He won’t break any glasses, Dravid won’t

In India, breaking glasses is considered synonymous with being a future great player. Even an otherwise sane ‘Tarak Mehta ka Ulta Chashma’ proclaims in it’s theme video that ‘kaanch tode aise players records tod jaate hain’ (the players who break window panes go on to break records’. Is our mentality so limited? Consider this, a tennis ball won’t break window panes, a cricket ball will. And in the process, may break someone’s head too. If Dravid was told to play in such areas, he’d work his way up over the limitations to score runs, without causing any financial or physical trouble.

The best way to prevent the ball from going down on a 6 by 6 terrace with 3 feet walls would be to ask Dravid to bat (a short pitch game played a lot in India, where any space is good enough to play cricket). Obviously, no one else will have a chance to bat, and neither will the ball go down.

Coming in to England with the people calling for his head, and waiting for him to fail so that they could say ‘I told you so’, he had an option of paying heed to those detractors. He didn’t, as has often been the case, and just did what he knows best. If anyone saw him bat without any bias, the person would have known there is nothing wrong with his three major strengths; timing, placement, technique. And the ever-dwindling reserves (as per the honorary critics) of superb reflexes are sharp. And the patience, ever-unmatched.

After getting into the dressing room stranded for partners, Dravid would’ve had one thought more than the others. And it would obviously be ‘I should’ve played better with the tail, should’ve rotated strikes nicely, or should’ve been more aggressive’. Honors board at the Lord’s is surely a big thing, but not as big as team. The follow-on that was saved would’ve been his bigger reward (with due contribution from Praveen Kumar), the trail he couldn’t compress further a thought that’d occupy his brain for sometime surely.

There is nothing genius, nothing flamboyant about him. Yet, if I had to go and watch in the ground, I’d pay to watch only him. The negative would be the replays I’d miss but now there are enough tele-vision sets in the stadium to not miss them too. He’s not famous as a wristy player as much as an Azhar or a VVS is, but that’s because he doesn’t rely completely on that range of shots, and has other shots as well in his armory. But surely, he isn’t any less than them in that area too.

There is a saying that if you’ve watched Azharuddin at his prime, you wouldn’t enjoy anyone else’s batting. Azhar was my favorite batsman before Dravid. This statement itself says that, unlike the T-20-craving media and audience portrays, Dravid is surely a delight to watch. Even his rock-solid defence to counter great bowling is better than funny looking shots of his contemporaries for more runs.

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