Rahul Dravid retired yesterday. He finally did. It did not come as a surprise. With India not playing any test match in near future, probably everyone was expecting this. At least I was.
I am not going talk about the 180 @ Eden, 148 @ Headingley, 233 @ Adelaide or the 270 @ Rawalpindi. Great men are supposed to play great innings. These innings did not create Rahul Dravid, he scripted these innings. He did not pull anything special out of the box. He was doing what he was capable of doing. There was nothing extraordinary.
I have never been a big fan of Rahul Dravid. Blame it on the movies or fiction books. Most of them show the lead protagonist as a super hero and not just a mere mortal. And RD is just a mortal.
Now, I have never met RD. Nor I have met SRT or Brian Lara. When I watch SRT or Lara play, I feel something special, something divine. They were definitely destined to success and greatness.They were born to play cricket. RD was not born to play cricket. But he chose to and he was determined. And he finished his career way ahead of Lara and second only to SRT.
RD represented a common average man. A guy just like any other next door. But he showed what determination can do for you. How an ordinary human being can succeed at the highest level. How to stand tall when even the God (SRT) himself is failing.
Another aspect of Dravid's career is his selflessness. In real life we know of many people who keep there personal desires hidden and give more priority to their family or their loved one's. Dravid loved playing Cricket for India. And he gave everything he had for the Indian Cricket team. I can bet, he did not like keeping wickets in ODI. But he did. Again he never liked to open the innings, But he did. He could have said NO. But he did not. Because he knew this was in the interest of the team and if he had to come out of his comfort zone and work harder, he was up for it.
Then another highlight of his spotless career was the way he carried himself on the field. I doubt we will ever come across any other sports man who carries himself with more dignity. He knows he plays a game which is followed most of the Indian population and Kids. He knows what kind of legacy he wants to leave behind for them.
I have a confession to make here. Even I have switched off the TV many times, when Dravid Comes out to bat in test. Not because I do not like the way he bats. Oh I love his cover drives and pull shots. But I know The Indian innings is in safe hand and nothing bad is gonna happen for couple of hours at least.
When SRT comes out to bat, I always feel like what if he gets out next ball, but when RD bats, I know he is going to stay. He calms my nerves down.
I liked it when he said his return to the real world could inculde dropping his sons off at school and shopping groceries. He again reminded us that he is a mere mortal. Just like you and me.
We will miss you Dravid. And you have given us a lot to cherish. We could not have asked for more.
The Wall will always stand tall.