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Happy Birthday Rahul Dravid
I knew very little about the game of cricket as a kid and when I was about 9 years old world cup 1999 began. My maternal uncle was a cricket enthusiast and he somehow made me understand about the game, played with me too and which eventually turned me into a cricket lover. Still unknown with the faces of even Indian cricketers I started cheering for team India. Sachin Tendulkar was one whom I recognized because he was everyone’s favorite around and established himself as the premier batsman in the world and also Azharuddin because he was the captain. Then the 1st match between India and South Africa started, India won the toss and Azhar chose to bat on a green track of Brighton, England. My house was full with family and neighbors, who use to come to our house because they wanted to watch the world cup on a color TV which we only had in the locality. Tendulkar and Ganguly opened the innings, every boundary was cheered by my family and me. Fairly new batsman Ganguly who was only 3 years old in cricket batted beautifully with Tendulkar and added 67 runs in 15 overs together but then Tendulkar edged one off Klusener to Boucher and the next man came in. I was very much aware of his name and reputation of being the best test batsman of the then new era and also heard about his incapability to score quickly in the one-day format. He was neat and clean, nicely wore the team India dress, well-tucked shoe laces came on the pitch, he was very good looking making the fairer gender happy. His stance looked so perfect from the word go and his defense was impeccable. Someone from the neighbors said, ‘He will take down the run rate a lot, now Ganguly need to play more shots’. And the very next ball the batsman dispatched for a four. He was Dravid, the man who never said anything from his mouth to the critics but always answered with his willow throughout his career.
I don’t want to write about his numbers to prove his greatness, I just want to ask all of you that how many unforgettable cricketing memories you have in your minds and if you have some then the common thread in all those memories is Dravid for sure. It never mattered who scored more runs because the runs Dravid scored were far more beautiful and technically correct, youngsters can learn the art of batting only by seeing him bat.
His selfless approach towards the game not only made me respect him more but also taught me many values in life, his sole dedication of improving his craft to be better every next game made me more focused, in short being his fan made me a better person.
The legendary icon today turned 44 and still he is silently doing what he did when he played as a player, help team India to win with pride, discipline, and respect. Saying no to be the coach of Team India he chose to build the future and accepted to be the coach of under 19 and India ‘A’, again why to be in the media, it is better to work silently and produce results and above all nurture new young talents who not only will grow as great players in the future but also as supremely gentle human beings.