There are artists that compel you to sit back and enjoy their artistry and then there are eager beaver’s who induce you to stand up and applaud. There are people who are born talented & gifted and then there are people who work that tad bit extra to maximize their talent.
Sachin as we all know is flamboyant, classy and carries our sky soaring expectations day in and day out! He is like an immensely talented painter who whips confident brush strokes on paper effortlessly with absolutely impeccable colour schemes. Dravid on the other hand ingrains a workman like demeanor. He is akin to a sculptor who toils hard and meticulously carves out finer edges of the statue, with great finesse. He knows that his job is not as easy as a painter; nevertheless both seem to produce masterpieces of similar eminence!
If Sachin is ‘God’ then watching Dravid play is the closest it can get to ‘divinity’!
While Sachin will mesmerize you with his trademark straight drive and cheeky paddle sweeps, Dravid will keep grafting the ones and twos with his nudges and flicks. He also has his own repertoire which includes the textbook cover drive and the pull shot with wrists rolling beautifully to keep the ball under control. While Sachin is a coach’s delight, Rahul is a live coaching manual! (In fact more than that as a manual can teach you only technique and not right attitude. Dravid does well on both counts!)
Tendulkar’s achievements are comparable to none; yet in many ways Dravid finds himself above Sachin! India’s overseas man – Dravid has an enviable record abroad. Almost ninety per cent of his centuries have yielded in victories or have helped India draw. With a better captaincy record Dravid has led India to many exceptional series wins. If Sachin has steel shoulders then Dravid has nerves of same alloy! I dare get into a debate on who’s better among the two, as I risk unlocking the Pandora’s Box. All I would say is – If there was one colossal structure called ‘World Cricket’ then, Tendulkar sits atop this where as Dravid is its foundation. Dravid is the true Mr. Cricket. (No offence Mr. Hussey!)
Tendulkar is the master of the game where as Dravid remains a perennial student!
Dravid is like a Zen teacher in more ways than one – his patience and temperament unfazed, and his efforts unadulterated. He has the knack of translating the last bit of morsel consumed into performance. Rahul Dravid once described Steve Waugh by saying “He gave grit a good name”. I would say that Dravid made it (‘Grit’) fashionable! (I am pretty sure Steve Waugh will agree to it). He may be of the old school but is no less effective when it comes to enervating the opposition! A perfect team man and always ready to put the country before self. Be it wicket keeping all rounder, being a floater in the batting order or even delivering a sermon at the Sir Bradman Oration – Dravid has always been up for the challenge and delivered!
Before the year 2011 started, critics were calling for Dravid’s head! Instead of abnegating them we find him re-discovering himself and doing what he does best – scoring runs. The ODI comeback after facing the axe, being top run getter in the 1999 World cup, adapting as a finisher in 2003 World Cup, top scorer of IPL for his franchise, making 20-20 debut at an age when players retire are occasions when he raised his bar after being pushed to the wall. And yet we never see him thump his chest for proving his detractors wrong. He seems to be in a perpetual nirvana. At peace with himself!
It’s a universally accepted fact that Dravid’s heroics have always been overshadowed by Sachin’s genius, Ganguly’s daredevilry and Laxman’s artistry. But Dravid has been quite happy playing his own game quietly at the background. (But I must admit that Dravid is getting his due to some extent in the year 2011). That’s Dravid for you silent yet effective! The one regret he will probably have is not being part of a World Cup winning team. Dravid’s feats are unparalleled in World Cricket but it’s a pity that he has been snubbed as yet for the Khel Ratna award – the highest sporting honour in India.
Dravid is a perfect role model for youngsters to look up to. Sachin fans do pardon me! The reason I am saying this is Sachin is godly (no doubt!) whereas Dravid is more humane. Sachin is like the sky – beautiful, inspiring but unattainable where as Dravid is more like the mountain peaks – stands tall but more scalable for mortals like us. Sachin shows us that natural talent and hard work can be a potent combination whereas Dravid teaches us that grit, determination and work ethics will take you at the same pedestal if your talent is not on par with the likes of the Tendulkar’s. We need a Tendulkar to look up to, pray and wish but we also need a Dravid to create a path that youngsters can tread on in the future.
I would like to end this by saying that the only difference between God and a perfect role model is that former can only be worshipped whereas the later can be emulated also!
This article is a tribute to the man I have adored all these years. He was my incentive to watch Test cricket and my role model too. ‘The Wall’ – take a bow! Thank you for proving that cricket is still a gentleman’s game.