Saturday, 17 March 2012



For the first time when it comes to cricket I don’t know what to write. To be honest, I am really clueless as to what and how can I write. In the last two days so much has been written, said and typed, I don’t think anything I write will be new, fresh or something we don’t already know. The story is covered so extensively, there is no new angle to take. So I decided to simply write what I, as a fan, went through when the news broke and what Rahul Dravid means to me.

I have no shame in admitting that it was not Sachin Tendulkar, but Dravid who I idolized from the beginning.
Why Dravid over Tendulkar? I can’t remember the amount of times I have been asked this question. By the boys who played gully cricket in my area. By my school mates and teachers. By the chaat counter guy in college. By the newspaper vendor. By office colleagues. Once even by a rowdy gang at the Wankhede stadium (which ended in a farcical situation, but that’s another story) Truth is, I don’t know. I don’t know way but Rahul Dravid, for me, is the greatest man to have held a cricket bat, worn the white jersey and walked on to the pitch. Maybe because the way he batted. Maybe because of his success. Maybe because he was the only gentleman in the field full of boys. Maybe because of his selflessness, dedication and commitment to the game. Maybe because of the Kissan jam and Pepsi ads. Maybe because he is simply Rahul Dravid or Jammie as I always referred to him. There was no other like him, there will be no other like him.

I was lucky to have started watching cricket form the Dravid (and Ganguly era). 1999, the year that Rahul Sharad Dravid established himself as The Wall of Indian cricket. And in the 13 years since, he has firmly been established as the cricketer I respect, admire, adore and look up to the most. As a girl who was first a cricket fan, then a fanatic, then a freak and finally a cricket nerd, Dravid was the ultimate player to look up to. He was a part of every happy memory attached with Indian cricket. From Kolkata to Headingley to Adelaide to Rawalpindi, he was the cornerstone of most historic victories. The best speaker in the Indian team, he was there at press conferences and interviews talking cricket like only he could, and whenever he spoke, I learned something new. I remember an interview he did in Bangalore exclusively with female journalists back in 2004, that was the first time I remember hearing him say how much he dislikes the tag of “The Wall”. Again in 2004 came the inaugural ICC Awards in London, a night that belonged to Dravid. He won two trophies, Test Player of the year and Garfield Sobers Player of the Year.

Logically the next step was 2005, when he got the Indian captaincy. But for me 2005 never happened, I could never accept that Dada was no longer captain and that Chappel had had his way. Dravid was not a great leader, but he lead the team well. Again, 2007 World Cup did not happen for me. But the 2007 England series happened and after leading the team to a Test series victory in English soil, Dravid left captaincy, much like he leaves the good balls while batting. He captained Royal Challengers Bangalore too, without success. But all I can say is that Rahul Dravid was a much better vice-captain than he was captain. In 2011 he was the highest run-getter (apart from being the oldest active cricketer), he was the only silver lining in the dark cloud called England tour. Scoring three centuries, one of which at Lord’s fulfilling his life-long dream, he was the joint Man of the Series.

Then on November 24th 2011, on a hot Mumbai afternoon, he scored his 13000th run. Only the second man in the world to do so. I remember this so accurately because I was there. Seated among the famed Wankhede crowd, watching Rahul Dravid bat will always be one of the highest point of my life. He scored a normal 82, but for me that innings was extraordinary. It was the first time I was at a Test match, it was the first time I was watching Rahul Dravid bat, it was a dream come true. I can vividly recall the thwack of his bat as he caressed the ball through covers for a four, his stance of concentration as he watched the incoming bowler, his shuffling and talking to his partner in between overs and even though I couldn’t see it, the sweat pouring off his face in rivulets. I watched him get out too, bowled. And although I didn’t know it then, I now know that he getting bowled like that is the one of the main reasons I have to write this today.

I knew something was wrong when I got the BCCI Press Release stating that Rahul Dravid was to address a press conference at Chinnaswamy Stadium on the 9th of March at 12.30 pm. And when at 12.30 I heard him say it in so many words, “I would like to announce my retirement from international and domestic first class cricket…” A portion of me retired from cricket as well. I have nothing else to say. This was just something I wrote in the stream of consciousness and I hope that I have been able to express at least some measure of what Rahul Dravid means to me.


  1. I am in disagreement with you. Dravid to me was a great captain and perhaps much better than Dada. Dada was lucky that he had Dravid and the rest who truly made him a supposedly great captain. To me Dada wasn/t a great captain at all. A captain who chickens out finding a green top on the eve of the Nagpur test and leaves the captaincy to Dravid, the vice-captain, was no great shakes!. DAa is hghly over-rated. Period

  2. No doubt dravid is unique,tendulkar gave more importance to his personal records

  3. Nobody can match commitment of tendulkar,its sad that now people praise other players at expense of him ,anyway its his destiny i guess