Live example of what it takes to seek greatness and achieve it
It is already fifteen years since a simple, elegant, studious and very likeable young man walked out to bat for India at Lords. It was an appropriate setting. Rahul Dravid is neatly turned out, plays the game correctly, likes the traditions associated with the game and is respectful of them. It is not difficult to see why the English would like him. In 1996 though he was significantly more humble and courteous than those I seemed to run into at the ground.
Not much has changed since then. He is still as intense as ever, still unlikely to sport the ponytail he rejected in one of his earliest commercials, still deeply enamoured by the idea of playing for India, still very out of place in the Kingfisher jingle! That intensity is worth studying though for Dravid knows no other way of playing the game. Like a good student would, he assimilates data, works out what he is going to do and focuses as intently as anyone that has played the game. Patience has been a childhood friend and it has allowed him to retain the intensity. Impatience is the hallmark of youth and while Dravid has been young in years, he has always sported a maturity that belies them.
There have been times when some of us feared that intensity; when we wondered if the fire within would singe him, whether he just needed to get his mind off the game and relax a bit. We almost feared that it would eat away at him, that every ball would become a battle to be fought, a storm to be withstood. But, as he often told me in those days, it was the very same method that had brought him so many runs. It was the person he was, the challenge he relished that defined the way he played the game. He knew, as he repeatedly said, that he wasn’t a Sehwag; that he had to bat longer to score the same number of runs, that therefore, he needed to focus strongly, prepare well for a game. It was a debate that he was willing to get into but it was a solution that he had to find himself. As it turns out the way he knew best has so far brought him 12,215 runs in Test cricket and that number tends to seal most debates.
We need to let that number roll off our tongue a bit oftener because it is a colossal number. It is not a number you dream of achieving because it is too distant. It is a number that must happen as a product of extraordinary ability and dedication. In 1994, his father would call us very politely, for class runs in the family, to request, if he could get a video of his son playing in domestic cricket. This love for the tradition of the game has come from there and Dravid (sr) can be very proud of the way his son has graced the game and scored runs.
IPL Team Standings
KKR beat CSK by 5 wickets