By Namrata Nadkarni:
Stars do shine. But during the day, the sun’s brilliance overshadows their dazzling sparkle. Analogous with this scenario is the Indian cricket team where Sachin portrays the Sun and Dravid, the star. The latter’s contribution is magnanimous, but often remains eclipsed behind the former’s aura.
Sachin has a superfluity of an innate ‘something’ that perhaps Dravid lacks. He has something that Schumacher had, but Barichello didn’t. Something that McEnroe had, but Borg didn’t. Something that Ronaldo had, but Rivaldo didn’t. This added sensation of awe is what sets these stalwarts to acquire the demigod status – Sachin being the ‘Shiva’ who ‘destroys’ and Dravid being the ‘Vishnu’ who ‘protects’.
“Talent is cheaper than table salt” —Stephen King
An apt quote indeed. Every one of us has a brimful of talent. What matters is not how much of it is present within, but how much of it is nurtured and put to the best use to combat the quandary at hand. Talent alone wouldn’t suffice when it comes to having your name echo in the Halls of Fame. It is performance that needs to be additionally supplemented.
A batsman cannot be judged merely by the number of runs he scores, or a bowler by the number of wickets he takes. Cricket being a team-game, applauds the manner in which a player responds to the situation that his team is currently in and takes them to a position of victory, or at the very least security, that truly indicates the greatness of a player.
Rahul Dravid is one such man. Watching Dravid defend a delivery is often more inspiring than a Sehwag six. He is a live example of Charles Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest” theory. He may not have been the poster boy of Indian cricket like Sachin, but deep down in the hearts of a billion Indians, we do have blind faith in ‘Mr. Reliable’. His innumerous stints as the teams’ savior in times of utmost need have been soon forgotten, but they were nonetheless those innings that kept our faith in the game of cricket.
His 148 against South Africa at Johannesburg in 1996 came after India was mauled in the first two Tests. India might have won that Test had it not been for the rain.
Against Australia in Kolkata (2001) together with Laxman, he helped India put the Aussies on the back-foot. Australia had won the first Test and India was up against it in the second before Laxman with Dravid rescued India and set-up a series victory. Dravid scored 180 then.
England was 1-0 up in the series and Dravid tackled the new ball under seaming conditions well at Headingly in 2003 scoring 148 to set-up a famous Test victory.
His brilliant 233 against Australia at Adelaide in the first innings and an unbeaten 72 in the second till the very end are some of the few breathtaking and remarkable innings that Rahul Dravid has furnished for billions of cricket fans across the world to witness and celebrate.
As his ODI career comes to an end soon, millions of Indians are saddened to see this epic personality depart. We shall always be indebted to this great man for having saved our country in times of utmost peril in the game of cricket.
A standing ovation won’t be enough for this team player teeming with confidence, passion, planning and commitment; however naming a street after him wouldn’t be a bad idea. In fact we could then have our very own ‘Wall Street’!