All Good Things Come To An End – I have been hearing this proverb ever since my childhood. However, it is just since yesterday that I am truly able to feel the bitter feeling behind it. It’s the retirement of Rahul Dravid, one of the best cricketers ever produced by India that has enabled me to understand the true meaning of the above proverb.
Dravid’s greatness is such that by merely saying, “He was a great cricketer,” isn’t an enough tribute to him. Frankly speaking, it is not possible to explain in a few pages the career of a cricketer who took the very heavy load of expectations and responsibilities on his shoulders. Those like me who have followed his career throughout would understand this and agree with me.
Personally, I feel Dravid was the unsung hero of Indian cricket. I say this because a number of his achievements went unnoticed or didn’t receive the importance it deserved as it got overshadowed by an achievement by a fellow cricketer or due to some other reason.
For instance, in the famous Kolkata test against Australia in 2001, the Karnataka batsman played one of his finest knocks by scoring 180. However, VVS Laxman’s 281 is what people remember more from that test although Dravid’s innings deserved equal praise since it also played a vital role for India to turn the tables and beat the Aussies in one of the greatest fight-backs ever!
Another example is during the 1999 World Cup match against Sri Lanka at Taunton, England where Saurav Ganguly registered his highest one-day score of 183. He had a 300+ run stand with Dravid who scored a fabulous 145. But here too, it is Dada’s innings which is remembered more while one should also remember that Dravid’s score was at that time the highest by any wicket-keeper in ODIs.
I would also like to state Dravid’s most under-rated innings in ODIs. It was in the 1997 Independence Cup match against Pakistan, where the Wall scored his maiden ODI century (127) which didn’t prove enough. Since Saeed Anwar registered the highest ODI score ever earlier in the day with 194 and also because of the fact that Dravid’s knock was in a losing cause, it was forgotten soon.
Likewise, throughout his career, a number of innings by Dravid didn’t receive the due credit it so much deserved!
Moving ahead, I have no qualms in saying that Dravid was victim of the idiocy of Indian selectors! Dravid resigned from the captaincy (both in tests and ODIs) in 2007 in the interest of the team as he wanted to concentrate on his batting. However, he was unable to concentrate on it in half or more than of the matches as the selectors dropped him from the ODIs!
The move of dropping him from the ODI team is the biggest blunder ever by Indian selectors! Time and again Jammy had proved his mettle in ODIs as a quick scorer but the selection committee dropped him saying he is unable to score quick runs. Just some time before he was dropped, he had scored an earth-shattering 90 odd in just 63 balls in an ODI in England.
In fact, he has been handy even in Twenty20 matches. On numerous occasions in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Dravid has proved how wrong the selectors were. Then in the 2011 ODI series against England, they picked Dravid as there was a dearth of quality batsmen in the team. Although the Wall played in the series, he announced his retirement from ODI cricket just after he was picked. A good indirect way of giving thumbs down!
Today, looking at the huge number of messages of praise that are pouring in for Dravid on social media and the internet, I get a feeling the world has understood his worth and importance. It is been proved that someone who is one-of-its-kind will never get overshadowed!
Although this is been said again and again today, I would still like to repeat that Dravid is irreplaceable!
I would like to wind up with a small shayari on the great man: -
Bahav Ke Sath To Har Koi Beh Sakta Hai,
Jo Bahav Ke Khilaf Bahe Wohi Farishta Kehlata Hai
Video of Rahul Dravid's retirement speech: -
India’s performance in Australia in the ongoing Agneepath series has indeed been hugely disappointing. However, I am pained to see the way Indian cricket fans and so-called cricket experts are reacting.
Just over nine months back on the night of April 2, the whole of India literally worshipped Team India after they lifted the World Cup 2011. Just two bad series (in England and Australia) and the same people are reacting as if Team India is worse than minnows. What right do you have to call yourself an Indian supporter if you can’t support your team when it requires the most? After all, support is needed the most when a person or a thing is struggling. The difference between an Indian supporter and an Indian fan (who just likes to see the team winning) is proved once again!
It is even more disheartening to see the way the most experienced players – Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman – are been forced to retire! How right is it to humiliate them in this manner for their age old services for the team? The fact that some of the ex-players are involved in these forceful tactics is even more shocking considering their knowledge and experience.
Tendulkar’s contribution to Indian cricket is known far and wide. He has been consistently scoring runs. His fitness level is clearly visible. So, if he wants to continue playing, what is wrong in it? For your kind information, he is India’s leading run scorer even in the current series!
There is no doubt even Dravid has been one of the greatest Indian batsmen ever and even he is scoring runs, although not much in this series. He was also the only one who showed some resistance in the England tour. So again, how can we force him to retire if he is scoring runs and wants to play? In Laxman’s case, I agree he has not been scoring runs but that doesn’t mean one should forget his talent and record and compel him to hang his boots!
In my personal opinion, it is Virendra Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir who are more responsible as they have failed to build a platform as openers. Especially in the case of Sehwag, he has been in terrible form but we are just busy pointing fingers at the ‘big three’.
Before this series, all types of cool adjectives were used for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his captaincy, especially after winning the World Cup. There have also been debates going on whether he is the best Indian captain ever. It is a mixture of shame and amnesia that after just two bad series, even he has been indirectly forced to step down as captain!
Apart from their performance, team India has also been demoralized by the reactions and forceful tactics of the public and ex-players before the start of the fourth test match at Adelaide.
P.S: - People laughed at me when I continued to support India despite their shameful exit from the 2007 World Cup. I laughed back at them in the same year when we won the T20 World Cup and other series which followed after that. I am quite sure I will get a chance to laugh once again!