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
"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
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
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
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
"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