It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
As Rahul Dravid retires from test cricket, we're faced with a rather difficult question. How does one even begin to eulogize Rahul Dravid's test career? How does one possibly do justice to his 16-year saga that began at Lords in 1996, the 13,288 runs he accumulated while averaging 52, and the 36 centuries and 63 half-tons that came when India most needed them? The short answer is: one doesn't; his records speak for themselves.
Instead, we can pay tribute to Dravid the man, that gritty, unflinching colossus, standing up to deliver when the rest of the batting lineup had tried, been found wanting, and failed. His innings were testament to the seemingly unlimited reserves of tenacity and determination stored deep within his psyche, summoned up on demand and used to grind the opposition into the dust when combined with near-flawless technique and patience.
He was also the consummate team player. Whenever the Indian team called on him to fill a role, he was there. Opener, middle-order batsman, lower-order stopgap solution, wicketkeeper, T20 pinch hitter, captain, and outstanding slip fielder--Dravid did it all, and with nary a hint of dissent.
For us fans, Dravid inspired confidence. We've lost track of the number of times India lost an early wicket on a track that was doing a bit too much for our flashy openers, and Dravid would stride out, face a few deliveries, and restore calm to the proceedings. His batting was a message to the fans: calm down, I've got this. And to the other batsmen: this is how it's done.
Dravid didn't just set an example on the field; off the field as well, he exemplified the perfect gentleman cricketer. He was always eloquent, polite, and reserved; today's generation of brash young upstarts would do well to take a page out of his book when it comes to dealing with fans, the media, and the crushing expectations that come with being an Indian cricketer.
We're going to miss Dravid sorely and hope dearly that he'll continue his association with Indian cricket in a capacity that allows him to influence young minds and hopefully pass on his vast reserves of knowledge. And finding a replacement for him is more than about just filling a Dravid-sized hole, it's about finding another cornerstone, another player around which the batting order can huddle, regroup, and ride to glory (particularly overseas) once again.
For all the memories, and showing us that there is indeed redemption on the high road, thank you Jammy.
Here are 2 videos showcasing Dravid at his best. First, a look back at his test debut:
And here's his well-received Sir Donald Bradman oration delivered last year:
-Pictures courtesy Reuters-
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