve extraordinary feats

By John Cheeran
Almost a year ago, one wondered about the future of Rahul Dravid. It was a time when Dravid himself was wondering about what NEXT.
Sourav Ganguly had announced his retirement from international cricket, and released from the burden of expectations, was having a good run of scores against Australia.
Anil Kumble was struggling to get another wicket and eventually stepped down as captain. There was this theory gaining currency that Indian team's doors were shut on seniors. That, then, basically meant Dravid would have to search for the meaning of his life, outside of cricket.
There was no doubt that Dravid, after relinquishing captaincy in the wake of World Cup debacle and the Test series triumph in England, was struggling to reinvent himself as a batsman. The IPL experience with Bangalore Royal Challengers, too, did not make things easier.
With the BCCI firm on its decision not to consider Dravid for limited over matches, it was expected that Dravid would be left with no choice but to go the Ganguly way.
But Dravid persisted. And he succeeded. He even got a recall to the Indian one-day team for Champions Trophy in South Africa. And conveniently cast aside when the time came to select the one-day squad against Ricky Ponting’s Australians, despite a good string of scores, though India tanked in the tournament.
But there is more to Rahul Dravid, the cricketer. There are more bricks in this wall than holes as the Sri Lankans found out on Monday on the first day of the three-Test series in Motera, Ahmedabad.
On Monday yet again Dravid rescued the tottering Indian innings. Dravid played an exhilarating innings of unbeaten 177, after India frittered away the advantage of captain Mahendra Singh winning the toss, by losing the wickets of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, all for 32 runs.
Dravid, if you remember, walks in at the crucial position of No.3. It's as tough a spot to be that of an opening batsman.
With Sri Lankan seamers moving the ball around in the first hour, Dravid watched the ball keenly, tightened his defence and let his natural temperament take over.
By now, we all know, Indian batsmen have the habit of burying themselves in the pitch if the wind favours the bowler. Dravid's impeccable shot selection and ability to eschew flamboyance ensured that he remain unscathed during the difficult hour and was free to exploit the favourbale batting conditions, later on.
And silencing his critics, Dravid calmly scored his 27th Test century, an innings that India would be grateful for, for it came when the chips were down.
Yes, I acknowledge that conditions were not difficult for scoring runs, after the first session. Dravid played his strokes freely but kept the big picture in his mind, a crucial difference, compared to the Yuvraj Singhs of this world. He never let go of any opportunity to whip bowlers and his strike rate of 70.51 is something that should be lauded in the course of a long innings.
Why is it that Dravid, most often, scores runs when India needs them the most?
May be, despite playing for India for the last 13 years, often fighting against the odds, we have not yet labelled Dravid of carrying the burden of a nation of one billion people.
So, his shoulders are free to carry the burden of the moment, the burden of batting, and the burden of the moment.
Or is it because Dravid is no God, but a mere mortal, an ordinary man struggling to achieve extraordinary feats, just like you and me, praying and toiling for our daily bread, leavened in equal measure with hope and despair?

1 comment:

pratdbrat said...

well written.........

John Cheeran at Blogged