March 9, 2012

The wolf who lived for the pack

Rahul Dravid was always a team man, willing to take up challenges for the greater good; and the acceptance of challenges has defined his cricket
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Rahul Dravid batted exactly like the person he is: stately and upright, dignity and poise his two shoulders, standing up to everything coming at him with minimum fuss. He picked his shots carefully, almost like he was weighing the risk for fear of letting himself and his side down. There was little about him that was flamboyant - there isn't with an oak - and patiently, brick by brick, he built giant edifices. He is a good man and he batted like a good man.

And like with most of his choices in life, he has chosen well again. He has not craved a full house on its feet, there has been no grandstanding. The retirement is a sports-page event not a gossip item. He knew it was time. "I'm sure you have thought it through," I said when he called. "I know this is the time," he said. "Any longer and it will be for the wrong reason." I expected nothing less from a man it has been my privilege to watch and to know for 16 years.

It was but a feather that prevented him from getting a century on debut at Lord's. He would have liked it, for he has this sense of history about him. He would have wanted to be on that honours board, and 15 years later he inscribed his name there with a Dravid special. They love him there like he is one of their own, and indeed England has been a recurring motif in his life. The 1999 World Cup; the majesty of 2002, when he outbatted the world and produced one of his finest innings in Leeds; winning a series as captain in 2007; and then those three centuries last year that reminded us once again what Test cricket was all about.

At Lord's he remained not out from No. 3; at Trent Bridge he opened the batting and was ninth out; and at The Oval, at the age of 38, he had but ten minutes between deliveries as he batted through the innings for six and a half hours, before returning to open the batting. A standing ovation had just died down before another took its place. I stood too, not for the first time.

And he loved to explore England, on foot, in buses and in trains; always asking about the latest musical and offering extended reviews of those he had seen. One such exploration took him to Scotland, from where he returned humbler, if that was indeed possible. He was getting paid to play, he said, but everyone else was paying to play - taking unpaid leave, shutting down shops, all for the sheer joy of playing. He learnt, he said, how much you can take for granted as an international star. I can see why he will continue to be a giver, why his doors will be open for other cricketers. And I hope they learn from him never to say no.

There were two things Dravid didn't really love in cricket: opening the batting and keeping wicket. He was asked to do both at various times, and I asked him if he ever contemplated saying no. He didn't enjoy it, he said, but took it as a challenge, to see how good he could be. This acceptance of challenges is what has defined his cricket and made him one of the finest team players there has been. A challenge, he said, allowed him to understand himself better, it gave him a reason to play sport. If he shied away, he would never know how good he could be. He kept wicket in about 70 one-day internationals, never most convincingly, but he allowed himself to look bad for the team to look good. It was always the team for him and in the little piece he wrote for the book that my wife Anita and I did, he quoted Kipling: for the strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf. It was nice to see a cricketer quoting from literature.

It is away that the most memorable innings were played; in New Zealand in 1999, England in 2002, Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04, and in the West Indies in 2006. To that extent, he was the true successor to Sunil Gavaskar

The team is like a pot, Dravid often says. Some put in and some take out. The more who put in, the fuller it gets, and those were the players he enjoyed playing with the most: those who put into the pot. He was one of the leading contributors and there was never an effort at gaining sympathy or media attention for it. He gave quietly. He was one of the reasons why India recovered so quickly from the match-fixing issue around the turn of the century. India had some outstanding men of integrity at the time. Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, Ganguly, Laxman and Srinath. It was a good group to belong to.

The turn of the century was also the coming of age of Dravid as an international cricketer. He had proved people wrong about his ability to play one-day cricket at the World Cup but then went to Australia convinced he needed to do well there to gain respect. It is a word he will often use in conversation ("the respect in your dressing room and that of your opponents is what matters") but in quest of it that time, he tried too hard, cocooning himself into a mass of nervous energy. He struggled but returned in 2003, at the height of his powers as a batsman, to peel off a double-century in Adelaide that won India a famous Test.

He scored many in that phase, most of them away and throughout his career, his home and away averages have sat close together. It is the mark of a genuinely great player. And it is away that the most memorable innings were played: in New Zealand in 1999, England in 2002, Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04, and in the West Indies in 2006. To that extent he was the true successor to Sunil Gavaskar.

And his father will be proud of that. Oh, we family folk are suckers for that kind of sentiment. In 1994, when I used to do the highlights of domestic cricket for ESPN, Dravid's father would often call to ask if he could get highlights of his son's batting. The request was always very politely made and a thank you was always offered when I met him. You can see the shyness in the genes, the correctness. I don't mention it lightly. In our obsession with saluting the here and now we sometimes ignore what produced success. If Dravid senior was proud of his young man, Rahul was proud enough of his mother to be the photographer when she received her PhD. It might seem a small thing to do but it tells you a lot about the person. Giant edifices are built on solid foundations.

And so it is with a touch of emotion that I will say goodbye to India's finest No. 3. He wasn't the Wall, not for me. Yes, his defence was as perfect as it could get, his steeliness so admirable, but he played shots that warmed the heart. The cover drive, with the big stride forward, and the prettiest of them all - the whip through midwicket played so late and while so nimble on his toes.

He will be missed, as the great always are. He will see his children grow, take them to school, imbibe in them the reading habit (for he read more than most people I know and couldn't understand why others didn't), but from time to time he must tell the new flowers that will inevitably bloom in our cricket of the need to put grit over beauty, team over self, challenge before rejection, humility before arrogance, for that is what he stood for.

Well played, my friend. You have the honour of leaving the game richer with your legacy and none of us can ask for anything more than that.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • lgnandan on March 13, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    Really a emotional article. We're proud and glad that we had an opportunity to be a Cricket's enthusiasts in his time. It's all because of him and few great cricketers like him. Really it was an emotional farewell to him. We can't imagine test cricket without Dravid. We'll miss him on the field forever. Words can't express what his true fans feeling right now.

  • on March 12, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    i am aussies fan. when australia plays india in tests n when dravid is batting i alz used to have fear of loosing the match or of draw... he is simply the best batsman in cricket world. india can never ger another wall n slip fielder like him. rly felt sad when i saw his retirement. will never forget u.

  • on March 12, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    Great article, but I am yet to find a tribute that talks about his quietly effective role at first slip. 210 and 196 catches in tests and ODIs. Anyone?

  • on March 12, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    great wall did great job...no one can fill the place jammie's but transition is good even waugh's invincibles retired ponting was clueless after losing ashes but their transition shows how gud every bloke who comes to play...im sure indian team will get best numb 3 but its after d name of wall...thanks for ur entertain jammie...gear up virat for no 3 n show the same aggresion,determination in ur eyes like d wall showed...all d best for future...lets not forget v r d champs...put ur heads high n walk into d arena guys...india rockssss....

  • shivanshu24 on March 11, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    sachin may be god and cricket may be religion bur DRAVID will always be the worrior who kept gods kingdom intact without even him knowing it. BEST that evr could be. sachin dont stand a chance against him. Sachin might be well celebrated but to perform when you know you wont get due credit for what u have done demands larger than life figure ,near to inhuman courage, shear determination and love for country. No one could match him. he stands alone like himalayas , gaurding the nation, taking the bull by horns, silent, not saying a word just making sure that cricket lives on. he is the best role model that sports can ever produce. sachin needs to do a lot more to be a man, a role modelike,l dravid cuz its easy to perform when u know they all love you,and will continue to do so, then to know that many of those for whom he is playing dont care about u, and u are just one innning far from being booed by ur own people. THE BEST THERE WAS THE BEST THERE IS THE BEST THERE WILL BE. THE WALL

  • janthu on March 11, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    @bala... none in sight.... too tough...

  • bala_krithu on March 11, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    No:3, who????????

    Can some one help a guess, here.

  • CricUniverse on March 11, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    Very fitting heading to the article, Harsha. It is very hard to digest the fact that we will not see this incredible man bat at No.3 for India any more. It does not seem real. Like so many things we take in life as granted or as permanent, RD batting for India was one such. Given the way Rahul Dravid has performed and conducted on and off the field, I would call him a walking "Buddha" of Cricket. Wishing the best to him in his future.

  • mukmum on March 11, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    indians recall good deeds only when a person dies ,everyone was running wild when he was out of form in his last series

  • getsetgopk on March 11, 2012, 2:21 GMT

    Dravid a man who enjoyed challenge and hard work more than the arrogance most cricketers have these days, a true humble being and one of India's finest batsman, you will surely be missed, may you have a happy life in retirement.

  • lgnandan on March 13, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    Really a emotional article. We're proud and glad that we had an opportunity to be a Cricket's enthusiasts in his time. It's all because of him and few great cricketers like him. Really it was an emotional farewell to him. We can't imagine test cricket without Dravid. We'll miss him on the field forever. Words can't express what his true fans feeling right now.

  • on March 12, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    i am aussies fan. when australia plays india in tests n when dravid is batting i alz used to have fear of loosing the match or of draw... he is simply the best batsman in cricket world. india can never ger another wall n slip fielder like him. rly felt sad when i saw his retirement. will never forget u.

  • on March 12, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    Great article, but I am yet to find a tribute that talks about his quietly effective role at first slip. 210 and 196 catches in tests and ODIs. Anyone?

  • on March 12, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    great wall did great job...no one can fill the place jammie's but transition is good even waugh's invincibles retired ponting was clueless after losing ashes but their transition shows how gud every bloke who comes to play...im sure indian team will get best numb 3 but its after d name of wall...thanks for ur entertain jammie...gear up virat for no 3 n show the same aggresion,determination in ur eyes like d wall showed...all d best for future...lets not forget v r d champs...put ur heads high n walk into d arena guys...india rockssss....

  • shivanshu24 on March 11, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    sachin may be god and cricket may be religion bur DRAVID will always be the worrior who kept gods kingdom intact without even him knowing it. BEST that evr could be. sachin dont stand a chance against him. Sachin might be well celebrated but to perform when you know you wont get due credit for what u have done demands larger than life figure ,near to inhuman courage, shear determination and love for country. No one could match him. he stands alone like himalayas , gaurding the nation, taking the bull by horns, silent, not saying a word just making sure that cricket lives on. he is the best role model that sports can ever produce. sachin needs to do a lot more to be a man, a role modelike,l dravid cuz its easy to perform when u know they all love you,and will continue to do so, then to know that many of those for whom he is playing dont care about u, and u are just one innning far from being booed by ur own people. THE BEST THERE WAS THE BEST THERE IS THE BEST THERE WILL BE. THE WALL

  • janthu on March 11, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    @bala... none in sight.... too tough...

  • bala_krithu on March 11, 2012, 8:57 GMT

    No:3, who????????

    Can some one help a guess, here.

  • CricUniverse on March 11, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    Very fitting heading to the article, Harsha. It is very hard to digest the fact that we will not see this incredible man bat at No.3 for India any more. It does not seem real. Like so many things we take in life as granted or as permanent, RD batting for India was one such. Given the way Rahul Dravid has performed and conducted on and off the field, I would call him a walking "Buddha" of Cricket. Wishing the best to him in his future.

  • mukmum on March 11, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    indians recall good deeds only when a person dies ,everyone was running wild when he was out of form in his last series

  • getsetgopk on March 11, 2012, 2:21 GMT

    Dravid a man who enjoyed challenge and hard work more than the arrogance most cricketers have these days, a true humble being and one of India's finest batsman, you will surely be missed, may you have a happy life in retirement.

  • Farce-Follower on March 10, 2012, 23:41 GMT

    Harsha : Completely agree with your assessment of RD's declaration of the Indian innings in Pakistan when SRT was in his 190s (which you had expressed in a TV show). RD is the most selfless class act that Indian cricket has ever seen. There will never be another.

  • dennis_woods on March 10, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    I agree totally with your summation of Dravid. Even as an Australian he was my favourite cricketer. In an age of arrogant, self absorbed, characterless sportspeople he shone out as an example to every aspiring youngster as to how to conduct themselves. It is said cricket built an empire, through the principles of life it teaches and the character it builds in its participants, Dravid exemplified this. My sincere wish is that he goes on to take a leading role in the administration of the game, heaven knows it needs someone of his character.

  • twinmax on March 10, 2012, 23:05 GMT

    He is the MVP of Indian cricket over the last decade. The mark of a truly great batsman is to score runs when your team needs it most. As long as I remember, every time Dravid performed, his team won. When he didn't India lost. He never scored meaningless runs and to me those runs are more valuable than 15000 of some one else's. He may not be as great as the other dude, but by god he was the MVP of the Indian cricket team. He was the glue that held the team together. The safety net, the pivot around which you could build an entire innings. You remain in my mind, the finest batsmen of the last decade. You were to India what Javed Miandad was for Pakistan, what Andy Flower was for Zimbabwe and what Steve Waugh was for Australia. You are more guts than glory, more dogged than genius and that is why you will be missed. So long Dravid. It has been an honor watching you the last 16 years. Test cricket will never have the same feel again.

  • enthusiastic on March 10, 2012, 22:39 GMT

    A true gentleman and most respected cricketer in the world. He may not have hogged limelight like a few of his countrymen but was more superior than many. What a wonderful cricket and an even greater human. Great team player helped India saved and won many games. Always played for the team and not for records. Legend!

  • atifyousuf on March 10, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    Harsha: the article is spot on. Rahul will remain one of the best No 3 Test batsman of all time. A lot can be said about his cricketing achievements ,diligent work ethic and contributions as a team player. However in my book what made him exceptional for me was the way he conducted himself off the field. We often forget that cricketers are ambassadors of their nations and their gestures can go so far. ( see link below)

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/pakvind/content/story/232538.html

    I was a medical student at the time in Pakistan when my friends and I had the opportunity to meet Rahul Dravid and other team mates. What struck us was how dignified, humble and respectful Rahul was . He never hesitated to interact with the local of Karachi, Lahore and Peshawer . It is so hard not to like the man. He has the potential for further greatness and wish him all the best From a Pakistani Fan

  • D.Sharma on March 10, 2012, 15:33 GMT

    Brilliant article, Harsha!

  • murthydn16 on March 10, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    Wonderful cricketer and equally excellent human being. There cannot be another Dravid. A wonderful article Harsha. Thanks for letting know some unknown facts about the legend. Youngsters should imbibe these impeccable characters from legend like Dravid.

  • HanifShah on March 10, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    A true legend. I wish him the best of luck. Harsha a very nice article with an appropriate caption which defines Dravid. I am a cricket lover and a Pakistani but certainly cannot stop myself from paying homage to one of the greatest of India if not the greatest.

  • ManR on March 10, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    Well said Harsha. The man has given more than most. Salute Rahul!

  • harshthakor on March 10, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    Sadly,Rahul Dravid has bade farewell to International Cricket. No more will we witness this great character on a cricket field whose very presence was a sight to behold. Few batsmen ever in the game possessed greater character and exhibited such sound temperament.Dravid reminded you of a military commander displaying ice-cool nerves in war, especially when his army was facing imminent defeat. He was literally an impregnable wall.Dravid's tenacity was simply phenomenal. From the bouncy Australian tracks to the seaming English surfaces to the turning subcontinent tracks,Dravid was an ultimate master. The concentration he revealed reminded you of a monk meditating.

    Technically, he was the best batsman of his era and arguably with Sunil Gavaskar technically the best batsman to have played for India. His defence was watertight and he wore down the best of bowling attacks like a boulder. His grammar was near perfect displayed by the timing of his footwork, which resembled a programmed mach

  • harshthakor on March 10, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    In England in 2002 he scored 3 centuries in 3 straight innings.Between 2002 and 2004he hit 4 double centuries in 15 tests .At his peak, from 2001-2006 Dravid was arguably the best batsman in the World.(scored 5727 runs at 62.25) 12 of his first 24 centuries were in winning causes and he overshadowed Tendulkar in overseas test wins.In 2006 Dravid had the highest overseas test average in wins for his country by any great batsman.He also had the 4th best average for any batsman in overseas tests of 66 runs behind only ,Bradman ,Hammond and Barrington..Overall to me Dravid wins a place in the top dozen batsman of all time and the top 5 one down batsman of all. At one time(in 2006) in ratings analysis he even surpassed Tendulkar.Had he maintained the same tempo after 2006 he would have been rated even above Lara and Tendulkar.(scored 8000 runs averaging over 58 runs)In a crisis I vote Dravid the best batsman of the modern era.. Of the specialists in a crisis I rate Dravid the best of a

  • SirWilliam on March 10, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    In England, Dravid was always thought of more highly than Tendulkar simply because he looked the better player. Dravid's batting average in England is 65.52, whereas Tendulkar's is 54.31, which rather bears out that view.

  • Al.Muthu on March 10, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    My greatest memory of Rahul would be how he never gave up, no matter how dire a situation he walked into. In fact, he relished the challenge. And that gave me such hope. Ah, its going to be alright. Dravid's at the crease. He'll take care of the whole innings. A team man, a courageous player, a humble servant and a gentleman of the highest calibre- Rahul 'The Wall' Dravid is a Rolls Royce that loved rut roads.

    Goodbye, sir. I hope you find all that you look for in life. Thank you for all the memories.

  • mukul_rawal on March 10, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    well, this article certainly describe dravid ( who has always being overshadowed from other things)very well. Even in this article the tribute to dravid has been overshadowed by brilliance of harsha bhogle as writer.

  • SriUSA on March 10, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    Good one as always from Harsha. Agree he played well and knew when to retire. I know he could have come back easily. But he decided to go.

  • RaviNarla on March 10, 2012, 3:11 GMT

    Best No.3 to have played After the Don.

  • Nadeem1976 on March 10, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    Dravid is WALL and will be WALL forever, i don't know why media is not giving him credit of being a WALL so strange.

  • RThumma on March 10, 2012, 2:22 GMT

    A nicely written article as always ...kudos Harsha I think these articles about Dravid are only story tellers to someone new to cricket. To me who ever follows cricket no words are needed to describe Dravid. Also, whenever someone remembers Dravid it is always in white clothes not in blue.

  • Meety on March 10, 2012, 1:26 GMT

    Great man, his slip fielding was an often overlooked asset he brought to the Indian side, (although not as good in later years). Dravid IMO, is one of those cricketers that ascends his achievments in the sport. The poise he keeps, whilst batting, whilst in the field & in interviews is certainly the mark of the man. His retirement got me thinking about the Most Dignified World XI, so here it is 1. J Wright, 2. Wessells, 3. Dravid (c), 4. Kallis, 5. Logie, 6. Dujon (had to fit him in somewhere), 7. Gilchrest (vc), 8. Vettori, 9. Srinath, 10. Steyn (so far, so good), 11. Phantom Martin (anybody that can cop the bagging this guy has had about everything from his batting to his bowling is a legend IMO). I give honourable mentions to Gower, VVS, & Sangakarra & Jayawerdene.

  • Captain_Oblivious on March 10, 2012, 0:57 GMT

    Not an unexpected retirement, but it's still sad to see one of the rare gentlemen of the game no longer gracing the international arena. As an Australian, I too remember that 1999 series and thought this guy was a fairly ordinary player, but how he proved me wrong! From 2001-2012, I honestly thought he was the most important wicket when Australia played against India. Not Tendulkar, not Sehwag. Over that decade or so, when Australia dismissed Dravid cheaply, we usually won. India's best performances in those great series 'coincided' with Dravid making runs, and I consider him a more influential player than Tendulkar or Sehwag. A true professional in every way. The term 'role model' is often overused, but you could do a lot worse than use Rahul Dravid as a shining example, not only for kids but adults alike.

  • Rafit on March 10, 2012, 0:48 GMT

    Hats off to our great Myth DRAVID of our Indian cricket team, we miss you a lot and Have a happy spell with your family.

    Thanks to Harsha for the best homage for my WALL.

  • RohanMarkJay on March 9, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    He is one of my favourite cricketers to come out of India in the last 20 years. He is everything we like top class international cricketers to be. I will certainly miss him. He had one of the best techniques in cricket. Played the game the right way. One of the best test players India has ever produced. I am not from India, but thank you for gracing the sport and enriching it so much by your presence and performances. I wish all the best for the future. I hope to see you commentating on the sport..Like other past test cricketers. So we will be able to see more of you and listen to your views on the game. Thank you, Rahul Dravid a true cricket champion and gentleman of the game.

  • JoseBautista on March 9, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    i am gonna miss him!!! legend!!! the one and only cricketer i loved watching....man!!! and the title of this article is sooo rite!!! this guy made so much sacrifices too!!!!

  • vssant on March 9, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    O Rahul....this came to me a shocker....you should have allowed all of your fans to see your last inning....am sure I would have missed everything else to see you bat last time....I missed watching your last innings in Australia and will always have this feeling of 'something missing' in life. Although will watch you play IPL but it doesn't have that fun and satisfaction of watching you in white color cloths... nevertheless you have given us, all your fans, lot to enjoy in last 16 years...thank you for all this and wish you all the best for future.... Harsha, as always..beautiful article....

  • manasranjanmishra8 on March 9, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    what a fine cricketer....he will be missed both by the Indian cricket team and the world wide fans...wishing u very best for your future.......

  • ProdigyA on March 9, 2012, 19:34 GMT

    There may be better batsmen than Rahul but one thing that makes him unique is that he is a true GENTLEMAN. His work ethic, his professionism, dignity, and the list can go on. I think this is one of the most important trait that is missing in our younger generation of Indians. All we want to be is a bunch of wannabes. It wonders me when there is so much of politics going on around you, how can you NOT get effected. Never in the news for wrong reasons. STAND n SALUTE you sir. Indian cricket is proud to have been served by a son like you Rahul.

  • StopSmoking on March 9, 2012, 19:33 GMT

    This is your best article by you, Sir. May be Dravid brought the best out of you! It may sound kidish but if you are fan of Lord of the rings (the movie), that arrow maestro elf Legolas, played by Orlando Bloom, that's Rahul Dravid.

  • Shankarkadiyala on March 9, 2012, 19:31 GMT

    Now that Rahul Dravid retired and VVS is on the verge, it may not be possible for me to watch anymore Cricket. I am shattered as i couldn't think of Cricket without these two guys. One last test would have been ....... (too greedy isn't it). As Raj Kapoor in " Mera Naam Joker" said "jeena yahan marana yahan" -- Rahul don't leave Cricket. God bless you and wish you a very happy retired life with your family. And Harsha you are ........ ( mind is blank and i am hunting for appropriate words) for this article. Thank you Man

  • nikhilpuri on March 9, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    Fantastic tribute Harsha - I liked the way you signed off as well. Lovely to see and hear.

  • gkannuchamy on March 9, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    //Dravid's father would often call to ask if he could get highlights of his son's batting. If Dravid senior was proud of his young man, Rahul was proud enough of his mother to be the photographer when she received her PhD. He will see his children grow, take them to school, imbibe in them the reading habit.//

    Highlighted Harsha's words here, just in case some (including Greg Chappell) think cricket shouldn't be played as a family.

  • vkarthik83 on March 9, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    I still remember watching his first innings at Lord's...he was batting on 95 and he nicked one to the keeper. The umpire shook his head, but he "walked". My respect for him has only gotten better from then!

  • aroberts on March 9, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    All the Best!!! Well I think it would take sometime to realize he's not going to be there as 1 down or 3rd down or 6down. Man if we find it tough not seeing him then just realize how he would be feeling. I salute you sir for giving us the opportunity to enjoy your career.

  • CricHarsh on March 9, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    There are cricketers who were born to be cricketers and then there is Dravid who could have excelled in any of his chosen field. Lucky for cricket that he chose to play the game. His batting in a sense provided us with a pin hole glimpse of the complete history of the craft. The Hafiz retires with no one to carry the Shruti.

  • mycricket2007 on March 9, 2012, 17:44 GMT

    My only worry now is everyone media, fan, selectors all started pushing rohit into 11 and there are no. of players better than him. i m not against rohit but there are few who deserve chance ahead of him like pujara, rehane..

  • PratUSA on March 9, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    Harsha, Thanks for a heartfelt tribute.

  • tiervonholle666 on March 9, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    A very well put article. This fella epitomizes what every sport personality be it Domestic or International strive for... CONSISTENCY!. There were none before him, none during his time and hopefully there will be none of the likes of him in my lifetime. Cricketers/ athletes may come and go but there can be no other Dravid. Dedication for the game, the pure passion he had reflected in his game. I have always enjoyed cricket, but now am saddened with his departure from the game. Like all, SRT is one of my favs, but it it is RD that made me feel that India is safe when playing test cricket. Now with our guard down, I do not see anyone having that type of solidity to say to the opposition "GET ME OUT" ....A thorough gentleman and a cricketer extraordinaire. My dedication to the Indian cricket team stands on weaker supports and will probably collapse with the exit of the "GREATEST MIDDLE ORDER" of all time. I salute you RD... and hope to relive your magic through the memories of your game

  • Chandrurec5 on March 9, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    Once again a great article by Harsha. I will take the privilege of writing a similar article when you stop commenting.

  • babubhaiyya on March 9, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    I am From Pakistan ..... LOVE YOU DRAVID.... Grew up watching u..... there may be greater batsmen than u BUT U R THE BEST SPORTSMAN ever....... U were the last of your kind.... Do us one more favor.... Be a broadcaster so that we still C YOU.... TAKE A BOW GREAT MAN

  • pavan4al on March 9, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    Wow!!! Very well written by Harsha Bhogle, the greatest class player of World retires today!!! But i would have loved to see him play a farewell match.

  • soumyas on March 9, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    it is really an emotional day for me,,,it has really been my privilege to watch dravid for more than 15 years... legendary cricketer, i loved him more than anyone. true gentleman. Wish him all the very best for his retired future...

  • cyniket on March 9, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    a fine tribute to a great player, who was admired as much for his humility as his elegant batting.

  • ravis123 on March 9, 2012, 14:43 GMT

    Rahul, as always a gentleman, a man of humility and a team player all the way... There cant be a more thorough professional or a complete cricketer than him - India has truly seen a stalwart of the highest order, a man who re-defined the No. 3 position and made it his own.. In my view, he should be rated as the best No.3 the world has ever produced.. Lets celebrate Dravid and wish him well in whatever he endaevors to do in future... Vidushak

  • athem79 on March 9, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    Harsha you were exceptionally good (as usual) in writing this article for Mr WALL. However, I would differ on one aspect i.e.Wall had an edge over Sunil Gavaskar.

  • pitch_it_up on March 9, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Once again Harsha shows his class. He is as good in his craft as RD is in his field. A great tribute. It feels so painful to think that I'll never watch my hero, to whom a common man can relate to and draw inspiration from, play anymore. He is an embodiment of humility, sportsmanship and above all a great spirit. He is the last of the old world cricket which believes in playing the sport in the right Spirit, Technique, Purity and Classism. I belong to his generation and followed Cricket so intensely, and related to him (and players of our generation) in so many ways. I have to sadly admit that, with him retiring, a major part of my interest in Cricket will die and I'll also focus on my personal life (talk about mid-life crisis). Truly, an end of an era. Cricket has been poorer today. And yes, thanks for the memories.

  • shajjji on March 9, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    He's one of the finest in the business and its always a pleasure to watch him bat. Even though I didn't know much about him before reading this article, character speaks for itself in many ways; the way he carried himself and I always admired his positive attitude towards other players and teams.

    Respect and love,

    from Pakistan.

  • Ykaps on March 9, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    Finally the legend who made me watch and love test cricket has hung up his boots ,what can be said abt him, to be the perfect gentleman and role model for the sport , to be the greatest team man i have seen, to be the most consistent bat in the indian dressing room, to be the most obdurate batsman to hold crease , to scale to such heights after not being bestowed with natural talents and still through sheer hardwork became a colossus, to be able to play well beyond his means and deliver , SALUTE to India's most broadest bat , you made all of us proud . Well Played and Well Left RAHUL DRAVID

  • AlexDackard on March 9, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    Always liked Dravid, more than everyone else in Indian team. There is a reassuring quality about him that none else possessed consistently during Dravid's era in Indian Cricket Team. It's been a pleasure Mr. Dravid. Good Luck.

  • MBSK on March 9, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    Thank you Harsha for a fitting article. I am a scientist and around the same age as Rahul. Rahul has been one of my inspirations throughout these years on work ethics, dedication, sincerity, humility and perseverance. While we can only thank him for everything he has done for India, his impact is much beyond cricket he has inspired many individuals like me in other spheres of life as well with his qualities. All the best to him.

  • venkatesh018 on March 9, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    Poetic tribute, Harsha ! Your words conveyed everything all the Dravid fans must be feeling at this moment.

  • AjAdam on March 9, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    Few remains in """CRICKET"""to watch"Cricket".

  • Mughlaichicken on March 9, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    A man who never stood in anyone's shadow, his humility shielded him from the arrogance surrounding the modern Cricketer, his dedication stands in his statistics, his greatness is the guiding star that he has become. Not only cricketers but people from all walks of life should look at him to learn how to conduct one self personally and professionally and reach the zenith. With honor and respect to not a great cricketer but a great human being and consummate professional who along the way became a supreme player of the game that gentlemen played - Cricket.

  • rahulcricket007 on March 9, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    BCCI SHOULD MAKE DRAVID BATTING COACH OF INDIAN TEAM . HIS OVERSEAS PERFORMANCE IS BETTER THAN HOME . OUR YOUNGSTERS SHOULD LEARN A THING OR TWO FROM HIM .

  • Farce-Follower on March 9, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    I have had the privilege of seeing Dravid play in Ranji matches across three different seasons, against TN, Mumbai and UP. On all occassions he scored a century, while guiding Karnataka to wins. A true gentleman. A Hero forever.

  • SudeepSharma_Nepal on March 9, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    A very nice write up for the man, an individual whose beauty was in simplicity and the simplicity was no ordinary; it was the simplicity of highest class, which is almost impossible to emulate.It is sad that all good things have to come to an end but he already left very deep impressions on us. He will dwell in our hearts for ever.

  • Romanticstud on March 9, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    What about the Wanderers in 1997 when he made 148 and 81 in a test match against Donald, Pollock, MacMillan, Klusener and Adams ... He frustrated the South Africans in what was a sublime inninngs of concentration ... As a South African supporter I take my hat off to such a gentleman of the game ... He was always a sportsman, even when others may have lost their rag, he stood as a mentor to all aspiring sportmen and women around the globe ... Hope that Rahul will come back to South Africa with the Indian team and commentate on radio and TV ... or maybe as Indian coach ... He was always in the shadow of Sachin when it came to stats and the like, but he will always be remembered for the way he played the game ... a true gentleman ...

  • gmsjgmsj on March 9, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    I'm 2 years younger than Rahul. I dont play cricket for India. But i do play street cricket every week with a tennis ball. I live for that weekly game, a game which gives me so much pleasure and hope for the next week ahead. As everyone knows, there are strict silly rules in street cricket where you cant hit over the top. If you do so, you are out. I had a totally wretched formative years in this type of cricket because i seldom pinched singles but looked to hit out. I was the ugly duckling of my team. It all changed when i watched Rahul bat that day in Eden in 2001. I understood that, whatever talent or technique one had in whatever form of cricket played, one must have tempermant. All else is worthless if you cant measure up against yourself - essentially cricket is about battling yourself! As a humble tennis ball cricketer who learnt how to play cricket in street cricket, i heartily the Officer and Gentleman of Indian Cricket. God bless !

  • Ven.Kat on March 9, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    Nice tribute..perfect title to the article.....really apt...

  • matbhuvi on March 9, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    Thank you Harsha for the wonderful article on the legend.

  • sameer997 on March 9, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Dravid will never be forgotten

  • philipbkk on March 9, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Ganguly had his princely mannerisms, Sachin has his Aura, but Dravid is the one who wore his heart on his sleeve !!

  • udaykiran.goru on March 9, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Today i feel very bad as i could not see my hero "Rahul Dravid" walking into the field at no 3. I cannot assume anyone at no 3 other than him... A real hero, a true legend and a team player who has always played the game with dignity and in true spirit. I can never forget the innings he played against New Zealand (190), South Africa (148), Australia (180 at eden gardens) and (233 at Adelaide) and many other innings. I have grown up watching the beautiful cover drives, the elegant cuts and superb on drives of Dravid and i'll miss the champ a lot... India will miss the legend. "If Rahul has not been born in Tendulkar Era, Dravid would have got more plaudits for his supreme batting performances"

  • aristrocrat_ideal on March 9, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    Rahul Dravid is indeed a paid batsman and India's best defensive. I havnt seen like of Gavaskar or Naidu but i have seen Dravid. The bolwers nightmare which he always dram of while playing against India because they knew that one batsman who bats for India at No. 3 is the most dominated and prominent called THE WALL RAHUL DRAVID will come and they is the one who everyone wants to get out asap because you cannot climb THE WALL. So as in tears in my eyes when i saw him delivering his retirement speech because now there is an End of an Era and Rahul Dravid was an Era who ended today. His class, sportsmanship, Technique, Humanity all these things were praised by many of greatest of cricket. The truly ambassador of a Gentleman's game. We salute you and you will always inside our heart. There are no words to describe his greatness. Media played important role to force him retire and we'll see who come and show that class as he did.

    RAHUL DRAVID LIVES ALWAYS & WE SALUTE THE WALL

  • praveen4honestremark on March 9, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    One sentence to describe this man, Rahul Dravid : " When i see him play on cricket field, i feel no other player in this world would have been playing so dedicated for a team, giving his everything...i salute you sir, and this words will apply only to you"...No other player would have done so many sacrifices for a team. Oh! sorry sir Dravid , in your words love and dedication...love you sir.

  • keecha on March 9, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    Tears roll out as I just finished reading this. Not a very emotional man I am but yes that just shows how much this man means to us as a player and a human. Harsha, you have just voiced the views of a billion people

  • ananthus on March 9, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    No words to say about u r retirement u done the things before itself ....But we miss the farwell test for u that hurt us more ......the wall is going to miss in the elevens ..no one can replace u r memories as u did... u already gave every thing to india as opening batsman,keeper,good slip fielder ,captain of india and the retirment ....

  • faircritic on March 9, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    what i have fantasied [wishfull dreams] to be in cricket, he has achieved in cricket. salutations to a great cricketer, greatman [who knew his strengths and weakness and tried his utmost to correct for the benefit of himself, others and cricket without giving up]. Rahul -you can always keep your head high as you have earned the respect of every single cricket fan in the world. wish you all success and happiness in whatever you do.

  • kurups on March 9, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    A good read of facts well written...Its very emotional to see him leave and I imagine it would never be this much (atleast for me) when the other greats leave...really because of all the unique virtues that this great man has along with being one of the finest cricketer and a true team player!!

  • mrgupta on March 9, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    Sad moment for Cricket fans specially Indians. 'The Wall' was arguably the most technically correct modern day batsmen. His partnerships with Sachin, Laxman and Gangs were legendary and i think he was responsible for most of the Indian wins abroad during his time. Ever since Dada left there were lot of talks regarding the retirement of the great three and now only two are left. A very sad day indeed. I wish good luck to this Legend for all his future endeavors.

  • sportofpain on March 9, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    Well played Rahul! You played Cricket the way I dreamt of playing. I only managed to play under 19 cricket for Tamil Nadu and am 6 years older than you so was brought up in a time when playing in the V was what coaches told us to do and as an opener if I lofted the ball I would get chastised. I tried hard but could never master the cover drive which you made your own. I had heard of you back then as a talented youngster from Karnataka - how you have blossomed into one of the all time greats. Ramnath Kenny who once coached me said that three things were important in Cricket " Dress, Discipline and Display" - you embodied them all. I have fond memories of you and the other batting greats - was there ever a line up better than Viru, you, Sachin, Saurav and VVS in the history of Cricket? Enjoy the sunset, may it always be golden. Much respect!

  • vmurali62 on March 9, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    Rahul, I used to mist up thinking of the day Anil, Rahul, Sachin, and Laxman would hang-up their boots. There was always a sense of poignancy when I watched each of their recent outings - one less left to watch. As these gentlemen exit stage left, they take with them a little bit of me - a just price to pay for the immense pleasure they have brought to my life. Of all of these gentlemen, I will miss Rahul the most - my role model. Of his many wonderful attributes, the one that impressed me the most was his desire to learn. Rahul-bhai, I wish you a wonderful retirement and a fantastic time with your young family. With Love, Murali

  • Narbavi on March 9, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    Wonderful masterpiece from Harsha on India's greatest no.3!!

  • baskar_guha on March 9, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Lucky to have seen his match-winning knocks against the West Indians in Jamaica in 2006. Lara later said "If I need someone to bat for my life, it will be Dravid." No better compliment needed.

  • udayanavada on March 9, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    My eyes became moist because I grew watching Rahul play cricket from the days of Ranji tropy for my state. Wish him all the best.It is very hard to replace him and Indian cricket will not be the same from here onwards.

  • FoollyFedUp on March 9, 2012, 8:38 GMT

    Great tribute to one of the finest cricketers ever. I am also so glad that he continues to epitomise the finest from Karnataka - carrying on in the great tradition of GR Vishwanath, BS Chandrasekar or Anil Kumble. Outstanding men of integrity.

  • Sivaaditya on March 9, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    Harsha, that would be one piece of article that excelled in everything be it sentiment, emotion, pride and quite demenour. no grandeur yet it overflows. SOmetihng that can be associated with rahuls batting. Never understood why he was called the 'boring cricketer'. to me he was the mpost enjoyable batsman.

    What do you know, the gentleman leaves the game and i fear, so does the genlteness from it.

  • RISHI2016 on March 9, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    with you retiring.... Will cricket remain same? Will cricket writers get stories about classical cricketers anymore ? Will steel, wall and resolve be no longer used as a metaphor ?

  • deepak_sholapurkar on March 9, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    I don't know about others, but I watched Test Cricket mainly to watch Rahul Bat. Amazing person, truly a all time Great.

  • TobyG on March 9, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    As with his text-book batting, so with the timing of his announcement - "Well left". Thanks Harsha for putting in words the memories that millions have when they think "Dravid".

  • rahulcricket007 on March 9, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    DRAVID IS ONE OF THE FINEST BATTING ARTISTS IN WORLD . I WILL NEVER FORGET HIS HANDSOME COVER DRIVES & STRAIGHT DRIVES .ALWAYS STOOD FOR TEAM , OPENED BATTING , KEPT WKTS , WON SERIES IN ENGLAND & ACHIEVE FIRST VICTORY FOR INDIA IN SA SOIL . HE DESERVES A KNIGHTHOOD .

  • Viky_Robin on March 9, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    Good one,but still i feel that he should retire after playing atleast one series and retire HIGH

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  • Viky_Robin on March 9, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    Good one,but still i feel that he should retire after playing atleast one series and retire HIGH

  • rahulcricket007 on March 9, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    DRAVID IS ONE OF THE FINEST BATTING ARTISTS IN WORLD . I WILL NEVER FORGET HIS HANDSOME COVER DRIVES & STRAIGHT DRIVES .ALWAYS STOOD FOR TEAM , OPENED BATTING , KEPT WKTS , WON SERIES IN ENGLAND & ACHIEVE FIRST VICTORY FOR INDIA IN SA SOIL . HE DESERVES A KNIGHTHOOD .

  • TobyG on March 9, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    As with his text-book batting, so with the timing of his announcement - "Well left". Thanks Harsha for putting in words the memories that millions have when they think "Dravid".

  • deepak_sholapurkar on March 9, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    I don't know about others, but I watched Test Cricket mainly to watch Rahul Bat. Amazing person, truly a all time Great.

  • RISHI2016 on March 9, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    with you retiring.... Will cricket remain same? Will cricket writers get stories about classical cricketers anymore ? Will steel, wall and resolve be no longer used as a metaphor ?

  • Sivaaditya on March 9, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    Harsha, that would be one piece of article that excelled in everything be it sentiment, emotion, pride and quite demenour. no grandeur yet it overflows. SOmetihng that can be associated with rahuls batting. Never understood why he was called the 'boring cricketer'. to me he was the mpost enjoyable batsman.

    What do you know, the gentleman leaves the game and i fear, so does the genlteness from it.

  • FoollyFedUp on March 9, 2012, 8:38 GMT

    Great tribute to one of the finest cricketers ever. I am also so glad that he continues to epitomise the finest from Karnataka - carrying on in the great tradition of GR Vishwanath, BS Chandrasekar or Anil Kumble. Outstanding men of integrity.

  • udayanavada on March 9, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    My eyes became moist because I grew watching Rahul play cricket from the days of Ranji tropy for my state. Wish him all the best.It is very hard to replace him and Indian cricket will not be the same from here onwards.

  • baskar_guha on March 9, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Lucky to have seen his match-winning knocks against the West Indians in Jamaica in 2006. Lara later said "If I need someone to bat for my life, it will be Dravid." No better compliment needed.

  • Narbavi on March 9, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    Wonderful masterpiece from Harsha on India's greatest no.3!!