Departure of Dravid: End of History

September 16, 2011 at 9:15 AMSep (Musings, Soliloquy)

Today will be the last ODI of Rahul Dravid. It is end of history, as I see it.

Now when Dravid stands near the exit door, let me say this: Sachin, who is considered as the God of cricket, in my eyes, is a statistician’s delight, Dhoni is a philosopher’s delight and it is Dravid who is a cricket lover’s delight and at once and at the same time an aethetician’s delight.

Sachin has given us thrills, Dhoni has made us proud. No doubt. But none of them have made us feel what Dravid could make us feel. A good art or sport is one that slows you down. Dravid is someone who slowed us down, without letting us down. His slow batting, which invited great criticism, was not a slow game as it appeared but a slow building and rebuilding of confidence, of the game and a slow turning of the match. We never knew when did he start and when did he reach his half century. We never would know when he snatched the game away from the opposition and managed to write India’s name on it. Brick by brick, with great patience and calculation, he would build the wall.

When he hit his first century (107) in Chennai, during the independence cup in 1996, his innings went unnoticed because Saeed Anwar had scored 194, a world record, in the same match. His memorable century against Kenya in the 1999 world cup, the match which brought back India into the series, was overshadowed by Sachin’s century and his century in the next match against Sri Lanka was overshadowed by the century hit by Sourav Ganguly. When Sachin made his 186 against New Zealand in Hyderabad, Dravid’s beautiful 153 was overshadowed.

Dravid was overshadowed by Sachin and Ganguly all through his career. But we failed to recognize that Dravid was also a Ganguly with the same fighting spirit minus that visible aggression of Ganguly. He was also a Sachin with match winning abilities, minus the aura which Sachin carries.

When the team needed a wicket keeper, he stood behind the wickets wearing the gloves. When Ganguly, in his first ODI as a captain, did not know how to tame South Africa, Dravid managed to grab two wickets with his unusual bowling. We all miss one important aspect while watching the game: the importance of fielding in opposition to batting and bowling. We enjoy the catches of Jhonty Rhodes, who undoubtedly is a great fielder. But we have hardly understood the significance of Dravid as a fielder. Undoubtedly, one of the best slip fielders. We celebrate Mohammed Kaif and Robin Singh for their magnificent dives and forget a Dravid who silently did the best fielding possible without making it visible.

Dravid might not have managed to sail us through the match, always. But then Sachin too has not managed to sail us through, always. But the thrills that Sachin has given us has made him the apple of our eyes. Dhoni has made us proud. He has sailed us through, most of the times. The result he has produced makes him the apple of our eyes. (I make this statement parking aside the recent criticism he is receiving for the defeats in the England tour) But Dravid gave us hope, gave us assurance in every match and slowly even without our realizing he gave us great cricketing moments. Yet he has not been the apple of our eye but constantly a target for our criticism. To get carried away only by thrills and results and forgetting the aesthetic delight and cricketing moments, is unfair. It is unfair and disrespect to the spirit of cricket too and not just a disrespect to one of the greatest cricketers ever.

If Sehwag’s batting is crisp and cutting like a short story, Sachin’s game is like a novel, Dhoni’s batting like an essay, Ganguly’s batting like a piece of criticism and Yuvraj like a news feature, Dravid’s batting is sheer poetry. Like the greatest poems, Dravid’s batting would slowly seep into us and give an eternal pleasure of the game.

Without making it obvious, through his poetic cricket, he taught us quite a few things. He never peeped or jumped out of the frame which held the Indian team. He always sat within the frame. One could see his game within the Indian game and not divorced of the team performance. He made us watch the game and not his game. That was his greatness as he was not the hero of the game but only a supporting star. Team India never played for Dravid and it will not play for him even today. It can’t happen so because Dravid plays for India and that is how it ought to be and not the reverse. He taught us the team was above individuals and the job of an individual is to strengthen the team and its performance and he made us realize one more thing which was crucial. He made us realize, without us knowing it, that a game continues even after Sachin walks back to the pavilion even after Ganguly walks back to the pavilion. He made us realize that cricket continued even without those who we gave the status of larger than cricket.

Cricket will continue even without Dravid and that is what he, through his game, has taught us. But the game of ODI cricket with Dravid’s departure, will feel his loss because he was someone who was a mix of traditional and the modern styles. He was Gavaskar, Hazare, Azharuddin, Sachin, Ganguly and also Dhoni at the same time. He was a perfect mix of the old and the new, keeping the history and memory of cricket alive in his game. Even in his 20-20 game, one could see the patience and values of Test cricket and even in his one-day innings, when required, one could see the aggressiveness of a 20-20 game. With his departure, this link between the past and present is almost broken.

I don’t know how many would realize the greatness of a player like Dravid in this IPL era. We will have many thrilling moments in T20 cricket, but will we have Dravidian moments? Dravidian moments which keeps alive history and memory, while still being in touch with the present. I doubt. So i say, it is the end of history…

Advertisements

8 Comments

  1. Departure of Dravid: End of History « Crazy Mind's Eye | Unlimited Possibilities said,

    […] when required, one could see the aggressiveness of a 20-20 game. … Continued here: Departure of Dravid: End of History « Crazy Mind's Eye └ Tags: dravid, exit, his-one-day, near-the-exit, patience-and, sachin, same, […]

  2. Prachee said,

    Very well written!
    Dravid’s a class apart. I am so going to miss watching him play. Can’t believe that he’ll not be playing anymore at all soon!

  3. ghanashyam said,

    very well written! I remember some one holding a placard yesterday which read something like Sachin is our God, but the Gods are always behind the Wall

  4. Srikumar said,

    Very well written; you have managed to remember all the poignant moments of his career and pretty sharp perspective too. Keep the words flowing… 🙂

  5. Veda said,

    “Dravid’s batting is sheer poetry..” Not a sports fan, not a Dravid fan..But this post made me smile and sigh..I dont understand your urdu sonnets Samvartha, but this…words threaded carefully together, you’ve drawn a beautiful picture for someone like me, whose been oblivious to this man’s greatness. Well written. Sports or not, keep at it..

  6. MI said,

    very nice article infact… as you mentioned Dravid’s hardwork always been over shadowed by sachin & saurav all the time he shined with his bat.. but people can never forget this man for his stylish cricketing shots which sachin & saurav is not good at like dravid…

    he is a classy player next only to lara .. when it comes to patience Dravid is always there ..
    I remember Sidhu once told the media about dravid that ” he is the one player who will walk on the broken glasses whenever his team wanted him to ” this shows how sincere dravid is about cricket..

    he is really an unsung hero of indian cricket .. we missed to praise him ..:((

    we will certainly miss him deeply , ..

  7. Jajabor said,

    Lovely!

  8. Sandeep said,

    Very well written …loved the phrase” Dravid’s batting is sheer poetry”.Its sinking into me very deeply.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: