Very Wall Left Sir…
With a fleeting regret and a wistful longing at the past, I remember watching the legendary Kolkata Eden test of 2001. Another pang of the heart, I look back upon the unforgettable Adelaide Test of 2004. Headingly, Jamaica… all surge through the dusty lanes of nostalgia, rubbishing the old adage about nice guys finishing last. It has been a glorious journey of transformation from the bare beginnings to the rock solid “Wall”, but above all it has been fascinating to watch a boy turn into a man as I grew up witnessing this transformation.
When asked about the nickname “Wall”, Rahul , in the press conference joked that maybe people had named him so that they could use phrases like crumbling wall or hole in it whenever his form nosedived. But I do not see Dravid as the wall or whatever metaphor one confers on him. My lasting image of him is the intent and the discipline shown with the side reeling at 3 or 4 wickets gone, looking down the barrel ,his unsurpassable patience and intermittent heart-warming pulls and cover drives assuring the millions that even with the “God” gone, hope remained. Many cricketing pundits feel that his retirement was ill-timed and should have come after the England tour. The fact remains that Rahul hardly cared for personal glory or for a memorable farewell test . The cause of the team always headed the self . In Kipling’s words which he had quoted, he was “the wolf who lived for the pack”.
There are lot of things to write about Jammy. His cricketing style, volumes of records, his impeccable focus , perseverance, his on and off field conduct, his strong family values…….. But I believe these all have been dealt by writers far worthier and informed. For the starry eyed ten year old (and this was before India got Sehwag and Gambhir as reliable openers) who had started watching cricket, Rahul Dravid was the familiar sight walking down the stairs even before we could realize that India had lost Vikram Rathore , Nayan Mongia , Akash Chopra or Deep Dasgupta….. , a calming reassurance written all across his batting as he tried to consolidate the innings, stringing historical partnerships and often being labelled as the other supporting guy.
Life moves on… soon the cricket lover will get used to some new name at the Number 3 . We might have another legend .. who knows.. Kohli, Sharma ,Pujara… all have shown promise. But , in the words of Sachin Tendulkar, “there cannot be another cricketer like Rahul Dravid.
Well played Sir….. Thank you for all the memories.