When I started this blog, I was clear about one thing — that is to never write to about economy, cricket, politics or movies. i wanted to only write about what i feel about life in general at a personal level.
But, last week, when Dravid said good bye to the cricketing world, I couldn’t help feeling sad and as a result, ended up writing this post. But let me try to write about Dravid, the great man and not Dravid, the Great Batsman (not that I know him personally…but I always feel I know him.)As you must have noticed by now, every article on Dravid invariably mentions how he was overshadowed by other greats for most of his career, how he somehow ended up getting lesser credit than other greats.
For some reason, we Indians are hardwired to like sensation, masala, breaking news and some form of action and we are comfortable with simplicity and really don’t bother about peeling the layers. But thats exactly where Dravid’s greatness can be found–under the layers. Be it, seeing off the seam/swing of the new ball and setting other batsmen the platform or be it taking up extra burden without even making a fuss about sacrificing.
1) Movies where a Rajini or Amitabh emerges out of dust to become a millionaire and take on villians or a Tom cruise spoiling a Nuclear attack attempt — (equivalent to Sachin taking on australian attack in the Sharjah desert or taking on Shoaib Akhtar/wasim/waqar in World cup Quarter finals or a Sehwag scoring triple century)
2) Movies where the hero is super talented, but lazy and just having fun, then a real challenge comes up and he realizes the importance of the challenge and raises to the occasion, proves his worth (Read Laxman’s 281 in Kolkata or a Yuvraj belting 6 sixes).
3) Then we have some new cute love stories where all hero needs to do at the end of the movie is ride a bike/horse and confess his love for the heroine who is at the airport leaving for the US or sitting in “shaadi ka Mandap”, about to be married to someone else. (Rainas/Dhonis playing cute little knocks to steer India home)
We somehow are comfortable believing that a Hero has all the special skills required and the challenges come accordingly. Simply put, we accept that a “Hero” is someone different from general populace in terms of skills and talent.
The biggest problem with Dravid is he cannot fit into any of these categories. Not because he has no talent, but because he is much more than the above 3 categories.
He is more like the “Frodo Baggins” of “Lord of the Rings”. By this, I do not mean to say he is a dwarf or just a simple man with no special skills/talent. He does have exceptional skills when it comes to batting/fielding/keeping etc comparable to and arguably better than many other greats in cricket.
But his challenges, his matchups, his duels are much more than just batting. Just the way, Frodo had to struggle to keep his ego, greed, desires under control while carrying the ring, dravid’s challenges were as subtle as Frodo’s. He could have thrown away his wicket just after reaching 100 on numerous occasions, but he carried on knowing that the job was not done yet. He must have been tempted to play a careless shot many a times influenced by his other flamboyant team mates, but he resisted knowing that he needs to protect the batting line-up for anther 20 overs. He got opportunities to finish things in a grand style, but he knew a better, so-called “boring” way to do it, because he know that in Cricket, things can change quite quickly, sometimes not to your liking. When on crease, nothing would divert him till the task at hand is completed.
Just like Frodo who was not dithered by untreadable paths, but carried on even when his path was unclear and full of darkness, Dravid has carried on to show the light to other batsmen in the team, guiding them while batting on unknown tracks. Just like Frodo, Dravid was willing to give it his all for a bigger cause and was determined to take his team all the way.
Unlike other mainstream protagonists, Frodo’s journey was as much about the path as about the destination. Similarly, Dravid’s career is as much about his process as about the final score or the result. To understand Dravid, you just can’t see the score an the end of a day in a test match. You wouldn’t even know the number of deliveries that rocked his helmet or the number of menacing moments has had to withstand. You can’t just watch first 5-10 overs and come back at 45 overs and understand Dravid’s impact. you simply cannot. Even if you watch the 4/6’s package or even highlights.
It’s not like the first scene in Mission Impossible or the last fight in Robot. It’s “Lord of the Rings”. It’s “Lord of the Rings”. It’s about the journey and then a destination.
Thats why for me, he is the cricketing equivalent of “The Lord of the Rings”..be it the Lords, the Oval, the Adelaide, the Sydney or an Eden Ring. He’s the Lord of all.