Monday, October 07, 2013

Rahul Dravid: A class apart

Greatness is defined in many ways and is always relative and comparative, however in the rare cases a person excels in his field, but even if he is not the greatest he is a class act, a class apart. Rahul Dravid well and truly in my books comes in the latter category.

Even if statistics and numbers are taken as a measure of greatness, Rahul is a legend, but Rahul's greatness lay in terms which are immeasurable. In a career spanning almost two decades, there is not even a whiff of controversy. No tantrum, no cheating, no dissent, no wild gesture, no show of inappropriate emotion, no financial impropriety, no indiscipline. I doubt there can be any person in any field who can play at the highest level for so many years in this way.

At the same time, despite his great qualities, he was not lacking in passion and exuberance, but like his game, everything was measured and precise. While he was a copy book, technically sound player, he had the unique ability to reinvent himself and adopt his game to the format, he played in. Around him the trio of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman were far more talented, but Dravid equaled them and surpassed them in commitment, preparation and execution. While he could perhaps never bat like a Sehwag, he played second fiddle and was the sanity counter-point when they batted together. He was the architect of many major test triumphs in his long career, but in his moment of glory he remained humble and self effacing to a fault. While I am unable to quote his exact words, I remember him saying something to the effect that cricketers merely played a game and should not be worshiped as heroes for the greater heroes in life are the soldiers teachers and the workers. He exemplified selflessness and selfless play, as none in my living memory could ever do.

Education makes a man and Rahul Dravid intellectually seemed miles above his contemporaries. He was a keen student of the game and remains so till today. The man who always shunned the lime light has played his last game on the field, but he can never fade in my memory. Personally, I rate him higher than any cricketer, from any country. In this day of instant gratification, poor attention spans and external flashiness, the solid, steady and ever reliable Dravid stands out as an icon, a Kohinoor diamond, unique, incomparable and a role model for generations to come. May Indian cricket have the wisdom to honor its most selfless soldier and utilize his service in coaching, administration, mentoring or in any other capacity deemed fit.

Rahul Dravid Good-bye and Good luck!!!!

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