Friday, March 9, 2012

Human Factor in RD that made him a celebrated professional.

Cricketing world bids adieu to one of its favorite student who eventually mastered the game itself. "Dravid" is more than just an individual's name. It is one of the most significant words added to the dictionary in the late 90's meaning "Discipline & Hard work". It will be an excruciating sight to watch someone else walking in at No.3 for India in test matches.

Successful individuals can be of 2 kinds:
1. Ones who wish to achieve great heights in their career by being disciplined & straight.
2. Ones who strive hard wanting to be known as a good human being & by virtue of having achieved it, they reap well earned byproducts in the names of respect and money.

Dravid is an individual who belongs to the 2nd category. At the end of such an illustrious career he leaves behind, a perpetual legacy for all the succeeding generations to follow. What Yuvraj, Virat, Rohit, Raina, Rahane have to fill is not the amount of runs but the way to achieve them. Money should only be a facilitating factor for a good living & not life itself. There is nothing that you get for free on this Earth & when you work hard you will definitely be paid back deservedly. Sachin, Dravid & VVS will be known for how they carried themselves being ambassadors of this beautiful game than the runs they would eventually go on to score by the end their careers. That is the reason why not many people respect Ponting & Inzamam though they have amassed huge runs.

I cannot forget the days when a dear friend of mine & myself used to spend hours recollecting Dravid's batting technique and put that to practice every time we played. Words cannot describe what Dravid & Sachin have meant to this country in terms of being true professionals on & off the field. 2001 -- Scorching Mumbai summer afternoon when the temperature was climbing on the field against Australia, Slater & Hayden lost their cool and slammed at Dravid, only to receive a plethora of politeness in reply. These are virtues that no coaching manual will teach you. Remaining calm amidst the storm is no easy feat, for Dravid did it for close to 2 decades.

In the words of one of the greatest leaders to have played this game Hansie Cronje once said "He shows maturity & calmness beyond his age". That is exactly what Dravid is all about. Cricket will miss one of the most self assured professional who always knew his limits and the boundaries of discipline. Jason Gillespie's words of tribute are just about apt in explaining Dravid's quality on the field "He was more patient than us most of the times". Watching test matches live at Chepauk we always got the feeling that the crowd booed Dravid's stay for they did not feel entertained. However when they got back home they feel the most relieved when they saw "Not out" against Dravid's name at the end of the day.

Sir Vivian Richards once mentioned Dravid's name in saying "If only I had the concentration levels of a Dravid, I would have scored as many as 8 triple hundreds in my career". Rahul is one of the most intelligent Cricketers as well. Instance : 2003 Cricket World Cup India vs Pakistan at Centurion - Dravid & Yuvraj at the crease with India requiring 60 odd runs to win - Wasim Akram decided to come back into the attack & got the ball to reverse a bit. Dravid was quick to notice that and protected Yuvraj from getting many balls against Wasim & absorbed all the pressure himself to allow Yuvi to score freely of the others. Dravid was a hardcore technician who always wanted to learn as much as he grew with the game. When he was awarded the ICC Player of the year 2004, he was humble enough to say "I am happier to have been nominated in the 1st place along with the others, than in winning this award". He is a Cricketing purist's dream come true.

ICC World Cup Finals 2011 @ Mumbai when Dhoni helped India lift the coveted cup after 28 years : Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly & others who started the success and drafted the initial plans to reach the top 4 years prior, were not invited to watch the Finals. Harsha Bhogle once mentioned (When a CM was asked to give the Man of the Match award in an ODI "India is a nation where respect and importance is often given to people who are not even part of the fraternity. It is owned more by people who are not part of it". When Shah Rukh Khan & Priyanka Chopra can be invited to watch the finals & cheer for the country, why not the soldiers themselves?? - Such a shame on the administrators' part.

I was devastated when Andy Flower had to run away from Zimbabwe for security reasons, for he was probably the least spoken about greats of Test Cricket. People like Dravid & AF always showed us the true benefits of being hard working and dedicated. These are virtues which are last on the list of the current genre of cricketers. While the world looks back at the prodigious achievements of this modern day great, (Lords, Headingley, Johannesburg, Hamilton, Calcutta, Adelaide, Jamaica) it is only testimonial to spell the legacy he leaves behind "Hard work & patience always pays!!!"

Ramasubramanian Srinivasan

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