Tuesday, 8 October 2013

5 associations Rahul Dravid has in the mind of a 90's boy !

Times pass by and what's left is a reminiscent of what existed or what happened in the yesteryear. As we move into tomorrows, leaving behind the yesterdays, we leave traces to help us gather our ramblings and step back into the past and relive it once again. These vivid visits to the past are ephemeral, but they are precisely what makes the past so glorious and enjoyable. As Rahul Dravid, the man who gave walls a figurative sense takes leave from all forms of the game, it's time we commemorate a career with a surfeit of resilience, punctiliousness, grandeur and pristine unhindered and unadulterated passion for the game.

90's were unique in a number of ways and for cricket, we saw quite some transformation. We saw Lara transcending the realms of barriers and scoring a gargantuan 375, we saw Kumble getting a 10 wicket haul in a test innings, we witnessed Saeed Anwar scoring a 194, we witnessed Tendulkar singlehandedy leading India to victories, we saw the upsurge of the South African team, we saw the befuddling and devastating West Indian bowling attack,we saw the inimitable opening partnerships of Tendulkar and Ganguly, and the most defining moment - Aamir Sohail intimidating Prasad in the 96' world cup and Prasad knocking him off on the very next ball. But above all, we saw cricket shifting gears and the ODIs becoming the deal of the day. I still remember that during the Sharjah Cups of the late 90's the streets looked desolated and electronics shops had a tough time keeping viewers at the windows at abeyance. Amidst this transformation, one man stood the ground to bring glory back to test cricket. It was our very own RD.

So, as I recollect those moments and organize this potpourri, I recall how a 90's boy got acquainted with the magical game. It was 95' when I first realized that an over can have a maximum of 6 balls. It was 96' when I figured out that bats are waived when individuals reach 50 and not when the team reaches the milestone. It was 97' when Ajay Jadeja scored 3 sixes of consecutive balls and I found out what a hat trick is. And it was 99' when I found out what it means to not be in the final 4 of the world cup. It took me long to fathom the intricacies and vicissitudes of the game but it took me no time to realize that Rahul Dravid is a guy who is there just to play cricket and do nothing else. His focus was conspicuous and his determination was prerogative. He simply came out to stick to the crease and obliterate the bowlers to the last bit of their perseverance. He was rock steady, like a bulwark for the team. And then he slowly assumed the title of the wall and the notoreity of being too slow a starter in ODIs. The pressure lead to momentous capriciousness but he eventually became equally adroit at One Day cricket as well. The 145 in the 99' world cup at Taunton is a testimony to that. So, let's celebrate the cult of Dravid, the Wall with 5 things of paramount relevance that I believe define Dravid for me. Memories shape characters in our minds and memories help us conjure their past later on.

The 200th Blinder

So, as if to consummate a career embellished with a multitude of catches that took enormous perspicacity to grab, RD took his 200th test catch at slip in a fashion that flummoxed everyone in the usual way. His celerity seems to be unaffected with age and he still has the reflexes of a fox. 




The historic 180 at the Eden Gardens

The 2001 Kolkata test which set the plot for India to come back in the 3 match test series and topple Australia, thereby deterring it's string of test series victories and putting it to a halt, was perhaps something that every Indian would cherish for a lifetime. When all hopes seemed lost, the humongous partnership between Laxman and Dravid pulled India from the jaws of defeat and led it to triumph. Though Laxman's performance and Bhajji's 33 wicket tally and hat trick gained immediate recognition, Dravid's contribution was viewed as ancillary, but no one noticed that he meticulously held the ground to steady the ship and take it ahead, thereby letting someone else to move the sails. Nevertheless, the innings was another typical Dravidian innings characterized by focus and determination. The usual way in which he poured sweat from his helmet, is another thing which emphasizes the fact that he was simply born to play long innings. 



The Jammy Ads

And just like Sachin's Sachin Aala Re and Jadeja's Ooo La La  ads got exorbitantly famous, RD did it the contemporary way, introducing the culinary delight of jams and the ingenuity of Paratha Pizzas to the youth and its helpless moms who tried their level best to get them the right nutrition. The Jammy campaign associated the term Jammy with RD and the association soon became perpetual.




The 145 at Taunton in 99' world cup

India was reeling under pressure after giving not so impressive performances and it needed one strong performance to get itself back on track. The duo of Dravid and Ganguly took it upon their shoulders to deliver a performance that would not only flabbergast their opponents but elate the Indian crowds in a manner that was hard to imagine. 373 is what we made when even crossing 300 was considered to be an achievement. And the final result, we beat SL by 157 runs. Can you believe that ? 




I wanted to end this post by including a video of an awesome catch RD grabbed in the Castle Lager series against SA in 1996. He was not at slip but at silly point. I'm putting in my efforts for getting that video from cricket archives. Let's see if I succeed. He pulled off a catch which stunned everybody on the field. I still remember it because every single time a day ended during that series, the video summarizing the series included a glimpse of the catch. It was wonderful and so was the man on the field. I don't know if we'll ever again get a man who had the aura of an impeccable test player, the exquisiteness of perfect wrist play and the brevity with which he played his hook shots. Here's wishing RD the best of the times a man is likely to have for all the awesomeness he endowed us cricket fans with.  


2 comments:

  1. how I can you forget the 233 and 72 at Adelaide and his decision to retire Sachin at 194....sorry poor post

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  2. Well, you missed my title, I guess. I did not want to highlight the enormity of his career, I wanted to highlight the conspicuousness with which he relayed himself. Talking about a post garnering the best of his innings, I guess I can very well write a book on the same. Same goes with his times as a captain and as a vice captain, but I wanted to relive Dravid's moments not as a virtuoso of a fan but as a dabbler who links Dravid's moments back through the times. Hope you'll appreciate my point. Having said that, I am indeed planning to write an account on 10 of his best innings in tests, odis and t20s combined and the 233 at Adelaide in 2003 is surely going to rank amongst the top in it. :)

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