Why Rahul Dravid has been an Inspiration in My Life!

I have erred often in my life, and more so often I have repeated the same mistakes again and again than learn from them! It was during days when I was making more mistakes in my life that someone by the name Rahul Dravid took my attention. I had seen him earlier, years ago, playing or probably captaining an Under 19 team Vs New Zealand early in 90s. I think he kept wickets, also bowled and batted as well in one of those matches (I’m not sure). Anyways, I wasn’t much into Test Cricket, when he had made his debut in England scoring wonderfully. However, years later, I started to like the way he had held himself in the few matches that I watched. My most sympathetic moment came for him, when he was dropped from the ODI teams because of his slow approach to batting. What started as sympathy had later turned into tons of respect towards this man, who would go onto change my life in the way I have never imagined.

Coming back to sympathy, watching Dravid bat in Wold Cup 1999 was a joy. He was the top scorer in the World Cup, even though India didn’t make it to Semi Finals. He had been involved in two 200+ run partnerships in the same world cup. Dravid had a made come back. Always being the supporter of the Under Dog, I loved the way Rahul Dravid made his come back. His comments, off the field, never said anything loud, but never left anything incomplete or unfufiling. He was a wonderful talker, and till date he remains one of my most Loving Speakers, both in and off the game. It seems it was around this time that Rahul Dravid’s role as the supporter came to the fore. He has supported many others achieve their highest individual scores. Just to mention few he was at the other end when the likes of Sehwag, Sachin, Ganguly, VVS Laxman would achieve their highest scores either in Test or ODIs (till then)! Now that was a team player, who would fit into the supporting role as easily as he would lead it when required. (For example: He finished off the game against Pak in 2003 WC, with a 40+ score along with Yuvi).  True Team Player, and this is the biggest lesson I learnt from him – being a team player, no matter what role you are in.

Then came a cricket event that would put me into complete awe of this fellow. It was another useless day for me, when me and a dear friend, gathered ourselves in front of TV, talking of kings and cabbages. By the end of the day we saw three sessions in a day of a Test Match in which two players batted all along. VVS Laxman was at the helm, scoring 200+ runs. Rahul Dravid was at the other end – supporting him. The Kolkata innings completely turned him into my God. Yes Laxman was the leader in the match, but try taking any thing away from Rahul – you would find nothing! I wonder if both Rahul and VVS Laxman were in tune with the God that day. They just played. We watched. It was as if Rahul had silently told me – look into the best within you – that will change the way you look at your life. And Rahul kept proving it, in Australia and South Africa (much later) bringing India’s 1st Test Victory in both these places, and then winning another in West Indies – all with his amazing solidity.

It was only natural that he became the LEADER. It was only natural that he would lead. He had (still has) great vision – he was instrumental in picking India’s most important players, without bias; he played his role when ICC demanded him to work for it; and yet he would come back and play Ranji Trophy – in silent thanks to where he came from, and wanting to share with juniors, what he has learned so far! But leadership brings with it, great difficulties. His team lost the WC 2007 in the first round! Rahul never came into the fore after that, proving that he was after all a human, whose determination, hard work and working on priorities helped him nurture his talent. He left none of these qualities even though his good times deserted him, like they most naturally do. Only Navaratilova, whose story is as inspiring as Rahul’s, could explain what Rahul must have gone through – “What matters isn’t how well you play when you’re playing well. What matters is how well you play when you’re playing badly.” Rahul played well. His team supported him, deservedly. His critics raised voices, but he would silently play – most often struggling, but ensuring that he had atleast wasted balls in order to make them get older for the players coming in late, making a new record of playing more balls than anyone else in the game! In the mean time, though, he worked on other things that he could work on – fitness, on catching, and on everything else he could.

There have been painful contributions, there have been some easier ones, but what Rahul Dravid did was that he never let his guard down, even in the moments of failures. It is through these failures that the second nature of a man comes out. I wonder if anyone had discussed this earlier anywhere – but Rahul comes across as a saint, who had left everything else, detached from the happenings of the world, working more on his penance! Incidentally, saints in India are expected in temples or in mountains, not in our homes! Voices rose against him, even though Rahul egged on improving himself. Personally, though, I think if there is the biggest critic that Rahul Dravid ever found, would be Rahul Dravid himself. That there is no other person who would be able to point your negative at you, other than yourself, says a thing or two about Greatness. I’m not sure how many else can be in that situation, now that is the position I someday would like to be, and I know that I have a long long way to go.

Has Rahul Dravid found a second winding (even after the century in West Indies) or has he weathered the long storm, it would be too early to try to answer. But having followed Rahul Dravid for sometime I know that whatever he chooses to do next, be it in Cricket or away from it, would be as pure as the man himself – useful to himself, useful to his team or family or society and quite remarkable for the coming generations.

I’m not sure if, in my life, I will be able to do things the way Rahul did. But in the search for the best within, it is indeed inspiring, insightful and enlightening, to have someone like Rahul Dravid in my life time. I render a sincere thanks and bow to this man for just having been there, doing what he does best – being there among the most gentlemanly great the gentleman game ever produced.

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6 thoughts on “Why Rahul Dravid has been an Inspiration in My Life!

  1. Hmm,
    Nice article. Rahul Dravid is a very composed, focussed cricketer and one of his great strengths is that he knows himself and his game inside out. He never plays outside it, always within his capabilities. To be able to retain one’s sanity in an era of batting with Sehwag, Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Laxman and other dazzling stroke players at the other end speaks volumes of his greatness. No doubt most test teams think that his wicket is the one to get in India’s line up.

    Apart from all that you have mentioned – of being a team man, of playing the support role to perfection, of being a visionary, of being a trusted soldier and the epitome of a professional – Rahul is a fine human being with no airs. I met him on a couple of occassions and was impressed with his humility and warmth unlike some others who have big airs about them.

    Another contribution of his, one that not many write of was when he chose to step down and at the same time make himself and Sachin and Sourav unavailable for the T20 World Cup. In an era of cricketers who crave the premier position in Indian cricket, he sacrificed it even after finishing on a winning note on his last tour as captain , knowing fully well that the future belongs to the youth. Thus paving way for Dhoni, in whom Rahul must have surely seen the signs of a great leader, and a golden period for Indian cricket!

    If anything, he is the role model for millions to follow because he is about process, hardwork, of the basics, of seeing through the tough times, of preparation, of utmost professionalism, of holding the fort in tough times and allowing the others to be themselves. He is the role model for the majority of the youth in India today more so as he always underscores the point that everything must be planned, prepared and fought for to be achieved. Nothing comes easy.

    In their golden years many cricketing greats will give him a much higher medal of greatness when it truly sinks in what he has done. Like all great performers, his goes unnoticed and blends so well with the environment, showing that everything is in perfect harmony. Everything can be taken for granted and one can enjoy the symphony. No wonder Steve Waugh got him to write foreword for his autobiography!

  2. @Hari! Hey thanks Hari garu, for the additional inputs. Coming from someone like you, it only makes things I’ve heard, even more authentic! I wish I could have written something similar to what you said – “In their golden years many cricketing greats will give him a much higher medal of greatness when it truly sinks in what he has done”. Wow.

  3. the blog is awesome, hey I am not sure if the my respect towards Rahul has gone up or not but the respect on you for your writing abilities is up for sure, You are amazing , fantastic, cool , everthing. common start writing books of international calibre and publish them , I am sure they will be hit

    1. @vijay heheh Vijay… that’s a bit too much. May be there was some genuine emotion in what I wrote, but it is light years away from publishing class. The example is not too far away. Hari’s ‘casually written’ comment has lot more info and a touch of class to it – that’s why he is a published author from Hyderabad. But then thanks anyways… 😛

  4. Bro….just one word for your being nihit post…..awesome……ur life just like many of us…..bro just tell me from where have u done ur engineering an mba???? Just want to know…keep up the good work…post more on life and inspiration……

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