Friday, 9 March 2012

I couldn't say it any better than them.

When I heard that there was a press conference, that Rahul Dravid was going to announce his retirement, part of me didn't want to believe it. That part of me wanted to see him play on for a lot longer, I haven't seen enough Dravid innings to speak about him that eloquently, but I knew his importance, as did anyone who loved Test cricket. So I thought I'd let those who knew him, who saw him bat, who appreciated him the most do the talking.

One place to start is the man who batted a place below him in the Indian batting order for over a decade, and in that time often overshadowed him. Sachin Tendulkar said of him:
There was and is only one Rahul Dravid. There can be no other.
From a bowlers point of view, Jacques Kallis said:
He had one of the best techniques in the game and was always a prize wicket to get. The game will be a little poorer without him but I wish him well in his retirement
Dravid was an integral part of an Indian team who shed the tag of poor travellers under Sourav Ganguly who said of him:
"He was a perfectionist. His determination, technique and commitment towards the game was something special. It's really tough to become another Rahul Dravid. It will not happen overnight. It has taken him long to get here; one has to go through a lot of hardships and commitment."
King Cricket praises his adaptability, he's been there and done it all:
It’s hard to imagine there’s a situation in cricket that he hasn’t faced. 120 to win, three wickets in hand, cloudy conditions, fifth day pitch, left-arm quick round the wicket? Yep, been there. 15-overs to go, run-rate eight-an-over, flat pitch, 40 degrees, finger-spinner, field spread? Yep, been there too. Been everywhere. Seen everything. Know what to do.
Jason Gillespie was one of many bowlers to bounce back off 'The Wall', but he thinks that Dravid was much  more than just a wall.
Many might call him a defensive batsman in the mould of a Jacques Kallis or a Michael Atherton, but Dravid ranks up there with the great batsmen of the game. To simply refer to him as a defensive player is selling him short as a batsman. He was a wonderfully gifted player and we all enjoyed the way he played the game.

Sambit Bal talked about Dravid the man, not just the batsman, the well rounded individual that not all cricketers are.
It's almost as if he leaves that part of his world behind him when he leaves the cricket field. And perhaps that's why he can see the cricket world from the outside, reflect on it objectively, and see the ironies and futilities of stardom. It's a rare and remarkable quality. It has helped him engage in relationships in the outside world without baggage.
Rob Smyth in the Guardian talked of a player ever learning:
Dravid was never too proud to seek advice. "Greatness was not handed to him; he pursued it diligently, single-mindedly," Dravid wrote of Waugh in that foreword. It's a compliment that works both ways. Waugh recognised Dravid as a rare species, and so should we: as somebody who achieved greatness as both a cricketer and as a human being.
Sidvee talks about him as an all-rounder, a constantly adapting and versatile cricketer.
I find it hard to think of a more versatile cricketer. You were one of our finest short leg fielders. You were, for the most part, a remarkable slip catcher. You have opened the innings, batted at No.3, batted at No.6 (from where you conjured up that 180 in Kolkata). I’m sure you have batted everywhere else. 
You have kept wicket, offering an added dimension to the one-day side in two World Cups. You even scored 145 in one of those games. You captained both the Test and one-day teams. Sure, things didn’t go according to plan but you were a superb on-field captain. More importantly you were India’s finest vice-captain, an aspect that is often conveniently forgotten. Jeez, you even took some wickets.
Harsha Bogle compares the man and the batsman, and finds them very similar.
Rahul Dravid batted exactly like the person he is: stately and upright, dignity and poise his two shoulders, standing up to everything coming at him with minimum fuss. He picked his shots carefully, almost like he was weighing the risk for fear of letting himself and his side down. There was little about him that was flamboyant - there isn't with an oak - and patiently, brick by brick, he built giant edifices. He is a good man and he batted like a good man.
The last word, I'm going to leave to Dravid himself.
Finally I would like to thank the Indian cricket fan, both here and across the world. The game is lucky to have you and I have been lucky to play before you. To represent India, and thus to represent you, has been a privilege and one which I have always taken seriously. My approach to cricket has been reasonably simple: it was about giving everything to the team, it was about playing with dignity and it was about upholding the spirit of the game. I hope I have done some of that. I have failed at times, but I have never stopped trying. It is why I leave with sadness but also with pride.

No comments:

Post a comment