Understanding Dravid: the cricketer and the man

A collection of interesting snippets about the cricketing great — and the feelings he evokes in cricket writers.




Ramchandra Guha in The Telegraph [The modern Hazare, July 16, 2011]

No historical analogy can be exact, but still, it may be worth pursuing the question — who is the modern Hazare? Going by Phadke’s account, one might say it was Sachin Tendulkar, who, for much of his career, has had to bear “this strange burden of popularity and responsibility”, to score hundreds upon hundreds to maintain his fame and keep his team afloat. But one can also make a case for Rahul Dravid. For one thing, his style is more akin to Hazare’s, sound and orthodox — coming in at 5 for one, which soon becomes 10 for two — he seeks to patiently rebuild the innings, whereas Tendulkar would seek rather to play some flashing shots and immediately take the initiative away from the opposition.

These past few weeks in the West Indies, Rahul Dravid had indeed been the modern Hazare. As in Australia in 1947, three of India’s finest batsmen — Sehwag, Tendulkar and Gambhir — cried off from the tour. Here, as then, there were only two experienced batsmen left to carry along a bunch of novices. Laxman, like Mankad in 1947, has batted bravely on occasion — but the Hazare of this tour has been Rahul Dravid. That India won the series is owed largely to the magnificent hundred he scored in the second innings of the Test match in Jamaica.

Like Hazare, Dravid is a man of courage and decency, content to play — and live — in the shadows of his more glamorous team-mates. Like Hazare, his contributions to Indian cricket have been colossal, and probably under-appreciated. It is time that one of the present, and very gifted, generation of Indian writers treated his achievements and his character in a subtle work of fiction. I suspect, however, that its ending will see its hero living not with animals in a farm, but among books in a library.

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