Dear Mr. Dravid
For the past 15 years you have been standing tall for the nation like a Wall. You battled some of the fiercest attacks in the most atrocious conditions and registered yourself as an all-time great. You are an epitome of meticulousness and dedication, a role model for all and pride of our country.
In 1996 you announced your arrival to test cricket with stamping authority. Ever since, you have never looked back. You kept growing in stature and records kept tumbling for you, yet you were never blinded by the light. Your modesty and selflessness have made you a perfect ambassador for the sport that is followed like a religion in India.
There has not been a better sight in cricket than watching you construct an innings with an intense approach. In the early days of your career you were seen as an on-side player, thanks to your sublime wrist work, but with time you developed a wide array of strokes and caught the imagination of every cricket lover with your picturesque cover drives, crunching cuts off the backfoot and thrilling pull shots.
The most heartening thing about your career has been the way you have piled runs on foreign soil. An average of close to 60 in alien conditions for most part of your career has earned you the respect of the entire cricketing fraternity. The ease with which you batted for 31 hours in England in 2002, the grit you showed against Australia in Kolkata and Adelaide and the determination with which you encountered West Indian pacers on a lively Sabina Park pitch did not just script rare Indian wins but also placed you among the choicest group of cricketers who have ever played the game.
Over the years you have been a perfect team man, who has always put the team before self. You even donned the wicketkeeping gloves to lend the right balance to the side. The move paid off and made all the difference in the 2002 World Cup. You had to sacrifice your favorite number three spot and bat at number five. But you did not flinch from taking on the new role and developed into one of the finest finishers in one-dayers. Batting with the youngsters and grooming a new generation of batsmen was your new challenge in the middle order, which you did accomplish admirably. You even opened the innings whenever the situation demanded, which endorses your dedication to the cause of the team.
Whenever the critics mounted pressure, you responded with the little piece of willow in your hand. Be it 1998 when they thought you are not fit for the shorter version of the game or 2008 when they thought it is all over, you have always hit back. In 1999 you became the highest run-getter in the world cup, while in 2008-09 you played some vital knocks reaching milestones of 30 test centuries and 12,000 test runs forcing the critics to eat humble pie.
You are a perfect example for any moral science book – a thorough gentleman who attained greatness through hard work, patience, dedication and immense powers of concentration. On your 38th birthday, we salute you for all you have achieved for the nation, and wish you all the luck for future. Hope you keep treating us with delightful knocks, which have the stamp of Rahul Dravid on them.
Final Reads : 2405 : Pts 9/10
Editorial Score : Pts 8/10
Total Pts : 17/20Published 11 Jan 2011, 10:22 IST