Thursday, November 01, 2007

19, Dravid

1996: An eleven year old, young girl, surfs through boring TV channels, looking for a reason for the invention of television. She finds it. A ball running towards the boundary, a fielder hopelessly behind it. Camera moves, batsman in frame. Girl has never seen him before, cricket was still Sachin Tendulkar for her, like everybody else.

Things changed. He had arrived, but right now only for testing times. Scoring a 95 on debut versus England, he found himself replacing an injured Manjrekar. He was the new rising star. Not yet.

But for the girl, he was the new idol. What struck her was his silent aggression, his determination, his temperament and his way of silencing his critics. When he was on the field, only his bat spoke. In an age of swashbuckling, stylish batsmen, no. 19 jerseyed Dravid played all strokes in the book to perfection. Branded as technically sound but slow (BTW he is the fastest to reach 9000 runs in test cricket, breaking Brian Lara's record by one innings), he found himself splashed in sports pages of dailies, but couldn't find a spot in the one-day squad.

That was then. Batting at No. 3, 4, 5, 6, keeping wickets, even bowling, he did everything in his might for the team and some more. His batting hardly failed him, his gut never. Girl had a new definition for cricket. Rahul Dravid.

From being a 'defensive' batsman, to standing shoulder to shoulder with the best batsmen in the world, finding his name etched in records previously broken, made and shared, Dravid had become more than just another name. He had become an ambassador of consistency, grit and team spirit. Girl came to know him as the 'wall'. Girl doesn't like labels.

So, the 'Wall' that has now crumbled as they say, is the only player to have scored a century against every test playing nation away from home. First Indian batsman to have scored five double centuries, each bigger than the other. Girl witnessed all. A silent, but loyal spectator.

Waiting for a wicket to fall, just to see him bat, waiting for him to take on the field, snatching the ball from the air at a speed of naughts, taking the most amazing catches fielding at a spot known as the 'slip'!

Today, dropped from the side, he doesn't need this post. But, the girl needs to tell him that he is, was, and will be her hero, now and forever. He needs to know that he has been the teacher, the guide, the mentor. He needs to know that he has provided the game of cricket with a follower who wanted to be like him, but who realized that being Dravid is not easy.

Cricket is not going to be the same. Just not going to be the same.

No. 19 Dravid, will walk again, this time to prove a point to those in the selection committee. You say, its no big deal? For the girl, it is.

For the girl it is because the cover drive still haunts.

11 comments:

crumbs said...

going off track...
do you notice that most of your titles have an obsession with numbers?

Me Thinks.. said...

@crumbs So?

Cosmos said...

Some people go to come back and Dravid is one of them.

Tsu said...

he batted with no.5 as well. some constructive comments for the first time in a long while (passion rules) 1. Love the pun on "testing times"
2. Waiting for a wicket to fall, just to see him bat... VERY TRUE AND ME DID THE SAME!!!
3. he looked ridiculous taking a wicket and bowling!!!
4. I love him so much and the wall can never crumble how muchever critics try to destruct him!!! He will always be a hero and cherished as a cricketer of my time!!! :)

Anand Sarolkar said...

Its very sad that we cannot build a team around our Big Three!

India needs to learn to respect her Heroes!

Me Thinks.. said...

@Cosmos Hopefully! He didn't go, he was asked to go..

@Tsu Ditto!!! ;)

@anand Not India, its just those men with vested interests and vengeance!

Reema Banerjee said...

i was in a good mind to copy paste the chat here...but i will let it be...methinks u know what i have to say.

pRicky said...

Your comment is available on my blog...

Goli said...

stumbled on your blog through Rims, have not seen many girls write about cricket, or even watch it.

:)

Me Thinks.. said...

@Reema Yes! I know

@Pricky And mine on yours! Thanks;)

@Goli I am a cricket freak, love the game! welcome to my blog..happy reading!

hari said...

well al i can say is....form is tmpry....but class is forever....