Rahul Dravid: The Bradman of respect in modern cricket
The speech that Rahul Dravid delivered yesterday at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra was as splendid as the man himself. I sat through the night to first read through the text and then heard the entire speech to actually understand the depth of thought behind those magnanimous words. In an era where cricket is a form of entertainment, to people like Dravid cricket is an art form. More than his exploits on the cricketing field, he portrays a wider ray of hope to individuals wanting to succeed in life with elegance and a gentlemanly demeanor.
One of the most significant aspects of the speech that Dravid delivered was when he mentions about the historical significance between India and Australia from the days of pre independence. Well, it might be fair enough to suggest that one had to prepare such a speech on the context of Bradman but you could see the natural flow of thought in his speech. It wasn't made up for the sake of this occasion; it was more like the thoughts were meant to be articulated on such a prestigious occasion. This aspect of historical understanding of any situation is often ignored or overseen in any context. My personal opinion is that he has conveyed that a deep rooted understanding of the historical significance helps you rejuvenate and perform at the highest arena for a sustainable period of time. He says "everytime I walk on the pitch, I know I am playing a part in cricket's history". History and its aesthetic understanding helps us to recognize the role our existence plays in this world, it helps us to show our place in the world no matter how marginal it is. This deep rooted understanding of history has reinforced his priority of keeping the team first all the time.
Dravid says "playing at number 3 is a tough job. You have to hold fort to allow the stars to flourish". Every time that I have watched cricket, I have not seen an individual who has sacrificed so much for the team as Dravid has. Wicketkeeper, batsman, captain; you name it and this man has done it for the team. Deeply ingrained in the old school of thought, the priority always lies in the collective self and not individual brilliance. Even in this speech, he says the " Indian team is India itself in microcosm" extolling praise on the diversity of the Indian cricket team. In addition, he also compliments the BCCI for all their successes in playing a part in propagating the game to the interiors of the country. His humility shines through when he says " If I bat for length of time, I would bore people to sleep". At no point, does he mention himself and how he had fought hard like the Sehwag's and Zaheer's to reach this pinnacle. At no point does he mention his journey in this entire speech, its always about the team and not the individual for Dravid, be it the Eden Gardens or the Bradman speech.
In the process of complimenting the team, he doesn't compromise his view point. The man makes sure that he compliments the system that has produced great cricketers but also takes a fair swipe at the meaningless ODI's and saying with firmness that "The fan has sent us a message and we must listen". Moreover, the man mines no words in saying "Test cricket is gold standard and we must protect it". He doesn't chicken out of the situation just because he is nice and good. The firmness in his resolve to send the message across is as poignant as ever. It's the same firmness with which he has amassed 13,000 Test runs over his career till date. The beautiful thing is that this ensures that the message goes through in a very fair and objective manner without sensationalism and hype.
Even his humour is so elegant that you often wonder how seamlessly his class pervades into humour too. Dravid is the closest that one comes to the common man; understated and extremely hardworking. He reasserts that attitude is more important than talent at any point of time. He provides a spring board for people who want to succeed with the old school of thought for whom dignity and pride is more important than winning itself. In a generation and era where class, elegance and fortitude takes a back seat in comparison to brashness, controversy and fame, Rahul Dravid stands out as a beacon of light.
Most of all, he is the epitome to prove that you can be good, elegant, classy with an old school of thought and yet succeed at the pinnacle of the modern era.
Rahul Dravid, I take a bow to the Bradman of gentlemanship and respect in modern cricket.
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More about Sriram Balasubramanian
Sriram Balasubramanian is a Journalist, voracious reader, avid Blogger, social enthusiast and a believer in excellence not mediocrity. With an inherent passion towards journalism and writing, he believes in playing the "Straight Drive" all the time. Besides this, he has a MS in Engineering Management and has played Chess for Singapore.
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