Rahul Dravid ~ The Best of Tributes (And The Road Ahead)

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As India’s Mr Dependable’s defences were repeatedly being broken into by Australian bowlers in what was to be his last series, his bat surprisingly coming down a nanosecond later than it had come in the past 16 years, his followers may have got a whiff of things to come. They started breathing again after the man did not call it quits at Adelaide, but eventually braced themselves for the inevitable when, days after returning to India, Rahul Dravid quit international cricket the same way he had conducted himself on and off the field – sans nonsense.

As India’s Mr Dependable’s defences were repeatedly being broken into by Australian bowlers in what was to be his last series, his bat surprisingly coming down a nanosecond later than it had come in the past 16 years, his followers may have got a whiff of things to come. They started breathing again after the man did not call it quits at Adelaide, but eventually braced themselves for the inevitable when, days after returning to India, Rahul Dravid quit international cricket the same way he had conducted himself on and off the field – sans nonsense.

As most Dravid fans also happen to be those of Sachin Tendulkar, they’ve often rated his patient approach below his colleague’s flamboyancy. But then, there are those who’ve unabashedly admired his batting style – his gritty front-foot defences, flicks off the pads or simply the measured leaves. For a week or so after his retirement, they doled out fitting tributes, most of them emotional. The ones as good as the man himself included blogger Sidvee’s letter to Dravid, wherein he reminisced his versatility, his moments with Sachin and lamented how pop culture, especially the internet would hardly do justice to preserving his greatness, which lies not in powerful boundaries but in well-compiled singles.

Deputy Editor of a Mumbai tabloid, Kunal Pradhan picked up a forgotten Dravid innings in Nagpur, 2004 when he shielded a nervous Kaif from some classy Aussie bowling for a whole afternoon. Then, a complete insider’s view on the batsman appeared with his wife Vijeta herself penning down a tribute, speaking on his perfections and superstitions. Perhaps the most poetic of all tributes came from another blogger, Sriram Dayanand, who beautifully romanced just the batsman’s eyes. ‘..that half-squint of purposefulness… shone back at me from the shadow of your helmet..,’ he wrote.

The only silver lining at the presser was Dravid talking of playing the IPL this year, though it might well be his last tourney. For his fans and more so for his semi-new owners Rajasthan Royals, it’s a chance to watch him doing what he does best – leading from the front, coaching and mentoring. Lads from RR, consider yourself lucky… to have first had Shane Warne do the job and now another legend! And this one’s not a mean bet with performances too – in his first outing wearing Royals’ outfit last IPL, he scored 343 runs in 12 matches! Won’t the squad benefit from a Dravid, free from worldly pressures, indulging in strategy and motivating with his eons of experience! It won’t be a surprise if this ends up marking the resurgence of Royals in the IPL.

Like any overworked family man, Dravid promises to now indulge in routine pleasures such as buying groceries and dropping his children to school, but we know the man has enough cricket left in his mind for many to benefit from, his state association the most. Thankfully for the large cult of his followers such as the above, his workings with the Rajasthan Royals – whether on or off the field – would be an annual treat. The rest of the year, as Sidvee said, we might have to put up with YouTube videos.

As most Dravid fans also happen to be those of Sachin Tendulkar, they’ve often rated his patient approach below his colleague’s flamboyancy. But then, there are those who’ve unabashedly admired his batting style – his gritty front-foot defences, flicks off the pads or simply the measured leaves. For a week or so after his retirement, they doled out fitting tributes, most of them emotional. The ones as good as the man himself included blogger Sidvee’s letter to Dravid, wherein he reminisced his versatility, his moments with Sachin and lamented how pop culture, especially the internet would hardly do justice to preserving his greatness, which lies not in powerful boundaries but in well-compiled singles.

Deputy Editor of a Mumbai tabloid, Kunal Pradhan picked up a forgotten Dravid innings in Nagpur, 2004 when he shielded a nervous Kaif from some classy Aussie bowling for a whole afternoon. Then, a complete insider’s view on the batsman appeared with his wife Vijeta herself penning down a tribute, speaking on his perfections and superstitions. Perhaps the most poetic of all tributes came from another blogger, Sriram Dayanand, who beautifully romanced just the batsman’s eyes. ‘..that half-squint of purposefulness… shone back at me from the shadow of your helmet..,’ he wrote.

The only silver lining at the presser was Dravid talking of playing the IPL this year, though it might well be his last tourney. For his fans and more so for his semi-new owners Rajasthan Royals, it’s a chance to watch him doing what he does best – leading from the front, coaching and mentoring. Lads from RR, consider yourself lucky… to have first had Shane Warne do the job and now another legend! And this one’s not a mean bet with performances too – in his first outing wearing Royals’ outfit last IPL, he scored 343 runs in 12 matches! Won’t the squad benefit from a Dravid, free from worldly pressures, indulging in strategy and motivating with his eons of experience! It won’t be a surprise if this ends up marking the resurgence of Royals in the IPL.

Like any overworked family man, Dravid promises to now indulge in routine pleasures such as buying groceries and dropping his children to school, but we know the man has enough cricket left in his mind for many to benefit from, his state association the most. Thankfully for the large cult of his followers such as the above, his workings with the Rajasthan Royals – whether on or off the field – would be an annual treat. The rest of the year, as Sidvee said, we might have to put up with YouTube videos.

(Image Courtest: ESPNCricinfo)
 

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