Rahul Dravid is one of the most loved athletes of all time. Not only his batsmanship but also his personality keeps influencing people all over the world.
Indian Cricket is one of the high points in the lives of more than a billion Indians. Countless Indians pin their hopes on the good results of the Indian Cricket Team. Those two players in the middle of the pitch represent the collective highs-and-sighs of an entire nation.
A Number Game
Test Cricket represents the epitome of the game of Cricket. 299 players have played the beautiful red-ball cricket for India.
One Dayers which used to represent the more exciting version of cricket, which now seems like an awkward child of tradition and demand, has seen 232 men don the blue cap. We’ll save some other date to speak about T20.
Cricket is an overtly statistical game. It keeps all kinds of data and deals in numbers that make it more mathematical than any other game which makes it distinctly Indian. This, in turn, makes a player involved in a number of books that keep different kinds of records.
The Wall of Fame
There are many monikers on and off the field of cricket that humanizes the game surrounded by numbers. But it is the players behind those monikers that make for a dedicated following. And Rahul Dravid is one of them. They call him The Wall, Jammy, and other cool names. He is considered non-replaceable. People still find hope in his presence.
Rahul Sharad Dravid was born on 11th January 1973. Through his hard work and perseverance, he kept on climbing the ladders of success and ultimately captained India Cricket Team. A leader who led by example, Rahul Dravid was never for the dependence on luck. Preparation came first to him and it also came last. The examples he set during his days as a player and now as a coach for the young cricketers, Rahul Dravid keeps on tapping into the most optimistic side of us human beings.
And most importantly, Rahul Dravid is not other-worldly. He is firmly rooted in this plane that we all inhabit. There is a reason why he isn’t called God or Lord or any train or any bloated monickers because his achievements are down to his humanity. His success dilutes the idea of being other-worldly. He represents the idea of fulfilling one’s potential. And somehow inherently we all understand that.
A Man of Literature
Rahul Dravid is one of those handful cricketers or Indians for that matter who prefer books as companions. He chose his words wisely. It was a privilege to hear him speak as Indian captain. There were fiery ones, then there were clever ones but Dravid was the most humane of them. And we all liked that.
While his on-field performances led India to great heights, his off the field gestures and simple living gave us Indians an unmatched high. And it has been documented.
As the world eagerly awaits the arrival of the autobiography of Rahul Dravid, there are some respectable attempts at biographing his life that can be explored. We list some here:
The Nice Guy Who Finished First is a remarkable story of Rahul Dravid’s illustrious career in international cricket that commenced in 1996. It tells the tale of a young man who has succeeded in his chosen profession through an ardent faith in the three ‘D’s of dedication, discipline, and determination.
The biography reconstructs the incidents and events that have contributed to making Rahul Dravid one of the greatest cricketers to have played the game, and an epitome of grace, humility, and commitment to his team’s cause. It is a tribute to a role model who refused to rest on his laurels and remained as intense in his quest for perfection as he was when he started out.
Rahul Dravid’s moments of triumph are described, as also are his trials and tribulations. The book narrates the epic battle, one that he eventually won, to break free of the stereotypes that haunted him in his early years at the international level. His efforts to emerge from the intimidating shadows cast by his teammates and contemporaries are illustrated in great detail. This book highlights the physical, mental, and of course, technical attributes that have elevated Rahul to legendary status.
In this honest endeavor to recount the story of Rahul Dravid, the author is assisted by reminiscences for these mentors, seniors, teammates, and even opponents, all of whom witnessed the making of a cricketing legend from close quarters. Then, there are the photographs, some of the best ever, which showcase, quite literally, the genius of one of India’s all-time greats.
A collection of 30 pieces – new and previously published on ESPNcricinfo and its sister publications – this book features contributions from Dravid’s team-mates and peers, some of the finest cricket writers around, and interviews over the years with Dravid himself. It attempts to paint a picture of a cricketer who embodied the best traditions and values of the game, and a man who impressed the many people who came in contact with him.
Greg Chappell remembers the India captain he worked alongside. Ed Smith, who shared a dressing room with Dravid at Kent, writes of a thorough gentleman. Sanjay Bangar relives the splendor of Headingley 2002. Jarrod Kimber tells of how Dravid became the reason for him getting married. Mukul Kesavan analyses how his technique allows for more style than one might assume. Sidharth Monga puts Dravid’s captaincy under the spotlight. Rohit Brijnath looks back at the twin peaks of Adelaide in 2003. Vijeeta Dravid gives us a look at her husband the perfectionist. Those and other articles make Timeless Steel as much a celebration of a colossal cricketer as of an exceptional human being.
This work, a biography of the living legend, is the result of exhaustive research of the rise of Rahul Dravid from his childhood and early days and highlights the success, agony, and triumphs of his chequered career in the world of cricket.
It etches in print, for the first time, his flawless techniques and outstanding achievements, and focuses on his temperament and the meticulous manner in which he prepares himself mentally and physically for any major tour. As such, it makes an interesting read for the lovers of cricket.