“Ask him to walk on water today, and he will say, “OK”. Ask him to jump off a cliff, in the form he is in, he will say, Here is the parachute, I don’t need it”.
These are the words of cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle on air, when Rahul Dravid was going hammer and tongs after the English spinner Samit Patel in his lone T20I. These words characterized the Indian legend who, out of his selfless personality would go to any extent in order to rescue the team out of difficult situations. While his contemporaries- particularly Sehwag, Ganguly and most importantly Tendulkar enjoyed fanfare and constant media glare, Dravid was the cricketer who quietly went about his job. Those who have seen him play, still think of him as the most dependable batsman of all times.
Now, in a welcome development, the former Indian captain, Rahul Dravid was inducted into the Hall of Fame ahead of the fifth and final ODI between India and West Indies in Trivandrum. In the process, Dravid became only the fifth Indian to join the elite list which features former captains Bishan Singh Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Anil Kumble. He was handed over the trophy by former Indian cricket captain and legend, Sunil Gavaskar. Former Australian cricket captain, Ricky Pointing and England woman cricketer Claire Taylor were also inducted in the ICC Hall of Fame.
Dravid and Ponting both fulfilled the criteria to be inducted in the ICC Hall of Fame. A player needs to have completed five years away from cricket in order to enter the elite club. Dravid had retired from cricket in March 2012 and Ponting also announced his retirement in the same year in December. Both these batsmen have been hailed as all time greats, as they enjoyed tremendous success throughout their careers spanning 15 years.
After his name was included in the elite list earlier this year, Dravid spoke with the grace that characterized him throughout his career and said, “It’s a real honour and privilege to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame and be in the company of some of my heroes. Thank you to everyone for the support throughout my career.” He added, “To find your name in a list of all-time greats across generations is something one only dreams of while setting out on a cricket career and the kind of recognition that would delight any player.”
Present and former cricketers from across the world have taken this occasion to reiterate the immense contribution that Rahul Dravid made to the Indian cricket team in particular and the sport in general. Rahul Dravid scored 13,288 Test runs and 10,899 ODI runs with a spectacular average of 52.3 and 39.2 respectively against some of the deadliest bowling attacks, often on bouncy and seamer-friendly attacks. His batting prowess and temperament, therefore, cannot be overemphasized. However, what these statistics fail to tell is the fact that when the team was in a crisis, it was Dravid who would raise the bar and somehow steer the game in India’s favour, justifying the epithet- ‘The Wall’ that was attributed to him. They also do not convey the fact that Dravid was the true gentleman and ambassador of fair play which the cricketing fraternity will always miss. Those who have seen him play will always remember Rahul Dravid, the batsman as the last hope when things seemed to be going out of hands for India. Dravid therefore well deserved the honour that has been bestowed upon him.