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Book Extract - Rahul Dravid - An Autobiography

Cricket for India

Cricket for India

"My best performances have come when I was not feeling good!"
 

- By Ajay Naidu    

Cricket for India

 

Somewhat to his discomfort, Rahul Dravid has been described as "The Wall" of Indian batting, a tribute to the sense of permanence to be found in his batting. But to regard India's first drop merely as an obstacle is to underestimate his abilities. For, Dravid is a batsman of the highest class whose form in recent years indicates that he deserves to be included in the ranks of the major batsman of the period. He has scored runs against all sorts of bowling on all kinds of pitches.

Every time he walks out to bat, there's an unmistakable commitment to the team cause. The fact that he can bat on and on for hours is a tribute to his great physical and mental toughness. What separates 'Mr. Dependable' from the rest of his ilk is that most of his hundreds have come when playing away from home. More importantly, you can relate his hundreds with a match-winning or match-saving cause. And he thrives playing Test cricket!

It is in the Test matches that your skills are really tested. There are no bowling limitations or field restrictions. Personally, it gives me more satisfaction.

"Of course, one dayers are more fun to play. The pace of the game is much quicker. As a batsman, I think my range of shots have improved than what it used to be. But then, I like to do things at a slower pace."

Sir Gary Sobers once remarked that pace never bothered him. Yet, modest to a fault, Dravid disagrees with the greatest all rounder rather gracefully and honestly.

"That's why he is Sobers! If you ask me, pace does worry. Sheer pace in the right area does worry people. It makes you think." Watching Dravid bat is like reading a coaching manual. He has all the necessary ingredients that make a good batsman.

"One should have a good technique, temperament, balance, courage and, of course, a great mind. If you don't have a good mind, chances are that you will not succeed against quality attack. Also practice and perceiverance helps you improve a lot."

Then again, there's some homework that he does on the eve of a match.

"There is a bit of preparation involved. I do a lot of shadow practice and perfect the memories about how I'm going to play certain bowlers. Also, I approach every game as if we are batting first."

Finally, it's out there in the middle that a batsman has to adapt himself to the situation.

"As a batsman you will have good and bad phases. But you should be prepared to fight it out when the going is tough. Some of my best performances have come when I was not feeling great. You can have an ugly hour and you try and survive through that.

"Personally, I can recall Kolkata and Adelaide when there were periods when I felt good. But a good batsman is one who can push himself to get an ugly hundred."

Dravid also underlined what makes one survive and succeed at the highest level.

"You should love the game. I started at 11 and, as a kid, it gave me a lot of satisfaction. I never thought of it as a hard work. It was great fun. It still is!" He is happy that the game is well looked after. At the same time, he believed that the game needs heroes and characters to attract the spectators.

"The modern-day game is better marketed and has become more commercial. The game also needs heroes like Sachin (Tendulkar), (Brian) Lara, (Steve) Waugh and Inzamam-ul-Haq. The game needs people who can inspire the kids."

Surprisingly, for someone who has been a great ambassador for the country and one who is looked upon as a perfect role model, Dravid doesn't think of himself as a hero. In fact, in keeping with his humility, he makes us realize our true life heroes.

"I have never thought of myself as a hero. For me, the real heroes are your teachers, soldiers and nurses. It's just that they don't come on television!"
(pvnsports@yahoo.co.in)

 


- By Ajay Naidu    

Cricket for India
 

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Book Extract - Rahul Dravid - An Autobiography

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