Mr.Reliable calls it a day

It is a bit eerie. Ever since Rahul Dravid called a press release for today- Friday, the 9th March– the press worldwide has already been out with his cricket obituary. It has been written with almost absolute certainty that Rahul Dravid is retiring and that’s what this press conference is all about.

Nevertheless, as soon as I heard of the news, one of the first things that came to mind was to ask my friend Ravi–an ardent fan of Dravid, if ever there was one– to ask for a guest post for this blog. I was almost certain that he would be moved to put his dormant writing skills to use; yet, things slipped through the cracks during the day, and I missed dropping him that invitation. Just past midnight, I get a mail from Ravi asking me if there was some space on my blog to post his piece celebrating Dravid’s career!

So, here it is, posted verbatim. I am posting this before Dravid’s press conference; I’ll go with the rest of the world in concluding that today is the day when cricket lovers worldover say adieu to the “Great Wall”. I look forward to some original writing (not pathetically written ghost-written pieces like several other ex-cricketers) and insightful commentary from Dravid in his next avatar, which I will believe will begin very soon.


All good things come to an end, so does the great career of Rahul Dravid. After a very impressive debut in England in 1996 he had to face the South Africans overses and showed a lot of resilience and spirit. Very early in his test career he had earned the reputation of being dependable or reliable. One of those guys when you watch for the first time gives the impression that he is 8000-10000 runs man. He did not let us down and always stood and fought in all situations without giving it away. He is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen the world has seen and I would rate him only second after Sachin Tendulkar among the Indians, and that’s only for skill. As far as his attitude goes he is right up there.

All along his career he played with some fantastic players in both forms of the game. Sachin, Saurav, Laxman, Sehwag, Yuvraj etc. These guys dominated and our man would quietly allow them the centre stage and silently do his job like a master craftsman. He never competed with these guys, but always complimented. He played in the larger interest of the team and therefore his 24000 odd runs in both forms of the game are priceless, as his presence in the middle brought out the best from his team mates. A few innings great innings I remember are Laxmans 281 at Kolkatta (2001), Sauravs 183 at Taunton (1991), Sachins 186 at Hyderabad (1999), MS Dhoni’s 183 at Jaipur (2005). The non-striker in all these great innings was Dravid. He scored 180, 145, 154 and I think 39 from the other end respectively. The first three scores were substantial ones, but they all got overshadowed, and he never minded that as he always played for the team. He has played in whatever position he was asked to, and even kept wickets when the team needed. He was not a naturally gifted stroke player as the guys listed above, but he made it up with grit, determination, discipline, dedication and tons of hard work. A classic and correct batsman who when got out bowled, one knew know that it was unplayable ball. That’s the reason I feel you will never produce a Rahul Dravid again as today’s system does not need a cricketer to toil hard to make a living in cricket.

India’s best period in test cricket coincided with his best batting. He averages more than 100 in all tests won under Saurav Ganguly. He was always questioned for his style of batting in the 50 over format, but he provided the solidity and sanity among all these stroke players and his aggregate of 10000 runs @40 reflects his contribution. His slip catching was another great contribution to the team. His time with Greg Chappell as coach was probably one of the most volatile period in recent times. There was so much written about RD as well, the man hardly ever spoke a wrong word. His conduct on and off the field all along has been almost immaculate. That’s the reason he has earned the respect of even the opposition team members. It’s been a privilege to watch his career and it has been a great lesson of building it brick by brick.

For ardent fans like me it’s hard to believe that there will be an Indian test team without RD at number 3. Let’s wish the Legend a great life ahead and thank him for his contribution to Indian Cricket and bringing innumerable smiles on the faces of Indian cricket fans.

Contributed by Ravi Kumar.


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