Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rahul Dravid

He must be sitting in his living room watching one of the movies today.
He dare not switch to a news channel.
He is good at this 'not switching to a news channel' thingy.
He has done it at many junctures over the years.
He will have an early dinner and go to bed so that he can hit the gym early tomorrow morning.
Just the way he has been doing for donkeys years now.
He has toned every muscle, every joint, strengthened every sinew over the years.
His high perspiration levels meant he lost water too fast and constantly needed liquids.
Every shot he ever played was practised like a fanatic in the nets.
Every thought process, every reaction to every ball was calibrated to perfection.
There were so many balls played.
In the matches, in the nets, then again in the mind.
There were balls bowled by opposition bowlers, practice bowlers, imaginary bowlers.
And there were millions of cover drives, straight drives, square cuts, on drives, pulls and hooks.
So many that the body knows only that as natural movement, as a general state of being.

There was injury, dejection, failure, match-fixing, loss of captaincy.
But always, there was the next ball to be played.
For a team sport, this was always his own struggle with himself, his asking questions of himself and then answering them.
There were pretty girls, fancy cars, massive endorsement deals.
But always, there was, above all, the next ball to be played.
There were strike rates, run rates, win rates, and all sorts of rates to be worried about.
But there was a bat in his hand and that was all that mattered.
There were stars, egotists, prodigies, megalomaniacs all around him.
But, as always, there was, most importantly, the next ball to be played.

There were numbers which seemed to be going faster than him
And there were numbers which seemed to be going slower than him
But numbers meant little
There was that night at Wellington, that evening at Headingley, that morning at Adelaide
And then there was that heartbreaker at Queens Park Oval Trinidad 2007

No one in his team played bounce was well as him
No one in his team played swing as well as him
No one in his team showed as much improvement in playing spin over their career spans
No one in his team would have dared to take that wicket-keeping job, that opening slot, that declaration call

He has been a fine example of what human endeavour can achieve
He stands for what an ordinarily talented man can make of himself by sheer character
He might well be the only genuinely nice guy of our generation who finished first
He will be one of the very few my child will have to hear a lot about from me when he is born

Tomorrow he will announce the end of it all
Just as has been the case his entire life - he doesnt have much say in this matter either
There might be awards, commentary stints, political rallies, administrative posts
There might be many family outings, annual days, coaching camps, expert interviews, ad campaigns
There might be a prosperous paunch, a fancy estate, a scotch at the end of the day
But there wont be the next ball to be played

Mr Rahul Dravid, some things need to be said even if they have become cliches
You are, to my knowledge, the pinnacle of human ability and enterprise
Id pay to watch you play cricket in your backyard with your son


Ankit Doshi said...

Brilliant! Outstanding stuff!

My heart pricks. Knew this moment had to come soon. But now that it is upon us seems an entire generation has passed by suddenly in a few hours...It will never be the same again

Aruna said...

Vow! Absolutely wonderful tribute to 'The wall'!!!

Can I post the link to this blog in FB with your permission?


Kunj Sanghvi said...

@ankit - its indeed the end of an era
@aruna - thanks! of course you can share it :)

Ralphomania said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ralphomania said...

Great post man!! :)

Really a tribute to the great man.

Indian Cricket will never be the same without him.

I hope RD reads your post :)