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Rahul Dravid retires from cricket : Tribute articles to Dravid

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Kevin Peterson "Rahul Dravid-LEGEND!! Plain & simple.. congrats on an incredible career!! India WILL miss"
Suresh Raina "Wall for team but a shoulder for team mates. Impregnable for opposition, motivation fr us. That's Rahul bhai. Got my ODI & Test cap frm him"
Vinay Kumar "I Was very lucky to play all the formet with my hero...many thanks for ur contribution to team karnataka and india.. We miss u rahul bai!!" "Rahul wall dravid retired from all the formet of the game!! Thanku very much for your support rahul bai... Gud luck for ur future..." (I hope he bowls the number of dots he uses while typing)
Micheal Vaughn "Rahul Dravid retires.. The worlds most respected cricketer over the last 20 yrs.. LEGEND.."
Sanjay Manjrekar "Rahul Dravid - Knew the man behind the bat. Not often do you find a person as exceptional as his achievements.."
Ab De Viller "Congrats to Rahul Dravid on an amazing career! You will be missed. Fantastic person and Cricketer! India wall'"
Jeffrey Archer "Rahul Dravid retires...cricket loses one of its finest batsmen, sport, one of its finest gentlemen."
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Shaun Pollock ‏ @7polly7

Congrats to Rahul Dravid on a fantastic career. He can be very proud about what he achieved and the way he went about his business
Alec Stewart ‏ @StewieCricket
Rahul Dravid is one of the all time greats of the game. One of the top 5 batters I played against. Lara Sachin Ponting Kallis the other 4
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Rahul Dravid retires from cricket : Tribute articles to Dravid Like the below article and I watched the 12(96) at Oval..My respect for the man grew after seeing his bloodymindedness http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/international/india/9131539/Was-Rahul-Dravid-better-than-Sachin-Tendulkar-No-but-he-was-more-beloved-in-England.html In its sheer bloody-minded refusal to admit defeat or give in to his own lack of timing and form, it was a masterpiece; a sight both grim to behold and ghoulishly compelling, like watching Darren Gough in a pink leotard on that Wipeout gameshow. A lesser man would have just thrown the bat at a wide one and nicked off to lick his wounds and wait for better days to come. But Rahul kept at it, mistiming and clunking and missing and edging. For over two hours. It was, in its own way, brave and inspiring. He stuck it out until the bitter end, when he was finally dismissed in an exquisite little eff-you from the universe by Paul Collingwood. Id gone to the match with a friend, who had not been to a Test match before but had got free posh seats from his work. I think my friends previous exposure to cricket constituted of highlights of Freddies Ashes, and maybe a corporate jolly to a Twenty20. It would be like preparing to join the Foreign Legion by going to Club 18-30 in Faliraki. Perhaps nothing could have readied the neophyte watcher for the prospect of Rahuls 96-ball 12, but its fair to say that my mate hasnt been near a cricket match since. I felt at the time that Test cricket at The Oval would somehow stagger on without my friends interest or patronage, and sure enough, Rahul was back at that ground in 2011, promoted to open and scoring a magnificent unbeaten hundred in the first innings. He barely had time to change Suresh Rainas nappy before trudging out to open the innings again, following on. Rahul had to move up the order in both digs. Gautam Gambhir, one of several of the younger Indian cricketers whose reputation in England will never recover from that spineless, flabby, cowardly display on that tour, had hurt his head trying (and, naturally, failing) to take a catch and wasnÃÕ up to batting before either innings was effectively over. Poor lamb. Even when Dravid was handed a tough decision for a bat-pad catch and given out, unluckily, for 13 in the second innings, he took it on the chin. He was a man amongst boys on that tour. So two matches at The Oval that, I submit, encapsulate what Rahul has meant to English cricket lovers. While Sachin perhaps distracted by the hoopla over breaking a record that nobody even knew existed until it was created for him, bespoke floundered on that 2011 tour, Rahuls reputation grew even greater in this country. It is hard, sacrilegious I dare say, for Indian fans to consider, but I believe that in the UK at least, Rahuls bravery, modesty, professionalism and courtly determination make him even more loved than Tendulkar. There is, to us non-fanatics, a machine-like efficiency to the run-compiling machine from Mumbai that makes him somehow less of a romantic figure than Rahul and, for that matter, VVS. While Sachin and his lesser successors are bathed in the fierce gleam of the modern India, Rahuls greatest moments seem to be shrouded in a dimming light, like the form of the game to which he was best suited. If it is to be retirement, he will be cherished in the hearts of English Test cricket fans for a very long time. Let's just hope he doesn't take Indian Test cricket with him.

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Rahul Dravid tributes led by Sachin Tendulkar after India batting great announces his retirement from cricket

Sachin Tendulkar has led the tributes from team-mates, opponents and admirers queueing up to applaud one of cricket's greats following Rahul Dravid's decision to retire from Test and first-class cricket. rahul-dravid_2163389b.jpg Dravid, one member of a golden generation of supremely-talented Indian batsmen, has called time on his 16-year international career at the age of 39 - having made 13,288 Test runs, second only in the history of cricket to Tendulkar. Confirming his decision at a press conference in his home town Bangalore on Friday morning, Dravid spoke with characteristic humility - and just a little well-placed pride. "My approach to cricket has been reasonably simple - it was about giving everything to the team; it was about playing with dignity, and it was about upholding the spirit of the game," he said. "I hope I have done some of that. I have failed at times, but I have never stopped trying. It is why I leave with sadness, but also with pride." Dravid still recalls the childhood ambition he shared with millions. "Once I was like every other boy in India, with a dream of playing for my country. Yet I could never have imagined a journey so long and so fulfilling. "I have had a wonderful time, but now it is time for a new generation of young players to make their own history and take the Indian cricket team even further." Dravid ends his career marginally behind Tendulkar, statistically, but he trails no one in terms of worldwide respect. The 'Little Master' is among the billions who look up to 'The Wall'. "There was and is only one Rahul Dravid," Tendulkar said. "There can be no other. I will miss Rahul in the dressing room and out in the middle. "I have shared the best moments with him. Our many century partnerships are testimony to the hours we spent together in the middle. "For someone who has played 164 matches and (made) over 13,000 runs, no tribute can be enough." Sunil Gavaskar, India's outstanding batsman of any previous era, also spoke eloquently of Dravid's contribution and legacy to cricket. "On and off the field, (he was) a terrific role model to youngsters with his work ethic, the way he carried himself and applied himself," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "He was the guy youngsters in the dressing room looked up to. Sachin would always be the guy who inspired awe. But a lot of players knew Sachin was something special, while they could all be Rahul Dravid. "Rahul was one of them, working hard - there really is going to be a big void in Indian cricket now." There is one in global cricket too. From England, former Test captains Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen told the world via Twitter just how highly they rated Dravid as a cricketer and a man. "Legend" was their chosen description, Pietersen recalling an "incredible career" and Vaughan nominating Dravid "the world's most respected cricketer over the last 20 years". South Africa great Jacques Kallis, one of two contemporaries who may still surpass Dravid's career runs aggregate, spoke in similar terms of a game which "will be ... poorer without him". Australia vice-captain Shane Watson, who plays under Dravid's leadership for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League, has no doubts about the pre-eminence of a great friend as well as a colleague and opponent. "He's probably the nicest guy - no he is the nicest guy - that I've met in cricket," said Watson. "He's a phenomenal man. "He loves the game - it's in his blood and in his heart. "He is certainly going to be sorely missed by the Indian public, and the cricket-loving public as well."
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'I can't recall beating him more than one ball in a row' Dravid's key talent as a batsman was his ability to wear bowlers down, grinding out long innings, waiting to capitalise on mistakes Jason Gillespie (as told to Nagraj Gollapudi) March 9, 2012 The game of cricket is the battle between bat and ball. It is about who loses patience first; that determines the winner. Rahul Dravid was the master at staying patient for long, long periods of time. He won the battles more often. Good bowlers are able to put pressure on a batsman, no matter how good, and draw him out of his comfort zone. How tough was Dravid? Dravid was so patient, he made you bowl to him. Because he did not give his wicket away easily, you had to be incredibly disciplined against him in line and length to get the better of him. That was easier said than done. It is easy to assume, like many other fast bowlers might have done, that you could settle into one line against Dravid, as opposed to someone like Sehwag, who can easily distract you with his penchant for strokes. But Dravid, being a very disciplined player, was never easy to lure. He had a set way of playing; he would always wait for a bowler to make a mistake, unlike Sehwag, who tries to take it to the bowler. So he complemented the more aggressive batsmen in the Indian batting line-up perfectly. He brought stability to their batting order, which was full of stroke-makers like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly. He was a rock-solid player, someone who valued his wicket, someone against whom you knew you were in for a real hard task to knock him over. He could judge whether to play or leave the ball, especially early in his innings. He knew where his off stump was; that is an important asset to have for a top-order batsman. Dravid always had a simple game plan and he stuck to it. It comes back to patience: he had the patience to grind out long innings and wait for the right ball to hit. He had his specific shots that he wanted to play, and he would wait for the bowler to pitch in the area where he was comfortable playing an attacking shot. That made him very difficult to get out. The two best examples of how we lost the battle of wearing him down came in 2001 in Kolkata and 2003 in Adelaide. Both were good batting pitches. Our plan on both occasions was to be patient ourselves and stick to good bowling areas. Certainly in Adelaide there was good bounce and carry, and we thought that if we stuck to our plans we could get anyone out. But the way Dravid played, essentially he was more patient than us bowlers. We became impatient, especially when he scored that double-century, because we could not get him out, and that made us go away from our game plan. That in turn worked for him because his plan was to wait for the bowler to lose his patience. Some might say our bowling attack in Adelaide was not as strong as the one in Kolkata, but I was leading a very good bowling attack and we believed we could dominate the Indians. However, at the end of the day we were just not good enough against Dravid. It was good old-fashioned hard work, which he put in successfully and we did not. I cannot recall beating Dravid more than one ball in a row. I remember in Adelaide, in the first innings, at one point I decided to have a real go at him and bowl a few short deliveries. He was ducking them pretty comfortably, and then suddenly he played a hook shot. It was a sort of top edge, it went for a six, and he got to his first hundred. I was pretty devastated. That was an example of when I decided to move away from my game plan and he was well settled at the crease and took me on confidently. In 2001 when we went to India, we started off nicely in Mumbai by winning the Test comfortably. In Kolkata, having forced them to follow on, we felt we had won the game, having picked up early wickets during their second innings. Dravid and Laxman together, we knew they were very good players, but we thought if we kept at them, they wouldn't be able to deal with the pressure. But they counterattacked perfectly. I remember Dravid just playing in the V with a very straight bat and providing wonderful support to Laxman. It was a wonderful piece of batting from both players and we could not dislodge them. At the end of that fourth day when we returned to the dressing room with Dravid and Laxman unbeaten, we were like, "Wow, what just happened?" We were a little stunned and very disappointed. We knew we were just one ball away from getting one of their wickets, but we couldn't produce that one ball. We knew these guys had done something special and we had to respect their performance. We all learn. On that 2001 trip, our fast bowlers' plan was to bowl in the channel outside the off stump, get the Indian batsmen playing on one side of the wicket, and create opportunities that way. But we realised that Indian pitches were a lot flatter and slower and our plan would work only on bouncier tracks. In 2004, when we returned to India, we accounted for that and changed our lines to bowling a lot straighter and looking to hit the stumps every time. That worked, and it was one time that even Dravid was circumspect and vulnerable. The special thing about Dravid was that when he got a bad ball, he would be waiting for it and he had the ability to put it away. He did not miss those opportunities to score. That is sometimes the difference between a very good player and a great player: the ability to score when you get the chance to score. And that is one of the reasons he averaged mid-50s consistently in Test cricket. Many might call him a defensive batsman in the mould of a Jacques Kallis or a Michael Atherton, but Dravid ranks up there with the great batsmen of the game. To simply refer to him as a defensive player is selling him short as a batsman. He was a wonderfully gifted player and we all enjoyed the way he played the game. Jason Gillespie took 43 wickets in ten Tests against India © ESPN EMEA Ltd.

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Rahul Dravid - a cricketing champion by Neil Drysdale

It was a sun-drenched Saturday in Glasgow a rarity in itself and a packed Hamilton Crescent rose to acclaim Rahul Dravid as the exceptional batsman strode to the crease, on Scotland duty, to confront the touring Pakistan team in 2003. Here was an opportunity for ŵhe Wall to unleash his full repertoire of strokes against his old rivals, who had only just pitched up in Blighty. Briefly, very briefly, a hush hung over the proceedings as the prelude to Dravid preparing to tackle his first delivery from Shabbir Ahmed. And©Øell, it was a brute of a ball, a rip-snorting hand grenade of menace, which the Indian was good enough to glove to the wicket-keeper, and then, for the next few seconds, it was as if some divine power had pressed the űause button. The arena fell silent, the great man trudged back on the long, long road to the pavilion, and I braced myself for the job of popping downstairs to the dressing room and asking him how things had gone! Often, these assignments should be approached with caution. Even the most genial, phlegmatic of characters could have been forgiven for indulging in a strop, considering what had just transpired, and the anti-climactic nature of DravidÃÔ dismissal was subsequently put in sharp perspective when an ebullient Scotland brigade came within one wicket of beating their Test rivals. But, where I had expected to be picnicking on Vesuvius, instead Dravid was dignified, determined to accentuate the positives of the situation, accord praise to the bowler and move on. ŵhese things happen in cricket, and you never get airs and graces in this game, he told me, the conduit to the many readers of his Å´unday Herald column. Å°f course I am disappointed, but you canÃÕ dwell on what you canÃÕ change. It was a terrific ball and it deserved a wicket? With which, he moved on to highlighting the improvements he had detected in the Scottish team. That refusal to be downcast was typical of Dravid, who, at 39, is finally bowing out of the Test arena, following an exalted career, spanning 164 matches since his debut at LordÃÔ in 1996. In statistical terms, his reputation is beyond question this is a fellow who accumulated 13,288 runs in Tests, at an average of 52.31, and added another 10,000-plus on the ODI circuit. Yet, if he had simply been a cold-hearted machine, with a speak-your-weight response to supporters, he would never have made such an impact in his domain. Quite simply, in an age when too any sporting stars regard their fame and fortune as a God-given right, Dravid was and remains one of the gameÃÔ humble heroes. Looking back, that quality shone through from the moment he checked into Edinburgh Airport in the spring of nine years ago. Never before had Caledonian cricket witnessed the kind of scenes which heralded his arrival. Returning war veterans, the Beckhams or Sir Sean Connery might have routinely attracted such a phalanx of photographers and ensuing media scrum, but never a cricketer in a land of supposedly rabid unbelievers. In which circumstances, it was perhaps unsurprising that Scottish TelevisionÃÔ young interviewer got a little carried away and the look of puzzlement on DravidÃÔ face was magnificent as she asked him: Å´o what do you think of Scottish football? But, to his credit, Rahul remained a model of composure and politeness and continued in that vein on his whistle-stop tour around Scotland from May to September. Predictably, he starred with the bat, and made a habit of swatting sixes into the tennis courts at The Grange in Edinburgh, whilst fulfilling a hectic schedule of commitments to sponsors and Cricket Scotland, as he toured the length and breadth of the country with his wife. What was more impressive was his commitment to the Saltires cause, his determination to leave an imprint off the pitch as well as on it, and he was equally conscientious when it came to delivering material for his column. He waded into the debate on how the ICC should give further assistance to the Associate nations, drew up a list of list of lessons for his temporary colleagues, including one of his mantras űlay the ball, not the bowler and spent plenty of time with the Saltires, offering tips and fine-tuning their techniques, working on the qualities required to prosper at the highest level. Yet, there was nary a trace of solipsistic prima-donnaism in his make up. If anything, his refusal to swagger was one of the reasons why so many recall Dravid with such obvious affection. ųahul has to be considered not only one of the finest players of his generation, but one of the finest ambassadors the sport has ever seen, said the former Scotland captain, Craig Wright, on Thursday. Ūt was an absolute privilege to play alongside him and to have somebody of that calibre representing the Scottish team [he was Number 1 in the world around the same time] was a huge boost to the sport in this country. Å©e showed an incredible lack of ego, for someone of his standing in the game, and his desire to help us do well was very evident. He really cared and he was admiring of the efforts of our players, who were balancing full-time jobs and families with training and competing regularly against professional opposition. And he was the happiest man in the team when we gained another win at Hove against Sussex. All in all, he was a truly great player, a truly great person, and a man of real resilience, from whom we all learned a lot. He learned from me as well?about how to operate a washing machine! The relationship worked both ways. Rahul confessed, at the outset of his magical mystery tour, that he had scant knowledge of cricket throughout Scotland, but he was a quick learner and soon grew to appreciate the (often unsung) popularity of a pursuit, which has been played north of the Border since the 18th century. Towards the end of his sojourn, he declared, in one of his final columns: Ū had not remotely imagined that I would meet so many interested, passionate, enthusiastic people, but from the far north to the extreme south, I have walked through club gates and the response has been amazing, from seven-year-olds to 70 year-olds, from players and officials to folk who had clearly never been to a cricket ground before in their lives, but were enjoying every minute of the experience and were keen to get behind their side. From what I have seen, the talent exists for Scotland to advance on the global stage. But, in my opinion, it is just as important that you cherish the game and encourage the grassroots, where the passion is so strong. The words embodied his unstinting belief that cricket can become a genuinely global sport, but also reflected his conviction that it should also be fun. His former Saltires colleague, Paul Hoffmann, affirmed on Thursday: ųahul was a champion who always played the game in the right spirit and was one of the few players that you can honestly say are admired by all supporters, no matter what country they come from. His cricketing exploits will live forever. So, too, his place in the hearts of many Scots will never be extinguished. It isnÃÕ a bad legacy for such a modest individual.
Source: http://www.cricketeurope4.net/DATABASE/ARTICLES5/articles/000005/000514.shtml
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2012/mar/09/rahul-dravid-india-genius-boundary?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038 This is a lovely tribute to Rahul.
Rahul Dravid – India's genius who could see way beyond the boundary The Wall mastered the dying art of batting time and he exhibited greatness at its most humble on and off the pitch Rahul-Dravid-005.jpg Rahul Dravid is congratulated by Steve Waugh following India's victory in Adelaide in December 2003. Photograph: Hamish Blair/Getty Images Sport When most people talk, you wait for your turn to speak. With some, you listen. And with a select few, you hang on every word like it's a sermon from on high. For many cricket fans, Steve Waugh falls into the latter category. A combination of Waugh's laconic nature, his avoidance of the spotlight, his abhorrence of banality and his status as the inscrutable figurehead of the Australian team that ruled the world at the turn of the century have made his pronouncements as valuable as any in the game. He is certainly someone whose respect you would be desperate to earn. Muffled praise from Steve Waugh is worth 100 rooftop eulogies from other cricketers. It's no surprise that Steve Waugh respected Rahul Dravid. He respected him so much that he asked him to write the foreword to his autobiography. Their mutual admiration was cemented over dinner during India's tour of Australia in 1998, when Dravid asked Waugh incessantly about the mental side of the game. They differ in some respects – Dravid's idea of mental disintegration was the watertight forward defensive – but they share crucial qualities. A love of the dying art of batting time. A rich understanding of the history of the game and particularly the importance of Test cricket. An awareness of how important cricket is but also how important it isn't. Both see way beyond the boundary. In Dravid, Waugh saw a rare species: the truly worthy adversary, and somebody who prided himself of making the tough, important runs. Waugh wasn't in the gutter very often as Australian captain, yet he happily went there in Adelaide on 16 December 2003, to retrieve the ball after Dravid had hit the winning runs in a sensational second Test. It gave India their first victory in Australia for 23 years. Waugh collected the ball and gave it to Dravid. With this being Waugh's last series in international cricket, some saw it as a symbolic passing of the baton. "Rahul wanted the extra edge that would elevate his game to the next level," said Waugh of that dinner date in 1998, "and at the Adelaide Oval he completed the journey". That performance was probably Dravid's finest in international cricket. He made 233 and 72 not out, batting five minutes short of 14 hours in the match. After that, even this most modest man could not avoid the spotlight. Despite that, and other legendary match-winning performances, there is a temptation to think Dravid as the guy behind the guy, someone whose career was largely spent in the shadows. When he made a gritty 95 on his Test debut at Lord's in 1996, Sourav Ganguly, also on debut, made a sparkling 131. When he batted all day against Australia at Kolkata in 2001, eventually making 180, VVS Laxman also batted all day and made a divine 281, one of the all-time great Test innings. When Dravid struck three unyielding centuries in England last summer, they were lost in Sachin Tendulkar's pursuit of his 100th hundred. Though Dravid was technically beautiful, his often weary face betrayed the fact that batting rarely came easy to him. He did not have the brutal audacity of Virender Sehwag, the poetic elegance of Laxman, the unfathomable, enduring genius of Tendulkar or the sublime cover drive of Ganguly. What he did have was substance. Dravid will retire with a portfolio of epic innings. Most came abroad; his percentage of Test centuries scored overseas (58) and outside Asia (39) are higher than the other four galacticos. This point might seem piddling – runs are runs are runs – but it ignores the position India were in during the early part of Dravid's career. Between 1986 and 2000 they won just one overseas Test in 48 attempts. To say they were travel sick was an insult to spinning stomachs. Their journey under the flinty captaincy of Ganguly in the early 2000s will always be defined by that miraculous turnaround against Australia in 2000-01, yet the most striking progress came overseas. Dravid, who averaged a staggering 102.84 in victories under Ganguly, was the key to that progress. His performance of Adelaide was followed, later the same winter, by an immense 270 at Rawalpindi to set up India's first ever series win in Pakistan. Eighteen months earlier his masterful 148 in trying conditions at Headingley – the second of four consecutive Test hundreds – led to a first win in England for 16 years. In 2006, as captain, he made 81 and 68 in a low-scoring dogfight in Jamaica to give India their first series win in the Caribbean for 35 years. Dravid batted 597 minutes in the match; nobody else on either side lasted 205 minutes. All bar one of these performances came during Dravid's peak, between July 2002 and June 2006 – the month in which his overall Test average peaked at 58.75. In that period, he scored 4316 runs at 69.61; even many of Tendulkar's disciples could not deny that Dravid was India's best batsman, and by a distance. Only Ricky Ponting rivalled him as the world's best. Dravid was also the inaugural ICC Player of the Year in 2004. He lies second behind on the Tendulkar on the Test run-scorers list, with 13288, and fourth with 36 Test centuries. He does have a couple of records of his own. Dravid is the only man to score 10,000 runs in the pivotal No3 position, and the only man to face 30,000 deliveries in Test cricket. As Dileep Premachandran said, he had "powers of concentration that were almost yogic". He was a master of the dying art of batting time and was famously nicknamed The Wall (although, as Mike Selvey pointed out on these pages, he deserved a grander title like The Great Wall of Indore). To talk of Dravid's ability tells only half the story. He exhibited greatness at its most humble, and is one of the most impressive men to play the game: dignified, fair-minded, eloquent (he never used a ghostwriter), gentle, yet tougher than we will ever realise. A Gary Cooper for the new millennium; the kind of man you'd want your son to grow into. Those who advocate Satan for a living would struggle to produce a bad word against him. There was one charge of ball-tampering in 2004, although most seemed to accept it was accidental. That's about it. Ganguly observed that Dravid had the eerie habit of almost always saying the right thing. He pretty much always did the right thing, too. Both were demonstrated at Edgbaston last summer when he defused the row over Ian Bell's controversial dismissal. Dravid was also a strikingly selfless team man, and could pop up in the most unlikely places: he batted everywhere from No1 to 7 in the Test team and played 73 one-day internationals as wicketkeeper to aid the balance of the side. He could pop up in other unlikely places: playing for Scotland, or at the United Services Ground in Portsmouth, repelling Shane Warne in one of county cricket's greatest modern duels. He even appeared in the England dressing-room in 2002 to pick Michael Vaughan's brain after he had dismantled India's spinners. Imagine an Indian asking an Englishman for tips on playing spin bowling. Dravid was never too proud to seek advice. "Greatness was not handed to him; he pursued it diligently, single-mindedly," Dravid wrote of Waugh in that foreword. It's a compliment that works both ways. Waugh recognised Dravid as a rare species, and so should we: as somebody who achieved greatness as both a cricketer and as a human being.
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Tanya Aldred: we will miss Test match specialist Rahul Dravid; his duel with Shane Warne was thrilling Back in July 2000 the old ground was saying goodbye to first-class cricket — a victim of poor pitch reports and an alluring Rose Bowl flouncing her wares over in West End. The summer sun was meltingly gorgeous and there were ice-creams in the press box. The salt on the warm wind seasoned the skin and seagulls patrolled the ground for rogue cheese and onion crisps. The final championship game at the ground was between Hampshire and Kent, which for that season meant Shane Warne and Dravid — riches unimaginable today. And the match became Warne against Dravid, flamboyance against rectitude, passion against calm, genius against near-genius. Warne, who had claimed supremacy over Dravid, pulled every one of his multiple tricks; Dravid, who had claimed he could read Warne from the hand, watched, waited and masterfully dispatched; the holiday crowd who had paid just £9 to get in sat in rapt concentration. The winner? Dravid, with 137, 73 not out and a Kent victory to his name. And as he walked off after his 137, every Hampshire player, every spectator and every journalist, stood and applauded. To see such a duel, such brilliance somewhere so unexpected, only added to the thrill. I’ve always had a soft spot for Dravid. With his good-boy’s haircut, old-fashioned parting and his long lean but slightly awkward limbs, he has more of the air of an excellent GP than an international athlete. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/8691916/Tanya-Aldred-we-will-miss-Test-match-specialist-Rahul-Dravid-his-duel-with-Shane-Warne-was-thrilling.html

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Dear Rahul, This is not going to be easy. But I will try. One sentence at a time. Congratulations. Is that appropriate? That’s what people at work say when someone quits. And, despite the anguish surrounding your decision, this is supposed to be a happy day. At least I would like to think of it that way. I expected you to finish in Adelaide. The same Adelaide where, in 2003, you found gold at the end of the rainbow. The same Adelaide where another colossus, Adam Gilchrist, retired four years ago, his wife and children sitting among the press, his voice breaking towards the end of each sentence, tears trickling down his cheeks as the press conference wound down. But the Chinnaswamy Stadium fits well. That’s where it all began. And that’s where it ends. Like Gilly, you leave with your family and former team-mates watching over your retirement announcement. And like him, you leave amid breaking voices and teary eyes. There is a constant temptation, especially when a cricketer retires, to draw comparisons. We live in a world that loves definitives. It frowns upon ambiguity. We want to determine your exact location in the pantheon. I will refrain from this. I am sure you are tired of being compared to other great Indian batsmen. And I am not about to bore you. But I must tell you something that has bothered me for a long time. You are too conveniently slotted as a specialist batsman. I disagree. That’s too simplistic. For me, you are an allrounder – not in the way our limited imaginations defines an allrounder but in a broader, more sweeping, sense. I find it hard to think of a more versatile cricketer. You were one of our finest short leg fielders. You were, for the most part, a remarkable slip catcher. You have opened the innings, batted at No.3, batted at No.6 (from where you conjured up that 180 in Kolkata). I’m sure you have batted everywhere else. You have kept wicket, offering an added dimension to the one-day side in two World Cups. You even scored 145 in one of those games. You captained both the Test and one-day teams. Sure, things didn’t go according to plan but you were a superb on-field captain. More importantly you were India’s finest vice-captain, an aspect that is often conveniently forgotten. Jeez, you even took some wickets. There’s something unique about this. In Indian cricket’s hall of fame, you can proudly share a table with Gavaskar and Tendulkar. But you can also share one with Kapil, Mankad and Ganguly – cricketers who excelled in more than one aspect of their game for an extended period of time. The only people who will understand this are those who you played with. The only people who will begin to appreciate your value to the side are those who you propped up. Which is why it is not the least surprising when Tendulkar said yesterday, ‘There can be no cricketer like Rahul Dravid.’ Hell yeah. It’s too far-fetched. Talking about Tendulkar, you know my best moment involving you two? Adelaide again. 2003 again. Damien Martyn c Dravid b Tendulkar 38. Ripping legbreak, spanking cut, screaming edge, lunging right hand, gotcha. That was magic. Pure magic. Swung the game. Ignited the series. What else will I remember? Hmm. That shirt of yours immaculately tucked in. How did you manage to keep it tucked in every single time? I’ll remember the way you chased the ball to the boundary line, as if you were competing in a hundred-meter race. I’ll remember the intensity with which you studied the pitch before the game, like a geologist, scraping the surface with your palms, examining the grains of sand, gauging the direction of the breeze. You loved all these tiny details, didn’t you? There is a perception that you have not got the credit you deserve. I don’t know if that is accurate. I wonder if you feel that way. But just you wait. Wait for India to play a Test without you. Wait for the team to lose an early wicket, especially on a challenging pitch. You’ll hear a gazillion sighs, sighs filled with longing. India 8 for 1 and you sitting in your living room, sipping tea and watching TV. I’ll be surprised if you don’t palpably feel a nation’s collective yearning for a sunnier, glorious past. But even that I may be able to somehow handle. What I won’t be able to come to terms with is not watching you bat. Over the years few things have given me as much joy as watching you construct an innings, hour upon hour, brick upon brick. Here I must mention what the great American author, Edgar Allan Poe, once said about the importance of punctuation. It does not seem to be known that, even where the sense is perfectly clear, a sentence may be deprived of half its force – its spirit – its point – by improper punctuation. An innings of yours would be incomplete without the punctuation marks that you masterfully employed along the way: the focussed leaves, the immaculate dead-bats, the softening of the grip, the late strokeplay, the ducking, the weaving, the swaying, the head totally still, your eyes always on the ball, the focus, more focus, still more focus, even more focus. There is no point watching an innings of yours stripped of all this. I’ve cursed all these TV producers who create highlight packages with fours, sixes, your raised bat after each fifty, a jump after a hundred, more fours, more sixes and done. Finished. Poof. That’s supposed to be a summation of your innings. It’s the same with all these photographers who click away and the websites that use those photos to create galleries. None of them even begin to portray the painstaking manner in which you create these pearls. None of them can capture over after over of graft. There is nothing more exhilarating than being exhausted after watching you bat. But there is no technology that can capture that, no software that can simulate it. So if my grandson were to ask me about your batting, I would be lost. The only way anyone can begin to understand your craft is by watching you bat through a whole day, by experiencing your pain. There are no short cuts. There are a million links that pop up on YouTube when I type ‘Rahul Dravid’. All of them show you batting. None of them contain your essence. There is no Rahul Dravid in there. That’s sad. But maybe that’s also a good thing. I was fortunate to be able to watch you bat. My grandson won’t be as lucky. He’s going to be born at the wrong time. Let’s go with that. It’s much easier. As I said, this is supposed to be a happy day. It’s the memories that matter. You’ve left us a world full of them. So long, Rahul. Adios. Ciao. Auf Wiedersehen. Tata. Bye, bye. Olleyadagali guru. And thank you. It’s been a privilege. Yours faithfully, Sidvee http://sidveeblogs.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/goodbye-dravid/

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