Ed Smith
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Former England, Kent and Middlesex batsman; writer for the New Statesman

A gentleman champion of timeless steel and dignity

A whole strand of the game - a rich vein that runs through cricket's poetic heart - departs the scene with one of the all-time great No. 3s

Ed Smith

March 13, 2012

Comments: 144 | Text size: A | A

Rahul Dravid bats, Kent Spitfires v Yorkshire Phoenix, Norwich Union Division One, St. Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, Kent
Dravid turns out for the Kent Spitfires in 2000 © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Rahul Dravid
Teams: India | Kent

When Rahul Dravid walked into the dressing room of the St Lawrence ground in Canterbury on a cold spring morning, you could tell he was different from all the others. He did not swagger with cockiness or bristle with macho competitiveness. He went quietly round the room, shaking the hand of every Kent player - greeting everyone the same, from the captain to the most junior. It was not the mannered behaviour of a seasoned overseas professional; it was the natural courtesy of a real gentleman. We met a special human being first, an international cricketer second.

The cricketer was pretty good, too. Dravid joined Kent for the 2000 season, and I spent much of it at number four, coming in one after Dravid (not that he was the departing batsman very often). That meant I had some wonderful opportunities to bat alongside the player who became the highest scoring No. 3 of all time.

What did I learn? I learnt that real toughness takes many different forms. Dravid could appear shy and slightly vulnerable off the pitch; in the middle, you sensed a depth of resilience. Many overseas players liked to set themselves apart from the county pros - as though they had to swear more loudly and clap their hands more violently to prove that international cricketers were tougher than the rest. Not Dravid. He never paraded his toughness - it emerged between the lines of his performances. Instead, he always talked about learning, about gathering new experiences - as though his cricketing education wasn't complete, as though there were many more strands of his craft to hone. His journey, you could tell, was driven by self-improvement.

One word has attached itself to Dravid wherever he has gone: gentleman. The word is often misunderstood. Gentlemanliness is not mere surface charm - the easy lightness of confident sociability. Far from it: the real gentleman doesn't run around flattering everyone in sight, he makes sure he fulfils his duties and obligations without drawing attention to himself or making a fuss. Gentlemanliness is as much about restraint as it is about appearances. Above all, a gentleman is not only courteous, he is also constant: always the same, whatever the circumstances or the company.

In that sense, Dravid is a true gentleman. Where many sportsmen flatter to deceive, Dravid runs deep. He is a man of substance, morally serious and intellectually curious. For all his understatement, he couldn't fail to convey those qualities to anyone who watched him properly.

 
 
He was restrained in celebration, just as he was restrained in disappointment - exactly as the true gentleman should be. And yet his emotional self-control co-existed with fierce competitiveness and national pride
 

I last bumped into Dravid late last year at a charity dinner at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He was the same as he always has been - warm, self-deprecating, curious about the lives of others. As ever, he made a point of asking about my parents - their health and happiness - although he has never met them. Family and friendship, you sense, are central to his life and his values.

In the q&a that followed his speech, one answer got close to the core of his personality. What motivated him still, after all these years and so many runs? Dravid said that as a schoolboy, he remembered many kids who had at least as much desire to play professional cricket as he did - they attended every camp and net session, no matter what the cost or the difficulty of getting there. But you could tell - from just one ball bowled or one shot played - that they simply didn't have the talent to make it. He knew he was different. "I was given a talent to play cricket," Dravid explained. "I don't know why I was given it. But I was. I owe it to all those who wish it had been them to give of my best, every day."

What a brilliant inversion of the usual myth told by professional sportsmen: that they had unexceptional talent and made it to the top only because they worked harder. Dravid spoke the truth. Yes, he worked hard. But the hard work was driven by the desire to give full expression to a God-given talent.

On the field, what set Dravid apart was a rare combination of technical excellence, mental toughness and emotional restraint. He was restrained in celebration, just as he was restrained in disappointment - exactly as the true gentleman should be. And yet his emotional self-control co-existed with fierce competitiveness and national pride.

Dravid has single-handedly disproved the absurd argument that tantrums and yobbishness are a sign of "how much you care" or, worse still, "how much you want it". Dravid was rarely outdone in terms of hunger or passion. And he was never outdone in terms of behaviour or dignity. Those twin aspects of his personality - the dignified human being and the passionate competitor - ran alongside each other, the one never allowed to interfere with the other. He knew where the boundaries were, in life and in cricket.

I am an optimist by nature. I do not think that sport is perpetually declining from some mythical golden age. But sometimes I cannot avoid the sense that a certain type of sportsman is an increasingly endangered species. I have that feeling now, as Dravid declares his innings closed. No longer will he take guard with that familiar hint of politeness, even deference. No longer will he raise his bat to the crowd as if he is genuinely thanking them for their applause - the bat tilted outwards in acknowledgement of the supporters, not just waved frantically in an orgy of personal celebration. No longer will he stand at first slip, concise and precise in his movements - a cricketer first, an athlete second. No longer will the high Dravid back-swing and meticulous footwork link this generation with the great technicians of the past.

It would be nice to argue that no cricketer is irreplaceable, that sport is defined by continuity rather than full stops, that there will soon be another Dravid, another champion cricketer of timeless steel and dignity. But I don't think there will be. I think Dravid will be remembered as the last in a great tradition of batsmen whose instincts and temperament were perfectly suited to Test match cricket. It is not an exaggeration to say that a whole strand of the game - a rich vein that runs through the game's poetic heart - departs the scene with India's greatest ever No. 3. Playing Twenty20 cricket won't teach anyone to become the next Rahul Dravid.

In years to come, perhaps too late, we may realise what we have lost: the civility, craft and dignity that Dravid brought to every cricket match in which he played.

Former England, Kent and Middlesex batsman Ed Smith's new book, Luck - What It Means and Why It Matters, is published in March 2012. His Twitter feed is here

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Posted by Vnket on (March 16, 2012, 23:54 GMT)

This is very well written and it certainly requires a gentleman to recognize another one. Rahul was a old school warrior for India. He deserves his rest. Thank you Rahul

Posted by Quick_Single on (March 16, 2012, 22:00 GMT)

Ed, a fitting tribute. Eloquent and apt. High quality writing. Thank you.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2012, 3:27 GMT)

Thank You Mr Smith. You are a true gentleman yourself that is why you could write this article on Mr Dravid. I played cricket in my school days & in my college days in India and I played this game because of my Hero Rahul Dravid.I have never met him but I have always learnt to be nice as Human from him. There may be other greats in the game but rarely I know a cricketer of his quality in & off the field. Thank you so much for the way you played your game of Cricket.

Posted by Kurupvj on (March 16, 2012, 3:05 GMT)

Dear Smith, Thank you for this wonderful article, words that came right from ur heart. I read this about 5 times, and would not mind reading it again. A rich tribute to a man who deserves it. A true legend and above all a true gentleman. I have never been a cricket fanatic but always admired Rahul Dravid as a cricketer and as a person. He took the game to a different level with his techniques and approach to the game. It hurts when I realise that we cannot see him batting for India again. For everyone Sachin may be the ultimate cricketer but to me Dravid is/was n always will be miles n miles ahead of him.I respect you and will miss you Dravid.

Posted by Biophysicist on (March 15, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

Dear Mr. Smith: I did not know about you before reading this article (my fault, not yours). Reading it not only reinforced my respect for Dravid as the most significant cricketer of India overall, but also developed a respect for you and your writing. Your description of the qualities that constitute a gentleman, make a wonderfully worded definition of the word. Thank you very much.

Posted by   on (March 15, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

I looked through all the comments to find one negative word about Dravid, and failed. There is nothing more that can be said about Dravid which has not been said by Ed! All that we hapless fans can say is that Dravid brought us moments of pure joy on many occasions. The defining Dravid moment for me is the one where he removed his cap and kissed the India crest, while he was running the winning run in Adelaide in 2004. A man who loved playing for his country most. A man who represented class, guts and glory in an era dominated by sheer crass!

Here's why I owe Dravid. In 2001, I went to see my father one June evening as he and he was watching an ODI between India & Zimbabwe on TV. Dravid hit a century and India won. My Dad was very happy. Unfortunately, boss called me and I had to rush to office without even saying a proper Bye to my father. Early next morning he passed away. Dravid made my Dad's last day in this life a great one and he died happy. What more can I say!!

Posted by   on (March 15, 2012, 0:54 GMT)

A very nice artilcle on RAHUL DRAVID. Perhaps it is the best article about DRAVID I have read so far. It is very close to the reality. The writer describes Dravid as he really is.A gentleman. having a fire in his eyes and in his heart to make Opposition teams crawling for WIN. He is really a masterpiece.And I believe that an era of Technical Batting in world Cricket has been over with him.He is the finest example of DECENCY and NOBILITY in CRICKET WORLD. He has really defined the gentleman ship off field in a different way.On field he was always as flamboyant as any other of his counterparts were.Merely hitting Sixers and boundaries is not a flamboyancy. I believe that the tough resilience for his wicket is a real flamboyancy and in this art DRVID was the BEST jewel of the lot.I wish him all the best for his family and his next assignments.

Posted by Aniruddha31 on (March 14, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

He was my role model throughout my school days. Truly a sporting great

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 20:20 GMT)

a wonderful piece of writing.CONGRATS! i could watch him bat all day long. there was always a sense of stability, class and craftsmanship when he would be in the middle. i absolutely adore this guy and he will always be in my top 5 cricketers list. many thanks Mr Dravid for all those memorable innings and the way you showed the world that you dont have to be a bully or over aggressive to tame the opposition. a RIGHT ROLE MODEL......... BEST WISHES!!!

Posted by Manuu on (March 14, 2012, 19:40 GMT)

I remember somewhere around 1999 I was at Uni in Aus and I saw Dravid and Agarkar around The Rocks in Sydney and I called out to Dravid. He shook my hand like a gentleman. I dont know the man but here's my salute to the cricketer who provided us with some of the best test cricket you will ever see in a generation or two.

Posted by Lord_Dravid on (March 14, 2012, 19:36 GMT)

I grew up watching dravid play he has always been my idol..i have posters of him in my room and countless artifacts about him which il always keep even though that he has gone from the playing field. whenever he played in a match i always felt reassured because of his sheer class in all forms. As an indian his success through determination, excellence and grace is a tribute to our common ethos, and for that id like to thank him profoundly from the core of my heart.

Posted by Vilander on (March 14, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

Well done, Dravid is legend.

Posted by Alexk400 on (March 14, 2012, 18:51 GMT)

Dravid is mr.tenacity. That is what i remember. Never give up easily every time. You have to earn his wicket every time. He got slowed down late in swinging conditions. And ultimate team man. everyone say bad thing about sachin , sehwag , ganguly and vvs. I rarely see anyone say bad thing about dravid. infact none. for me dravid is best Test player for india better than sachin (stat obsessed selfish) or gavaskar(selfish).

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 18:28 GMT)

Sometimes simplicity can be dashing, smart, upright, clean and sure..... Thats Rahul Dravid.... We will miss u... Ur presence on field assured peace.... A great ambassador .... I wish u should be the future coach

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (March 14, 2012, 17:35 GMT)

Dear Ed, thank you. Thank you a million :(

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (March 14, 2012, 17:33 GMT)

Ed, I read your piece a couple of days back. I was avoiding myself from Cricinfo ever since The Man retired. But couldn't help but come back and read your piece one more time. Tears! The man left us out in the cold with never ending tears for our company. Your magnificent soul-touching piece is making me sick in my stomach. Choked. Will I continue to watch test cricket? Yes, only for so long as Kallis and VVS carry on. Dravid's on-field persona and your soul-touching tribute to The Man will haunt me for the rest of my life and millions like me. May King Kallis and the elegant assassin VVS continue forever and fill the void left behind by Dravid. But how can they continue forever?! This sadness is just too overwhelming.

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

In years to come, we will realise how extremely lucky we are to have lived in the same generation as Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid and VVS. All of us would have cursed them at one point or the other, but the kind of cricket they have dished out for us is to be savoured and remembered like a fine film. The memory stays long after the show is over and flashes of their performance brings a warm glow to our hearts, and a smile to our lips long after stumps have been drawn. Their exploits on the cricketing field has been an inspiration for younger youngsters, and I dare say to some seniors as well. Each one of these cricketers have expressed a part of us and make us feel like school boys again.

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

once a legend always a a legend..dravid will always be remembered as "THE GREAT WALL OF INDIA"

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 16:35 GMT)

You just dont stop reading about the greatest no. 3 !! Of all the post this one surely is the best, in fact better than his wife :) I hope he reads all of them in his free time, as we know he is an avid reader!

Posted by cnksnk on (March 14, 2012, 15:44 GMT)

Ed. Thanks for the great article on a great cricketer. Thanks Rahul for all the great times that you have given us. Having read all the wonderful sentiments on this article, I still feel we are missing some thing. Are we as fans responsible for the "death" of the gentleman on the cricket field. Some one like Kholi, who is by all means talented, believes that mouthing profanities is the way to go. That is seen as aggression and wearing attitude on ones sleaves. Look at the multiple million doller endorsements that he has signed on - all of which are supposed to show the aggression and attitude among the youth. Other than a hand full of ads , one of them for a reputed bank ( which matches with te secruity that Dravid brought to the cricket field) , how many ads or endorsements did Dravid sign on... I think as the cricket loving public we are all responsible on the changing morales on the cricket field .. Time to ponder...

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 15:06 GMT)

A very good and fitting tribute to Rahul Dravid. You are right Ed, the T20 format might not let us see another Rahul Dravid or atleast for a while. Thank you Dravid.

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 13:24 GMT)

Great tribute to a great cricketer. Well done Ed

Posted by Admo on (March 14, 2012, 13:00 GMT)

Excellent piece. Firstly, Ed has correctly stated that Dravid was gifted and had huge cricketing talented. It is not like he has spent all his waking life in the nets and then became this colossal cricketer. He (along with Mark Waugh) are the most elegant cricketers that I have seen. He did not become elegant because he worked hard! Secondly, you cant be a Rahul Dravid by playing T20. Cheers

Posted by Noball_Specialist on (March 14, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

A great tribute.....[25 char limit]

Posted by KarachiKid on (March 14, 2012, 12:22 GMT)

Good aritcle. Dravid has been India's BEST Batsmen EVER. An all time great in my books. Above Tendulkar, Gavaskar and Sehwag.

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

Hats off...Rahul Dravid....One of the greatest role model....

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

Really nice article and it is clearly indicating how much he influencing his team mates. I feel the article is not an ordinary tribute the way Ed Smith drafted the article indicates how much Dravid achieved. It is true that no one will replace Dravid and all we knows the traditional batting with solid technique is disappearing by current T20 way of batting. Any way he will always remember for his batting skills and the way he behaved with others both on and off the field. Once the Kent coach mentioned in his article how Dravid attend his coaching sessions. He always different the other overseas and he is the one always asking more questions related to batting. It is clearly shows how far he interested in continual improvement process. According to me he is the definition for Cricket Total Quality Management. Atleast cricinfo publish one tribute to this true gentleman on a daily basis for another 1 year. I will always post my comment on that.

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

the man is unearthly more than his stats reveal,,,,,,,,,,, and his stats are mere reflection of what is he made up of... legends are many round him.. he is above than all those..\m/

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

Even as a Paki, I regard Rahul Dravid as a very professional sportsman. Our political rivalry aside, but as a Cricket fan one cannot deny Dravid's achievements. I have never seen him loose his cool, loose temper, or misbehaving on-field, something that unfortunately has become a part of this game. I remember once before a Pak-Ind clash, Wasim Akram who was captain at that time said, "Its not Tendulkar we are worried about, our mail focus in on Dravid". This just proves how good of a batsman he was, not to forget a remarkable fielder as well.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (March 14, 2012, 8:48 GMT)

A fitting and well-crafted tribute to a true gentleman of the game, Ed. Thank you for it. As I get older(and wiser perhaps) I look more and more for the qualities shown by cricketers that are beyond their statistical significance. Rahul Dravid was one such. The fact that he scored centuries against a rampant England attack last summer when all about him were floundering, found wanting in both temperament & technique, bears testimony to the true test of a team player in any sport. To play very well - above oneself, indeed - in defeat, is always a hallmark of the true competitor. Add that to Dravid's dignity when dismissed by the sound of a ball flicking a shoelace, for heaven's sake - and you have a man of the highest calbre in all respects. Is he the last of a long line of true gentlemen on and off the field? No, he isn't - other will show their own integrity & dignity in their own ways. And who others were in RD's class here? I give you Worrell, Trumper, Hobbs, Pataudi (jnr) to start.

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 7:58 GMT)

wow your article left me speechless and in tears it was awesome one of the best ever described Rahul Dravid in his pomp and glory

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 7:12 GMT)

With Dravid's retirement, cricket has lost a noticeable part of its gentlemanly sheen. He graced the greens with his characteristic elan, temperament, greatness.

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 4:09 GMT)

what a great poetic, sincere expressions!. I agree with Mr Smith totally. Man makes the difference. the game is for us. each individual plays with one's own unique ness. This is what makes the sense. Mr Dravid is one and onlyperson who enjoyed the marginalisation of his fame but with grit and fortitude single handedly played cricket to win and understand the crowd requirement and the team. I salute him

Posted by harshthakor on (March 14, 2012, 3:59 GMT)

No batsman of the modern era posessed as good grammar or as much mental teneacity.I have never seen a cricketer with as sound a temperament .From 2002-2006 arguably the best batsman in the world.In a crisis the best batsman I have seen,overshadowing stalwarts in a crisis like Mianadad ,Border or Kallis.Amongst the top dozen batsman of all time.

Posted by Archisman on (March 14, 2012, 3:23 GMT)

There are more than enough sentences in this article that can be pasted on my office-softboard as motivational lines. A wonderfully articulated tribute. One does not come across a tribute of such high calibre in a hurry. As an Indian, the chest has swollen with pride. Grateful thanks, Ed.

Posted by Farce-Follower on (March 14, 2012, 2:42 GMT)

Wonderful article, Ed, about a wonderful personality. RD is a true global icon. Respected everywhere, adored at home.

Posted by   on (March 14, 2012, 1:24 GMT)

Ed Smith! What an article! I am not surprised by so many great articles on Rahul Dravid everyday..! He is a kind of person who can inspire such thoughts.

Posted by only_sehwag on (March 14, 2012, 0:51 GMT)

Cricinfo can publish one new article about RD each day for the rest of the year, but it still won't be enough - no amount of words can be enough to describe the loss the true cricket fan has suffered.

Posted by ARad on (March 14, 2012, 0:49 GMT)

Dravid does leave a great void. I hope well-written articles like this would inspire more youngsters in the world to be gentlemen (as well as good cricketers).

Posted by dcglynn on (March 13, 2012, 23:24 GMT)

What a great article about a great batsman. Particularly like and agree with this line:- "Playing Twenty20 cricket won't teach anyone to become the next Rahul Dravid". How sad that if test cricket dies, future generations will think that T20 is all this great game has to offer.

Posted by tappee74 on (March 13, 2012, 23:09 GMT)

I must admit that i am not a great reader,but whenever i come across writing of this caliber i am overwhelmed.Mr Ed, i am unaware of your profession and intellectual induction,what i do know is ,you are a great writer with a poetic taste.You remind me of Thomas Grey.I have love this article.I am from Guyana,where as you may have known,cricket is a deep culture.I have looked at too many matches,some live,and most on the telivision.Whenever it comes to Dravid, there is that feeling that this is a gentleman,this is class.You have described beautifully what it means to be a gentleman.You have described it all about a living jewel.I am not sure if you have met Shivnarine Chanderpaul,he is also classey.If he is around and you don't know him, you will think that someone else is the star.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

Dravid the Batsmen, the Sportsperson, and the Person, is very difficult to capture in words. Legend is the term which is used most loosely in India, hence it has lost its meaning. Dravid in truest sense was the legend of Cricket. Among the eulogies written by Peers and experts of cricket, the best was delivered by Master of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar. He said, "there was and there is only one Rahul Dravid", very apt. Such persons are once in" lifetime type" He is more that his statistics which too is mind boggling though, around 25,000 runs in International Cricket (13,288 runs in Tests, 10,889 runs in ODI), more than 400 catches (210 in Tests and 196 in ODIs). His hard work in the middle can be gauged from the fact that in 286 Test innings, Dravid played 31,258 balls. Given that no other batsman has faced more than 29,000 deliveries, it puts into perspective the amount of hard work and sheer effort that went into scoring those 13,288 runs.

Posted by AjaySridharan on (March 13, 2012, 21:13 GMT)

Very good article. I guess Dravid gives you a lot of writing material to work with. Definitely the game saw one of the best guys to ever play it. I'm so happy to have been a part of his generation and growing up with him. For the many frustrations that he gave in ODIs when he got bogged down, he gave me many a peaceful night's sleep when the Tests were around. Even in his defensive play, he somehow seemed to take the intensity levels up and made it gripping to watch. The man off the field seems to have been as charming and likable as he was on the field. I look forward to hearing him on the commentary box very soon. Hope he stops playing the IPL after this episode. Indian fans deserve to see him one last time on their grounds.

Posted by IndianInnerEdge on (March 13, 2012, 20:39 GMT)

"Playing Twenty20 cricket won't teach anyone to become the next Rahul Dravid. In years to come, perhaps too late, we may realise what we have lost: the civility, craft and dignity that Dravid brought to every cricket match in which he played." - Wow...how true!

Posted by IndianInnerEdge on (March 13, 2012, 20:36 GMT)

Great post By Ed, captured the essence & spirit of the man, the cricketer and the way he went about his business. You and the other Ed on Cricnif, Cowan are absolute gems, true kinghts of the cricwebsphere, love your writing, your research and the emotions that go into your articles. Kudos to you, here's hoping for many such in the future!

Posted by SagirParkar on (March 13, 2012, 20:10 GMT)

thank you very much for this Ed.. we read a lot about Dravid the batsman and the professional.. articles like yours and Mrs Dravid's give us a rare insight into Dravid the man, the person that he is...

Posted by enthusiastic on (March 13, 2012, 19:33 GMT)

Dravid is an absolute gent! Technically more perfect than anyone who has played with him, great to watch. Sheer Class and a team player above all. Always played and did what the team expected of him and did not go for glory. He was willing to grind and sacrifice for the cause of his team. What a player but a even better human being!

Posted by Lord_Dravid on (March 13, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

thank you Ed Smith for this wonderful tribute on your part to my favourite cricketer ..i thank him profoundly from the core of my heart for entertaining us all these years and his legacy will remain forever..

Posted by praveenkp78 on (March 13, 2012, 18:37 GMT)

At last I found an article on Dravid and Dravid alone..Absolutely no mention of Sehwag, Tendulkar, Ponting, Laxman, Kallis...Its not that I hate them but when you write about a person his deeds and qualities be highlighted which this article has done 100% and comparisons should take a backseat. The author has described the true Rahul Dravid here. I loved it. Then again many comments are full of comparisons..common guys..stop comparing and accept the person as he is!!

Posted by pitch_it_up on (March 13, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

I'll never get tired reading articles eulogizing RD.....a true gentleman first, and a great sportsman later. Miss you RD

Thanks Ed.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 18:25 GMT)

Thank you Ed for such a fitting attribute to such a legend. I am truely blessed to be part of Davidian Era.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

yes..rahul dravid was a different kind of batsmanl to consider. i always have followed not only his batting style but also his life-style.his these styles may teach you may things in your every little part of life.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 17:57 GMT)

Scoring runs for one's sake doesn't mean as a true champion.. Standing till the end when ever in trouble makes the sense.... He did it.... that made him different from the rest of the world...

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

apart from a English trying to teach the english of 'a gentleMan', its a quite a tribute to dravid

Posted by praghunathan on (March 13, 2012, 17:37 GMT)

Nice article, and I agree with almost everything, except that we have lost Dravid. Even if there is no other Dravid, he will live on forever. That is, and will remain, Dravid's legacy.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

Ed Smith's assessment on Dravid is indeed gratifying and I salute Ed for his perfect description of Dravid.

Yes Dravid is a ture gentleman and was a silent achiever, brilliant personality

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 17:30 GMT)

Excellent article Ed. That meant a lot!! :) @Makkumatr, why do you this he is a bit overrated?? He is special. Someone who has made history in Cricket!

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

Dravid greatness as the best No.3 batsmen of his era will last for ever!!

I liked what Ed had to say in the last "Playing Twenty20 cricket won't teach anyone to become the next Rahul Dravid."

Posted by swam1231 on (March 13, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

Thanks for this. Wonderful.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

I always considered Dravid a better batsman than Tendulkar. Dravid performed under challenging conditions and Tendulkar seldom did that. Dravid is the kind of Cricketer mind, soul, ethics, style, substance for the youngsters to emulate. I always advised my sons to watch how Dravid plays. Dravid has left some memorable moments in Cricket.

Posted by om85 on (March 13, 2012, 16:17 GMT)

wonderfully written. Probably one of the best article in recent times. thank you Ed !!

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

for me Rahul Dravid is way better than Sachin. Sachin has proved to be more of a record making player rather than a match winning one.

Posted by rusheel10 on (March 13, 2012, 16:08 GMT)

I Believe Rahul Dravid deserves the tag of "Mr.Cricket".He is a batsman of pure class and calibre.Even did wicketkeeping during the Ganguly period,has bowled and even got wickets and is one of the best slip fielders.Truly brilliant personality

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

As quoted above that its God given talent to be cricketer like Dravid, it is also a God given talent to be a perfect gentleman like Dravid. Amazingly well written article. A perfect human being, successful yet humble. My heart knows how sad it felt when i learnt about Dravid's retirement. I'll miss his cricket,I'll miss his show of "God given talent", I'll miss this Gentleman-The Wall Of Indian Cricket.

Posted by Pothireddy on (March 13, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

Very good article. I happen to meet Dravid in England, his worst day of the series when he dropped those sitters, after the day's match in Edgbaston. When everyone refused d to acknowledge the fans, he walked across the security corridor and signed autographs to every fan standing in line. Any other cricketer would have just walked by without a word or a glace, but Dravid as he is known as Mr. Gentleman lived up to his name. If he could be so nice on his worst day, imagine what he would be on his best day? I would say he would be same person and that is his greatness as a human.

Posted by Makkumatr on (March 13, 2012, 15:59 GMT)

Dravid is a good player, no doubt, but I do think he is a bit overrated.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 15:30 GMT)

nice article abt a nice cricketer

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 15:21 GMT)

A fitting tribute to a man of humility. Excellent article Ed. Enjoyed every bit of it.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 15:05 GMT)

Great article, respect for the champion cricketer .

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (March 13, 2012, 15:00 GMT)

As pointed out in this article, when Dravid acknowledges the crowd, he is ACTUALLY thanking the crowd..not just completing a formality. Same thing when he makes statements about playing for the team. When he makes such statements, he REALLY means it...he is not saying it just becos it's a cool thing to say. A complete team man, a true gentleman, a great batsman and an outstanding slip fielder! Test cricket will miss Rahul Dravid.

Posted by markroberts on (March 13, 2012, 14:40 GMT)

Excellent article about one of the true gentlemen of cricket - he will be sorely missed. He was an outstanding example of how the game should be played, but last of the line, I think not. What about Daniel Vettori, Alistair Cook, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shakib al-Hassan, Mahela Jayawardene, Darren Sammy, Tatenta Taibu and no doubt many more. I am sure the gentlemen of the game are still there. Endangered but by no means dead yet!

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

Yes A true gentlemen of cricket who retires also on his styles...

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

Salute to the Gentleman of Cricket!!!!

Posted by podichetty on (March 13, 2012, 13:28 GMT)

very well written Ed...You reminded everyone of peter roebuck !

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

But Dravid now has a bigger role in Indian cricket. The cricket administration at every level, national and international is a quagmire of corruption and incompetence. It needs someone of Dravid's caliber. I really hope he goes into cricket administration next..

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (March 13, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

A moving and ftting tribute to one of the true greats of the game eloquently written. A fascinating article that gives further insight to India's best batsman. In particular Ed Smith's belief that an entire glorious strand has left the game echoes Jacques Kallis' feeling that the game will be poorer, both sentiments that I share. It has been some days since RD announced his retirement but today I have been able to measure the impact of his retirement. I have absolutely no interest in India's participation in the Asia Cup and moreover I am looking forward to second test between SA and NZ after a potentially exciting finish prematurely ended after what had been an engrossing contest up to that point.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

An excellent piece. And a fitting tribute. Dravid certainly shone out as the true gentleman that the author describes. But perhaps he does have a successor. Somebody with the technique attuned to test cricket. With a modest, yet determined character? Sounds a bit like Alistair Cooke to me.

Posted by CricUniverse on (March 13, 2012, 13:01 GMT)

A dignified tribute to a dignified cricketer. The Crown of Test cricket just lost its most precious diamond. Test cricket will not be same without Rahul Dravid. It is no surprise to see articles of highest class being written on Dravid. The tributes by fans all over the world has been equally of highest class. Who says nice guys finish last. Going by the comments from sub-continent fans, it is worth noting how much respect Dravid has generated especially in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. I wonder whether any other cricketer from India has won so many hearts of Pakistani fans. Just shows the impact of Dravid not only on the game, on the players but on the fans all over the world.

Posted by ironmonkey on (March 13, 2012, 13:00 GMT)

Excellent article. Very thoughtful. Thank you.

Posted by gt09 on (March 13, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

Excellently written piece and a great read! :) A true sportsman and ambassador of this great game who treated it with so much grace, dignity and respect - something that all cricketers and fans should look to remember, emulate and maintain at any level! Optimized in his actions, attitudes and decency both on and off the field 'the gentlemen's game' - a true champion! :)

Posted by Silverbails on (March 13, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

Brilliant piece of writing, Ed. Yep, couldn't agree with you more about Rahul's behaviour, both on and off the pitch. A true gentleman, in the purest sense of the word as Ed's described him, in all that he does. The Aussies, in particular, could learn a tremendous amount about how to behave on the pitch - rather than all this boorish and bad - tempered sledging that all too often pervades their games - from watching this gentleman paly the game as hs does. Deeds are far more important than words to Rahul...he lets his bat do all his talking on the pitch. Here's to - in Ed's word's: the " last in a great tradition of batsmen whose instincts and temperament were perfectly suited to Test match cricket" and the departure of "a whole strand of the game - a rich vein that runs through the game's poetic heart". Long may the memories of Rahul's innings - most of which were perfectly crafted - live on in the mind of the cricketing public. Good luck for the future, Rahul...

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

Beautifully written!Dravid the true gentlemen!

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

Perfect Piece of writing.... About Dravid.... You don't have to explain at all....

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 12:45 GMT)

Well done, Ed! A wonderful and insightful tribute to a fantastic cricketer and a true gentleman. I'm sure that your sentiments are shared by cricket fans around the world. Rahul Dravid has raised the bar on professionalism and humility in international sport. Thanks Rahul, it has been a privilege to watch you play.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 12:29 GMT)

A brilliant piece of writing for a brilliant Cricketer... sorry one of the all-time best cricketer..... :-))

Posted by ht.shajib on (March 13, 2012, 12:29 GMT)

Great cricketers have great number of cricket fans when Rahul Dravid mostly have admirers. Thanks Ed.

Posted by udaymankena on (March 13, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

very good article ! there can never be another dravid again :(

Posted by gpindian on (March 13, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

What an article! Amazing! Here's a writer who looks to be real good to become a good author.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 12:08 GMT)

Very well written....a tribute to Gentlemen by a Gentlemen...touching...

Posted by NP_NY on (March 13, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

What a nice article about an extra-ordinary sportsman! It will be a shame if Dravid doesn't get into cricket administration, although he is too nice to be involved in the cheap politics which is starting to cloud ICC and all the cricket boards at the moment. What a role model Dravid has been. The modern day cricketers and the opposition-bashing fans (including yours truly) will do well to learn from him. But then if everyone was as perfect as him, life will get boring :).

Posted by here2rock on (March 13, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

Oh my god you writing has blown me, choice of words really true magic. I can hardly wait for your book to come out, I will be the first one to buy it!

Posted by Umar_PK on (March 13, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

My 1st ever comment on cricinfo. Dravid you are simply THE BEST....... We Love you.......

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 10:51 GMT)

Congrats on a very well-written piece, Ed. A polished and gentlemanly tribute to a polished gentleman.

Posted by Bytheway on (March 13, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

It takes a gentleman to know a gentleman.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

One more wonderful article on Dravid. I believe it is the greatness of Dravid, which is inspiring author after author to write beautiful articles about his achievements, personality and most of all, his humility being a true gentleman. Thanks Ed for this excellent article. Best thing I liked about this article was Dravid giving his best to ensure that talent he got is not getting wasted. It shows his value for each thing in life, which we take it tor granted.

Posted by Joninnorwich on (March 13, 2012, 10:13 GMT)

Hear hear that article Ed Smith. Brilliantly written piece about one of the true greats of cricket - ever!

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 10:12 GMT)

Excellent article. very moving! World cricket has become poorer with Dravid's departure.He was a perfect role model for all youngsters desiring to play test cricket!

Posted by kirancricinfo on (March 13, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

Real GEM and GENTLEMAN of Cricket. Selfless, always played for team and not for personal records.

Posted by raja9787 on (March 13, 2012, 9:56 GMT)

Wonderful ! Simply Wonderful !!

Posted by Emancipator007 on (March 13, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

Hindu/Vedic mythology talks about incarnations of gods/godly figures in different eras long after the passing of the last god/avatar and not of mere humans or even talented humans. After Roebuck's death, was wondering who would take over his mantle (or whether it was EVEN possible especially when it came to crafting profile essays about players) and was just wondering the other day what he would have penned about Dravid's retirement (though he has written about RD earlier). Ed (with his recent pieces) taking over as a near worthy successor within months of Roebuck's death is unprecedented. This tribute is just WOW.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

Everything I agree with and a fantastic article but can't agree he was chosen among 7 billion folks around the world by god to be blessed with batsmanship.

Posted by sivadubai on (March 13, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

That a thorough Gentleman Rahui is on the Field, he is praised by every one alike. The day when he was very powerful, he remained calm and collected when Michael Slater roughed him on the middle of the pitch. True to his reputation, Rahul remained unperturbed. That calmness and Gentleness stood tall than any other acheivements he would have had in his life. Now, Slater retired or rather dropped as well, hardly I heard anything of a tribute that came in to Slater. Today, as we see/hear/feel/sense the wishes and tributes pouring in for Rahul, "The Wall of Gentleness", can we atleast see the apologyfrom Slater for the unmanly, barbarian behaviour few years ago.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

Im Crying Ed! Watta tribute to The WALL!

Posted by murthydn16 on (March 13, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

Without Rahul playing any more test cricket, test cricket wont be same. A Rahul at the pitch would give you confidence that the match is still on.

Posted by scorbos15 on (March 13, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

This is Dravid, very well written - Thank you !!

Posted by lgnandan on (March 13, 2012, 8:35 GMT)

Absolutely amazing article. Rightly said about a true sportsman. Nothing more to say beyond these words in this article.

Posted by moBlue on (March 13, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

ed, you perfectly captured what oozed off the screen - for 15 years - when i watched dravid, always in hushed admiration in a test match. the combination of steel and decency. the only 2 times i remember dravid displaying any emotion that seemed out of character for him were: when alan donald sledged him in an ODI after dravid had hit him for a straight six at durban in 1997 and after dravid completed a fine hundred (and made 180!) in *that* famous kolkata test where two determined gutsy once-in-a-lifetime IND batters kept a world champion AUS team wicketless on an entire day and thus beat them mentally! the next time IND are at 0 for1 in a test match, i won't feel as sanguine - perhaps for ages!

Posted by SouthPaw on (March 13, 2012, 7:53 GMT)

Wow! What an accolade, yet something that we all identify Dravid with. Thank you Ed Smith for a wonderful & true post!

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 7:42 GMT)

Dravid is true gentlemen of cricket world, fans all over world loved him, but i am very sad that he declare his retirement in a conference, he must retire on the ground, in presence of fans, his retirement must be celebrate between fans on ground.

Posted by R_Niranjana on (March 13, 2012, 7:42 GMT)

Thanks for the lovely piece of article. Rahul was a total package - as a cricketer and a gentleman. THANKS RAHUL for what you are and the joy you have brought in our life. You are one of the very few sports personalities I admire for being a great human being along with personalities like Prakash Padukone, Gopichand, Vishwanathan Anand, Steffi Graf, Pete Sampras, Ramesh Krishnan and some others who have gone around making this world a better place to live in, in their own way. May your tribe increase and make the sporting world a better one enriching the lives of people and bring more moments of joy in this greedy world. May Rahul and his family continue to lead a fulfilling life.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

Ed you did justice with Rahul which I think most of the people in India didn't. Bravo! In the era of Tendulkar's, Saurabh's, Laxman's, Shewag's, Dhoni's - "Rahul Dravid" was often not given his due however as you correctly said - time will tell the deference.

Posted by ms555 on (March 13, 2012, 7:19 GMT)

Truly the best that India have ever produced and also that India will never ever again produce. Thank u mr. rahul dravid for all those amazing moments that you have shared with all of us... All the best for the future I realli want to see you as the coach of the indian cricket team and show them and teach them how to keep their wickets.. Let's hope then india could produce more WALLS like you.. Thank u.. we all love you

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 7:15 GMT)

one of the wonderful article I have come across.

Posted by ANEWRAG on (March 13, 2012, 7:15 GMT)

simply wonderful article about a wonderful human being !!

Posted by vinayespn on (March 13, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

Wonderful article.. Me being a bangalorean never thought that such a day would come when heroes of my place and generation -- read Kumble and Dravid - wouldn't feature in Indian Test cricket anymore. Dravid's retirement doesn't just make the game poorer but all those fans who were watching him as role model would be disappointed not to see him play for India again..

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 6:47 GMT)

also,he was one of those rare indian batsman,where contrary to most others,Dravid was excellent on foreign pitches too, good (not flamboyant on indian pitches),very good on bouncy tracks,v good on green pitches too (except in the last series he played :( .truly ,india would miss this batsman who can play on green pitches and other foreign pitches.i mean u cant blame the other indian batsman. Coming from a country that has way different pitches compared to australia,england,s.a.,wi , it only enhances his talent and i keep pondering on n on how on earth dravid got that ability from! and to this extent!!

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 6:47 GMT)

Absolutely well crafted article about a wonderful talent. He was a pure class, bowlers used to take the wickets of batsmen around him, even it never looked as difficult to bowl out Tendulkar as it really was to get the prized wicket of ever dependable Mr. Dravid.

Posted by Craggydev on (March 13, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

Very well written... A fitting tribute to the great champion! Thanks Ed.

Posted by burner1985 on (March 13, 2012, 6:40 GMT)

As a Sri Lankan I'm honored to have seen such a great cricketer and yes, true gentlemen. I can still remember his debut, his first century and the way he hammered us in the 1999 WC. I wish that all Indian players could be like Dravid, humble in nature and let his bat do the talking. A rare batsmen that never crumbled under pressure. Going to miss the guy. Wish you all the very best Mr. Rahul Dravid.

Posted by kurups on (March 13, 2012, 6:35 GMT)

I ve never been as emotional as this with any sportsman's retirement..maybe cricket is in my blood..oops, my heart too! Rahul, the classical stylish cricketer and gentleman, deserves rich tributes as this one from Ed...well written. As Vaughan said...".. the most respected cricketer for the last 20 years! Go Dravid..Go!

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 6:22 GMT)

What an emotional tribute to a great Indian stalwart.. well written and organized.. what a cricketer and a gentleman Dravid is.. We will miss him and his class & stylish shots.. Thanks Mr. Ed Smith for this wonderful article.. Expecting more such articles from you.!!

Posted by Longmemory on (March 13, 2012, 6:21 GMT)

Its striking to me how Dravid's retirement has (a) produced some of the best cricketing prose I've read in a long time, and (b) the unanimity around his stellar values and character. This is a superb piece Ed - thanks very much for writing it.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (March 13, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

Some parts of this piece had me in tears. Can we now please stop penning praises on Dravid? Reminding us Dravid fans of Dravid makes our lives even more difficult. Dravid didn't give us fans a well-deserved closure. This is unfair and hard. Really hard to move-on without having a closure. Can he please play just one more test match and wave us good-bye? A proper good-bye?

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 6:17 GMT)

wow ...another great piece on Dravid. Loved the narration. Wonder if we can ever get another dignified person like Dravid to grace cricket again !!!

Posted by kaushaljajoo on (March 13, 2012, 6:07 GMT)

brilliant piece o writin..fantastically composed..it al describes dravid n gives due respect n tribute to champion..thnx for d wondrful blog

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 5:57 GMT)

extremely well written! thank you for sharing your point of view...

Posted by Captain_Crick on (March 13, 2012, 5:57 GMT)

Rahul Dravid - a cricketing genius and a great human being. Legends like him would be remembered for many more decades to come.

Posted by dr.jha on (March 13, 2012, 5:56 GMT)

wonderful...................................

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

The best tribute I have ever read on one of the greatest cricketer of our times. Brilliantly written.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

Great article.. Probably the best player India ever produced. Whole cricket will miss Dravid and his techniques. Technically the best player...We will miss you Dravid..:)

Posted by Gotiji on (March 13, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

Congrats to Ed for such a brilliant and selfless piece about a fellow cricketer. Even Dravid may find it surprising to see how many lives he touched not just with his cricket but with his character too. Profuse praise from fans in Pakistan is testimony to his appeal - shown in dignified conduct at all times while battling like a warrior on the ground. Rahul, they don't make'em like you any more!

Posted by Unifex on (March 13, 2012, 5:37 GMT)

Couldn't agree more, Ed: Dravid was a great champion, a true gentleman and a wonderful advertisement for his country. We in Australia have the highest respect for him; many hold him in great affection, as well. Personally he's always been my favourite Indian player. He will be greatly missed.

Posted by Huls on (March 13, 2012, 5:29 GMT)

What a fantastic article about a truly fantastic cricketer. Wonderfully captured in these lines "Those twin aspects of his personality - the dignified human being and the passionate competitor - ran alongside each other, the one never allowed to interfere with the other. He knew where the boundaries were, in life and in cricket". I do wish all of us mere mortals can learn from this four line description of perhaps the all time greatest technecian/gentleman of the modern era the game has seen.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 5:25 GMT)

The class, the dedication, the selflessness, the elegance, the responsibility - cricket will miss forever. Thanks Mr Ed for this nice article ; very well articulated.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 5:22 GMT)

really enjoyed reading about one of my favorite hero of Indian test cricketers...

Posted by ishrat1971 on (March 13, 2012, 5:10 GMT)

Extremely well written. For all of us in Pakistan and around the world Rahul Dravid signified the gentleman in the increasing brashness of the gentlemans game. As a cricketer I have yet to see a more fierce competitor and two of his shots are my personal favorites, the flick through midwicket and the cover drive with the high back lift. He placed a price on his wicket and played for his country and team with no regard for personal choice. He opened the batting, kept wickets came down the order all for the demands placed on him by the team. SRT may be god but for us in Pakistan the best Indian player of the last decade has been Dravid. Laxmans epic would not have been crafted if Dravid had not been with him. That is Dravid the fierce warrior who fades in the background to let others bask in glory. Cricket is poorer .....

Posted by G_Arun on (March 13, 2012, 5:05 GMT)

What a wonderfully written piece - insightful, emotional and concise. As a tribute to a great champion, this will rank right up there.

Posted by Nilesh_T on (March 13, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

What an awesome tribute from Ed Smith to one of the greatest ever cricketers India has ever produced.The word 'gentleman' and Dravid are synonymous. He embodied the true spirit of this great sport and his contributions shall stand as a shining beacon especially to the younger generation,inspire them and set an example not only for those playing cricket but for everyone in general in terms of attitudes in life, competitive spirit,and setting standards of excellence in any vocation we choose to pursue in our lives. You are irreplaceable Rahul,and no words or write ups can ever summarise what you are and what you have achieved, you were both perfection and poetry at the same time - take a bow,the applause shall long go on after your performance has ended. To borrow the phrase from Albert Einstein's tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, "..Generations to come, will scarcely believe that such a one as this walked on a cricket field in flesh and blood..."

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (March 13, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

"In years to come, perhaps too late, we may realise what we have lost: the civility, craft and dignity that Dravid brought to every cricket match in which he played" - Well, we are already feeling that vacuum.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 4:27 GMT)

Wow, the most brilliant article written about Dravid so far or rather about the classical cricketer/sportsman

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 4:12 GMT)

No doubt, Rhaul is one of the greatest cricketers in our era

Posted by RajeshNaik on (March 13, 2012, 3:52 GMT)

Nicely written, Ed. As an admirer of Rahul Dravid, I enjoyed reading this article. Thanks.

Posted by ajayhr on (March 13, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

Wonderful article, Ed.. Dravid was a credit to this great game.. Selfless sportsman..

Posted by AjitNarayan on (March 13, 2012, 3:31 GMT)

Thanks Ed for the wonderful article. Another example of Dravid's personality.

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