The "Wall" then, the foundation now

There is a lot of attention, limelight, popularity that International Sports has to offer, and if that Sport is Cricket and the country India and the athlete one of the best in the world, one can even be regarded as a GOD. It is obvious then that when these big stars get accustomed to all the glamour and attention that they can mistake everyone in the world as part of the faceless crowd in one of the many stadiums that he/she has excelled in or helped their team/country win at the highest level of that particular sport.

dravidIt is in this sense that Rahul Dravid became different, different from all the International stars who donned the national jersey with some kind of an aura, Dravid wore just his neatly ironed sparkling Cricket Whites even when he was a teenager and although he went on to become one of the world’s most prolific batsman and a technical genius, he put on his jersey with the same amount of honesty and integrity throughout. People fascinated him and he gave due respect to everyone around him and continues to do so.  Dravid is a man of varied interest, which helps when he wants to take some time off cricket, he reads and discusses books and politics and what not.

In a world intrigued by fancy minarets, Dravid choses to be the foundation stone which describes the nature of the man and explains many of his choices. Rahul Dravid was once feeling out of place and uneasy inside a hotel room. Outside his hotel was a street he would normally love with all that he liked, food, cafes, all of which he couldn’t soak in much while representing the country. He was a commentator now and he had more time to live the life which he had missed while playing the highest level of cricket for the country but Rahul Dravid felt as if he wasn’t contributing enough and left the commentator life and took to coaching instead, not for any senior national team, but the largely unknown and unnoticed world of teenage cricket in India, and got totally involved in it, doing about his job without making much noise about it. "Coaching gives me more fulfilment than commentary", said Dravid.

Dravid’s game was built around hard work, he would practice for the perfection which he would never attain yet he focused on his favorite word “process”. It is these qualities that make Dravid the perfect coach especially in teenage cricket where there is talent to be nurtured and molded and virtues to be instilled and who better than Dravid to learn it from. Despite being one of the greatest batsman of all times, Dravid always appears as approachable as the guy next door which makes it easier for the players to talk to him regarding their game.

Some of Dravid’s brave decisions also come from the man that he is, for instance, Dravid allowed no player to play from the previous world cup and has emphasized the need to see the Under-19 World Cup as a stepping stone and not the sole motive for playing cricket, if one hasn’t grown from playing the tournament then it makes absolutely no sense to play the tournament again.

Even the harshest of critics often find themselves in awe of Rahul Dravid, for at a time of Virat Kohli worship, Dravid represents something which has become a rare entity in cricket, even amidst the high paid sporting contracts and the amount of coverage, praise and footage that modern day sport receives, the man at the center of all the action need not loose himself and still stay humble and find joy in the normal things of life like a commoner. Dravid too was aggressive but his aggression burnt within him and not necessarily on the face of the opponent.

“My only qualification is that I come on television more than a nurse or a soldier or a teacher. Anyway, I don’t think sportsmen can really be considered heroes.” Dravid had once said while interacting with a journalist and that could have only come from a man like him.

It is ironical then that the champion player did not had a world cup alongside his name. The closest he came to winning a world cup was in 2003 when he was the vice-captain of the Sourav Ganguly led India that was outclassed co-incidentally by Australia on two occasions in the tournament, once in the league and then in the finals. Guru Dravid’s India U-19 looked as fierce and dominated all the matches in the tournament much like the Australia of the 2003 World Cup. The U-19 side also defeated the Aussies twice in the tournament. Indian U19 men, coached by Dravid also reached the finals in 2016 where they received defeat at the hands of West Indies but thanks to Shaw’s team Dravid finally won a world cup and post that he has been trying to divert all the attention away from him and towards the players and the support staff, for the man who refused an honorary doctorate stating that he would like to earn it rather than just accept the honorary degree, could not grab all the attention and center stage at all when he knew he was the shadow, the backstage guy who ensures that everything runs smoothly. And being the second fiddle is never a problem for Dravid, the ultimate team-man.

Dravid was the reliable “Wall” in his playing days and he is still the foundation of Indian Cricket and has a lot to offer to the Indian and World Cricket.