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Rahul Dravid And The Art Of Patience

LEANING ON THE WALL (Part 2): THE LINGERING ART OF PATIENCE

Patience pays: By being patient Dravid hoodwinks the bowler to bowl in his areas, who in the quest of a wicket operates out of his comfort zone, which is what a batsman wants.

After his fabulous knock at Kingston, Jamaica, the kind he has produced too often in his prime, Rahul Dravid advised patience to the youngsters and accentuated the importance of ‘weathering the storm’. It is intriguing and equally interesting and almost looked like an idea that suddenly propped up from beneath the ocean as the modern-day coaches have started to emphasize more on the need for consistency, temperament and fitness levels while the good old-fashioned trait that has worked wonders for cricketers in the past is either overlooked or belittled.

It is understandable these days, in an era where fast and instant cash have reduced the queues inside the banks, ebooking has come as a welcome alternative for long waits in the railway station, door deliveries have replaced what was one of the most adorable hobbies in the past – shopping and emails have taken over the conventional and more expressive art of letter-writing. It can be easily seen where impatience creeps in from and why the rookies choose to rifle for those strokes that never exist on a particular pitch and throw away their wickets even before they get their eye in. As much as it is has got to do with the technique of the individual, so has it with his patience to slum it in the middle before going for the shots.

Patience doesn’t mean letting things happen, it is making things happen in a more subtle way. It is knowing what to do and waiting for the right time to make it happen. By being patient, Rahul Dravid denies the bowler his wicket and makes him to bowl in his areas. It might seem outlandish to a generation that has become masala- loving; fallen more in love with fast-foods; crave more for those ennerving T20 finishes and more speed-driven, overall.

This approach did more than a tad good for Suresh Raina in this series. When he accosted Dravid seeking help to counter the short-pitch stuff, Dravid came up with an interesting suggestion – to duck. Countering a short-ball requires energy while ducking doesn’t. The energy wasted on countering your weakness could well be spent on your strength which is a more fulfilling and rewarding pursuit. It also means throwing the challenge back to the bowler for the shorter ball requires a greater effort to bowl.

Earlier Raina stood lurking inside the crease, deeply rooted to his back-foot, anticipating the shorter ball to be catapult against him. Perhaps the precocious kid had unintentionally heralded that playing the short ball was not one of his strengths. Now he is more on his front foot and is playing more with a straight bat. However, we have to wait for a while before declaring that a short-ball weakness is a relic of the past, as he will be confronted with plenty of such challenges against the English bowlers.

Dravid says whenever he walks in to bat he sets himself a plausible target of batting through the session. When you don’t throw your wickets the runs are bound to come. Through patience he hoodwinks the bowler to bowl in his areas, who in the quest of a wicket operates out of his comfort zone, which is what a batsman wants.

Even Sachin Tendulkar adopted 100% attack approach for nearly a decade before he understood the importance of patience. There were even times (when he made his debut), he had to be told that at this level bowlers need to be respected. He then began to adopt an 80-20 approach where he spent 20% analyzing.

Patience is respecting your opponent and earning it in return. It allows us to buy into the situation before we handle it. The 40% advantage that the HDFC promises in cash withdrawal while promoting it to an impatient younger generation, could well be acquired with the art of patience, if practiced.

Also read Leaning on the Wall Part 1

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