Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Why I Root for Rahul Dravid

“One of the things, Bradman said has stayed in my mind. That the finest of athletes had, along with skill, a few more essential qualities: to conduct their life with dignity, with integrity, with courage and modesty. All this he believed, were totally compatible with pride, ambition, determination and competitiveness. Maybe those words should be put up in cricket dressing rooms all over the world.” 

This is an  extract from the brilliant, intellectually satisfying speech Rahul Dravid gave during the Bradman oration in Australia in 2011. Dravid - the first Indian invited to give the oration - showed the same preparation, the same high standards that he displayed in the cricket field, and came up with a fantastic speech that got him a standing ovation.

Not surprising that these words of the great Sir Donald Bradman appeal to Rahul Dravid. He himself has followed these standards both while playing for India and the IPL, and while conducting himself in areas beyond the realm of cricket. Understated elegance defines him and he is - and will be - himself, regardless of whether he gets recognition or not. This self assurance comes from within and that's the most valuable award he’s ever won. (Beyond the 11 Man of the Match awards; 4 Man of the Series Awards; Padma Bhushan; Wisden Cricketer of the year; ICC Cricketer of the Year....)

He’s never sought publicity and he’s never got the ‘over the top’ mad coverage some of the other sportsmen get, and as Sunil Gavaskar said in a recent column, he’s never drawn attention to himself. And yet he’s always shone brightly regardless of where the spotlight is directed – at him or away from him. He is meticulous, methodical and almost mystical. He’s always calm and composed and collected – the epitome of coolness. 

That’s the kind of person this country needs in these tragic times. Someone who will: Do it well, Do it right - whether he gets acclaim or not. In short, someone with a lot of character. It’s the hope that there are more Dravidesque Indians in the silent majority – men and women who have - or aim to have - Dravid’s standards that makes me optimistic about India ‘making it’.

Yes that's why I will always root for him. He and his like - they are the ones who will make sure that our nation ‘makes it’. They fill me with optimism in these pessimistic times.

Don’t you agree?

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