Rahul Dravid is one of those people who do not speak much. But whey they speak up, there is a lot to be learnt. Dravid has always carried himself in a very dignified manner, be it on the field or off it.
‘The Wall’ recently made the headlines due to his remarkable coaching of the World Cup title-winning Indian U-19 team. Even in those moments of joy, Dravid did not get carried away with the victory and maintained his characteristic propriety.
It is always worthwhile to go through maxims from such level-headed people so as to broaden our perspective both of cricket and of life. Here are ten such quotes by Rahul Dravid which come as a breath of fresh air amid the cacophony surrounding the game.
“I don’t get angry very often, but there have been times when I have been frustrated with myself, maybe after playing a bad shot, after getting out, I have done some damage to some equipment of mine. Once or twice in the course of 20 years – I think you can allow me that at least.”
There are times when even those with the best disposition lose their temper. That does not mean that they are bad-tempered, but it shows their passion for the game.
In recent times also, you see the likes of Kohli and Warner get very aggressive on the field. But with Dravid, you had nothing of this sort.
“There are fans of Twenty20 cricket, and we need to ensure that we give them the cricket they want to see. We need to keep Test cricket alive, because there is a section of fans who love and worship Test cricket and have basically helped this game grow, and they are as important as anybody else.”
Rahul Dravid may have played only one T20 International in his life, but he has been a part of good six seasons of the IPL. In the solitary T20I that Dravid played, he scored 31 runs at a strike rate close to 150.
In his IPL career also, it was only in one season that his average dropped below the 28 run mark. Otherwise, Dravid always sported an average of 30 or thereabouts. His strike rate also never went below 100.
“If someone thinks, ‘I’ll spend the offseason working on my fitness and I’ll come back a better cricketer,’ I don’t think that’s enough. You need to spend a lot of time working on your skills and honing your skills.”
Having a wiry physique is no guarantee for success in any sport. Even the fittest of players like Manish Pandey may excel in the yo-yo test but have struggled to cement their spot in the Indian team.
On the other hand, Jammy may not have been muscular, but he was always extremely fit. His spectacular catching and fielding were a testament to his agility.
“Growing up, in my U 15 days I used to be a wicket-keeper, that carried on till I was 17. Then I started focusing on my batting and moved on. I got into the Ranji team quite early, and generally, as a youngster, the first place you are put in is at bat-pad and short leg.”
After sustained pressure from skipper Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid donned the keeping gloves. Having given everything for the team throughout his career, his only aim was to improve the balance of the side.
Dravid not only batted in the top order but also kept for the entire 50 overs. This took a lot of toll on his body. The sacrifice that he made for the team is not valued enough. It was only after MS Dhoni became a regular feature in the Indian ODI team that Dravid let go of the gloves.
“What drew me towards team sport were the camaraderie and friendship. The chance to celebrate victory and success with a group of other people is something I have enjoyed doing.”
If there is one word to describe Rahul Dravid, it is that he was an absolute ‘team man’. He got along very well with all of his colleagues and seldom had any tiff with his peers.
There was always mutual respect and admiration among the mainstays of Indian Test batting line-up: Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. They were greats of the game and their behaviour too was worthy of the same.
“One of the great joys of being a slip fielder who takes a catch is you are able to contribute to the bowler’s success. Yes, you are putting yourself in the firing line if you stuff it up, but you must want to be in that position to make a difference and recognise sometimes that you might make mistakes. There are no easy catches in the slips.”
Rahul Dravid was a true genius when it came to slip catching. With 210 catches in Tests, he still holds the record for most catches in the longest format followed by Jayawardene and Kallis with 205 and 200 catches respectively.
In ODIs as well, Dravid was a safe catcher with 124 catches at an average of 0.46 catches per innings.
“I am not the only intense or intellectual cricketer. I played with other cricketers who could be pretty intense and intellectual.”
‘The Wall’ possesses one of the best cricketing brains in world cricket. It is his tendency of always being ahead of the game that has led to his successful stint with the Indian U 19 team as their coach.
He owns a rare combination of street smartness and intellect. Even his commentary adorned with sharp observations gave the viewers an insight into the game.
“I think there’s a culture in Rajasthan Royals that has been there before I got here, so I’ve come into it. I’ve enjoyed being part of it and embraced it. They are quite clear about the fact that bottom lines are important, and there is a certain limit on what you can spend.”
Rahul Dravid started his journey as captain of the Rajasthan Royals from where Shane Warne (Shane Watson briefly) left. Dravid has a win percentage of 57.50% in 40 matches as RR Captain.
“I was given the talent to play cricket. I don’t know why I was given it. But I was. I owe it to all those who wish it had been them to give of my best, every day.”
Being the humble soul that he is, Dravid has always been extremely thankful to the Almighty for bestowing him with cricketing talent. He also does not forget to mention the numerous people who have helped him at various points of time in life.
It is worth noticing that it was this mindset that helped Dravid keep his feet on the ground and not get carried away by the tremendous success he enjoyed.
“In a cricket career, your life is in some ways controlled for you. You have no control over schedules, you have no control over where you want to play, you don’t have control over that as a cricketer.”
Dravid’s comment on the tight scheduling in cricket goes to show that talks about FTP (Future Tour Programs) are not unprecedented. They have grabbed viewer attention only currently as the issue is now being covered extensively.
A few days ago, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Ravi Shastri met the BCCI officials regarding the cramped program. As a result, the playing days were reduced to 306 days in 2019-23 from 390 days in 2015-19.