|Full Name||Rahul Sharad Dravid|
|Profession||Right hand batsman|
|Date of Birth||11 Jan, 1973|
"No dream is ever chased alone."
The silent Hero, the wall, the backbone of the Indian cricket team, Rahul Sharad Dravid; for whom, the team has always been above him. The man who never bragged-off his skills and potentials. The nation has given him the tag of Mr. Dependable, and the truth lies within it that the team depended on him a lot. This is a story of a man in the cricket history who has proved his knacks on the pitch with all his hard efforts, perseverance, and a dedicated team leader who could have been on the top-notch list of all magazines but always worked like a base, aiding the national squad for a span of 16 years. Although Master Blaster's records have always overshadowed Rahul's career records, still he has made an unforgettable imprint as one of the most successful captains of the overseas Test series. Now the legend is giving all his sweat to polish the potentials of the burgeoning cricketers, being the coach of the Under-19 national cricket team.
"If someone thinks, 'I'll spend the off season working on my fitness and I'll come back a better cricketer,' I don't think that's enough. You need to spend a lot of time working on your skills and honing your skills."
Born in Maratha family, Dravid has spent his childhood springs at Bangalore along with his parents and a younger brother. His father was employed in a company who prepared jams and preserves whereas his mother Pushpa Dravid was a professor of Architecture at University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering. Rahul started playing cricket at the age of 12 and performed for the Karnataka state in the Under-15 cricket team. Former Indian cricketer and Coach Keki Tarapore was the first to recognise his talent on the pitch during a summer camp at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Dravid’s potential in understanding the techniques helped him a lot in grooming as a skilled player and led him to play for the state team at the Ranji Trophy of 1991. In the same season, Dravid hit a double century, finishing up with 380 runs. The guy proved that he was destined to lead the cricket pitch.
With his consistent performance in domestic cricket, Rahul polished his skills and finally been selected as a member of the national squad for the Singer Cup, held in Singapore in 1996, replacing Vinod Kambli. Although luck played hard with him, he still managed to cement his place in the national team with two catches and significant runs.
Rahul made his Test debut at Lord’s on 20th June 1996 against England and forged a significant partnership with Sourav Ganguly, leading the team in first innings. During a tour in 1996-97, Rahul made his first Test century against South Africa. In the ICC Cricket World Cup of 1999, Rahul emerged out as the leading scorer with 461 runs, is the only Indian batsman to hit two consecutive hundreds in the tournament. With a prolific record of playing in 93 Test matches, Rahul scripted his name in the history as one of the most successful Test players. He also created a record of being the first Indian batsman to hit a hundred against all Test playing nations. Rahul’s calm and balanced performance with a defensive play is often mistakenly considered as his passiveness and lack of enthusiasm to lead as a batsman but what made him iconic is his wisdom not to provoke. But the case was not always like that. Rahul has shown his aggression during the ICC Champions Trophy of 2004 against one of the fastest bowlers of Pakistan, Shoaib Akhtar for a fair play. There were times when Indian players have started switching their performance as meteoric, but Dravid remained methodical and steady. In 2003, in the Test match against Australia at Adelaide, he aided the national squad with his 835 minutes batting to win.
"I think we judge talent wrong. What do we see as talent? I think I have made the same mistake myself. We judge talent by people's ability to strike a cricket ball. The sweetness, the timing. That's the only thing we see as talent. Things like determination, courage, discipline, temperament, these are also talent."
Rahul’s “always improve” mantra has made him capable of playing formats for which he was not considered as the deserving player to play, but he proved all those detractors wrong with his exuberance and aplomb at the World Cup of 1999 where he scored 463 runs, becoming the leading scorer of the tournament. Dravid has also fine-tuned himself as a brilliant slip-fielder and ended his Test career with a world record of 210 catches.
After bidding farewell to the cricket pitch, Dravid donned a new role, Coach for the Under-19 Indian squad with his perceptions. According to him, “I don’t think a good coach should expect the people who he’s working with to listen to everything he says. A good coach will like someone who’s willing to learn. He might be the quietest in the team; he might not take everything you say but will be open to learning. That’s what coaches look for”. Even after getting his name inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame, Dravid put forward the names of all players with whom he has played with or against, coaches, officials and especially his fans and expressed his regards for them. Now you can easily understand what kind of person he is and why we should follow him as an ideal. Some pieces of his speech were as follows,
“My parents, my family, my two kids, my so many friends, colleagues that I have played with, and played against that enriched my game. My many coaches right from the time I was in school and the coaches I have played for in India have really helped me to develop as a cricketer. I would not be here if not for support and love that they have given me and I'm truly grateful and thankful for it."
In today's world where people work for credits and never fail to show off arrogance even at their small triumphs, Rahul believes in being humble on his every success both on and off the field. Although his captaincy stats were not so impressive; what he has is the ability to take the team as a whole to move for the big games, and that’s what made him Mr. Dependable. For many times, Dravid took the role which he believed he was not prepared for but to balance the team coordination and to give opportunities to giant players knowing own limitations, he decided to fit in places that were odd for him such as wicket-keeping (World Cup final in 2003), batting in front and opening. Maybe that’s the reason behind why he has never gained much hype in his active cricket career as his fellow cricketers, but the shine of a well-polished diamond can never be subdued.
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