Monday, September 21, 2009

"RISE THE GULLIVER OF OUR TIMES"

Yesterday night my mom n aunties were discussing their favourite and most evergreen topic,no prize for guessing it was about marriage.No not about their own marriages,neither it was for me but it was for my sister’s.They were actually discussing the characteristics needed for an ideal son-in-law and they are
1.Tall,grey and handsome.
2.Dependable
3.Reliable
4.cool
5.caring and silent
6.rock solid
I asked to them what are they discussing? Is it characterstics of an ideal wannabe son-in-law or a man named Rahul dravid.One of my aunties said both are same.In a way she was spot on.Yes the very famous cricketer Rahul dravid had his fan following in the aunties age group too.But then that is what which had made dravid so much distinct from stars of his age and time.He is perhaps one of the few stars whom people loved more for his non-cricketing reasons rather than for his cricketing despite of the fact that he is one of the best batsman ever to don a team INDIA jersey.Fathers loved dravid because they wanted their son to be like him,mothers loved him because they wanted their son-in-law like him.And the youngsters liked him because he was a perfect role model to them. Now when I say ‘Role Model’, it is not just an ‘ordinary adjective’ to describe the achievements of any cricketer or any legend of any field. It has a deep metamorphic meaning. The dictionary describes Role Model as "person who serves as an example, whose behavior is emulated by others." Sachin Tendulkar, probably the best to have played the game of cricket and they cricketer who has shared the dressing room with Rahul Dravid for over a decade, chooses no one but Rahul Dravid as a ‘perfect role model’ for the youngsters.
The first attribute of Rahul Dravid features in the first few pages of every book that parents read to their children in their growing days. It is called ‘Hard Work”. The stories emphasizing the importance of hard work are taught to all, but grabbed by only few Dravids. Now I fail to form my next sentence, as I am confused whether to write, “Rahul Dravid’ is the synonym for ‘Hard Work’ or Hard Work’ is the synonym for ‘Rahul dravid.’ For what ever I know about Rahul Dravid, he has spent most days of his life on nets along with playing international cricket for one-third part of a year. In the past few years, when some of the cricket experts advised him not to practice a lot in nets to retain his form, he did not heed them. Like any other artists, he believes a daily rias [practice] is the only necessity to keep your art alive and strengthen it. This actually paid off. He got a hundred in an international match against England. People were astonished to see a hundred in the midst of quite a poor form considering the standards set by him over the years. They said it came out of nowhere. But Dravid after scoring the hundred said that it was the result of continuous fluid that he lost practicing in nets. Now that is why I ask people to go through all those books emphasizing the virtues of hard work, rather than banking up their luck to turn good and achieving a undeserved success.
“Patience’ is one attribute that Wall of Indian Cricket team has shown since his debut. The quote that first comes in anyone’s mind who knows anything about Dravid is ‘Slow and steady wins the race’. Word ‘patience’ does not mean that he cannot play shorter versions of the game. In fact, in his last few years, he served as a ‘match finisher’ and did the unusual job with utter perfection. But the ‘patience’ is not only confined to short selection and the way he approach his game, but also in the thought process. He has shown extreme patience and tolerance even in the most intense situations. In the lows of his lives, when he was dropped from the side, had a tough time while batting, he has not repented. This is how a legend considers ‘living a life.’ They know that failures are part of lives and know how to deal with them. That is something, which distinguishes an extra-ordinary person from an ordinary herd.

Another prominent quality that Dravid has is that he knows how to handle success better than many. His achievements do not carry him away. As he said in an advertisement for a shaving product of a brand called Gillette Mach3 Turbo,” Yesterday is over. Each day is different and brings a new challenge.” When he goes to bat, even on the pitches where he has scored heaps of runs, even against the bowlers whom he have dominated over the years, he tries to reproduce the same effort. That is how one should be aspiring in his profession. If you have nine, try to get ten. Nobody will praise you for your work in the past until you perform in the present. Consistency is required for being extra-ordinary.One last character that Dravid has is inspired from his One-Day International career. When he made his debut in this shorter version of the game, people said he is not an apt player for this format. Many cricket experts called him a one-dimensional player. Instead of saying that ‘I give up’, he worked on his game, improved his range of shorts and strike-rate and rest is history. He went on to score more ten thousand runs in the format of which he is not called a player. What this story says? It simply says that ‘natural talent’ is not the only necessity to perform any task efficiently. If someone is determined to do something, works hard, he can perform it even more efficiently than the one who are born to do the task.

Also, being benevolent and generous helps in whatever profession you are. Again, Dravid acts as a perfect example. He has played cricket in high-pressure situation for over a decade, but has remained a gentleman all these years. He has an emotionless face. He smiles occasionally on victories, takes a sigh during defeats and remains emotionless in situations involving pressure. Rahul has kept a ‘cool head’ over the years not indulging in arguments with any cricketer or umpires after getting a wrong decision. For this, he has won the respect of cricketers with whom he has played with him, just showing the worth of being a good individual enhances your dignity as a professional. And thus with so much great attributes as you expect he has achieved what one can only dream of.10,000 runs in both format of game,several match-winning innings,most double-centuries by an indian

But then like every perfect bollywood script things cannt go smoothly as expected.To enhance the quality of angels,demons had to be there and rahul dravid was no exception. Something similar happened to the legendary cricketer Rahul Dravid ''The Wall''. Dravid has been the most consistent player in the past 13 long years for India, In these years Dravid with his flawless technique, innovative strokes and imaginative placing of the ball transformed himself into an integral part of Indian team.He with his classy technique and gentlemanly demeanor attracted millions of heart, and been an youth Icon for many who dares to dream big.After being the main stay in Indian Cricket for such a long time, he had some dry periods,where runs weren't coming easily as it uses to be in the past.He relinquished his captaincy to concentrate on his batting,but one bad series as a Non-Captain costed his place in the Indian ODI cricket,the glorious career of the glorious man came at serious crossroads. But Dravid was never disturbed,he went back to Ranji Trophy games and in the first game after he was dropped from the National team side,he scored 214 against Mumbai, but the selectors wasn't convinced.When serious questions were asked against the selectors, the message was conveyed that Dravid had been given some Rest, but contrasting statements from the selectors made everyone to realise that there is something more than ''Rest'',as he was overlooked for the other ODI series,with that a great injustice was meant to Dravid and it had started get affecting his concentration, and he had some dry runs in Test matches, the media made it a bigger issue, though Dravid had good support from his present team mates and the Ex-Cricketers,the retirement talks had started hitting the newspapers and debated over in the mediaUnder immense pressure Dravid could not re-establish swiftly as he did in the past,he had decent runs in the game,but he could not transform those good starts into big knocks. At those times, he was also shuffled in the batting order.eventually his runs scoring ability wasn't the same as it used to be in the past. All other players in recent past were given a prolonged time to regain their form but a player like Dravid was not given a fair chance and when everyone was speaking, here once again Dravid maintained his golden silence and never uttered a single word in his defense.Dravid, who has reputation of a cool minded and humble cricket personality left it all on his bat to speak and answer those who questioned his strength.

Dravids critics was growing in numbers, but there were two aspects which holded him together until today, one is Dravid's belief in himself & his self confidence and second is again like any perfect successful bollywood story there had to be happy ending and if the ending is not happy,"picture abhi baaki hai mere dost”. finally the Mohali Test arrived.Many of the people thought that Dravid would be dropped for the match,but their assumption was proved wrong.Dravid's supporters once again showed their confidence in him and they believed that their hero will bounce back in this Test Match....This 'Never Say Die spirit' is one of the gestures they learned from the man himself they idolised.The Day arrived and he was in the playing 11 for the match.( Though later it was revealed that there isn't any sort of plans within the dressing room to drop Dravid for the match ).The start of his innings clearly revealed the intensity of pressure under which he was playing.The real Dravid was back making everyone to remember of his old days. He started positively and never looked back. At last Dravid's un-tiring efforts,commitment and prayers of his supporters were paid in form of his comeback century,he played an awesome inning of 136 runs.His century brought a smile back on every one's face who had immense faith with Dravid and his abilities. It was more of Dravid's dedication towards the team for which he wanted to contribute to the team and therefore after the century he did not get over-excited, no punching in air, no animated reaction,he just completed the 100th run with a simple jog down the pitch,it was just about a feeling of relief for him.The whole dressing room went up to congratulate him because they knew the legend is back with a bang
Dravid's comeback century came at the right time when all eyes are back on Dravid for New Zealand tour.Everyone is now expecting him to show his magic once again on the foreign soul.On the bouncy pitches of New Zealand only a technically correct player like Dravid can stay on the crease for a prolonged period which eventually makes Dravid a key player against the Kiwis. By the time the New Zealand tour dawned on India, he was ready. The gods conspired to set up the stage, although the conditions were not exactly frightening; yet, he came up with a dazzling performance. Showing immaculate technique but even better footwork (if that was possible) and monk-like patience, he blunted the Kiwi attack.

He managed half centuries in every sinle innings but didn’t cross the three-figure mark in any of the three Tests; but the questions and doubts were already scurrying for cover. The Wall had taken back his unquestionable position in the Indian lineup; but he wasn't done yet.
Dravid, like most successful people, has the memory of an angry elephant; he had surely not forgotten the ignominy of IPL-1. So, unbeknownst to all, he silently worked on his scoring rate and devised a few un-Dravidlike strokes.

Not surprisingly, he was one of the top-scorers (271 runs off 12 matches) in Royal Challengers' run into the final in IPL-2. In many ways, he should have been at peace with himself after that; he could have just focused on Test cricket, or even set goals for the reminder of his career. But then, the phoenix-genes popped up.

So why has his quiet life been disrupted? Why have the selectors abruptly drawn him out of the fire? Well, the answers are self-evident and pragmatic: the Indian team has recently been struggling against the fast and short rising ball. The Champions Trophy is in South Africa too, where batting is a little more about skill than just frills.
Maybe, they feel Dravid can bail the team out of this conundrum. After all, it is not such a good idea to let the world know that the most hyped-up lineup has a basic deficiency; if every bowler goes for our batsmen's ribcage, we will have a lot more that broken bones and shattered egos: India will never become Number One that way.
And so dravid was back again into ODI scheme of things.He will once again don the blue jersey for INDIA.But again he is not done yet,he had not only to play but rise no matter how much it looks heroic and defy the logics and laws ,but he had to rise for us who finds in him our role-model,he had to rise for us who tries to incarnate hin,he had to rise for those fathers who see their son in him,he had to rise for those mothers who want somebody like him as their son-in-law,he had to rise to prove the world how wrong selector was in dropping him,he had to rise to prove media how wrong they were in writing him off,he had to rise to prove that age is no bar for excellence,he had to rise to prove the world was right in calling him with all the adjectives like mr. Dependable,mr. Cool etc,finally he had to rise to prove that he is ‘’gulliver’’ of our times and the gullivers knows to do only one thing “rise” no matter how much liliputs are strong qualitatively and quanitatively."RISE THE GULLIVER OF OUR TIMES’’