A number one guy going through exceptional power extending past the sector, a trainer taking a look to kickstart the stint by way of dropping his nice boy symbol, and a buoyant pacer primed to respire fireplace into the assault towards an opposition led by way of a dogged guy able for tricky contests and harder conversations at house.India’s excursion of South Africa is about to be the degree for overarching narratives.
If Rahul Dravid have been to industry his bat for a couple of boxing gloves, brandish a drooping moustache and develop lengthy sideburns, he would nonetheless now not achieve the meanness or ruggedness of a pugilist. Or for all his perfectionism, would fight to slide into his favorite film personality, Gabbar Singh from Sholay. For, there’s a deeply entrenched un-erasable symbol of Dravid as mellowed and measured, dignified and sleek, with the bat in addition to phrases. An even-boy symbol, as Dravid himself describes.
#TeamIndia had an intense nets consultation 💪🏻 at SuperSport Park 🏟️ within the construct as much as the 1st #SAvIND Take a look at.
This is @28anand taking you nearer to all of the motion from Centurion. 👍 👍
Watch this particular characteristic 🎥 🔽https://t.co/Dm6hVDz71w %.twitter.com/qjxnBszmDa
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 20, 2021
There were instances when he felt imprisoned on this symbol. He tells Gaurav Kapoor in an episode of Breakfast with Champions, in half-jest and half-seriousness: “I’m seeking to create that symbol that It’s not that i am a nice man.” He pauses earlier than swiftly hanging on a stern, dour face, just for the masks to peel off. He giggles, self-mockingly to suggest that anger doesn’t come naturally for him, and tells why he needs to burn the good-boy symbol that embellishes the heads and hearts of a technology of cricket watchers. “For those who get labelled as a nice boy, as anyone who does the whole thing appropriately, when you are making one mistake, that will get highlighted much more. ‘Oh, he threw his cap!’”
The cap-flinging incident, which when it took place used to be in comparison to the sighting of Haley’s Comet, got here after Rajasthan Royals, the Indian Premier League staff he used to be training in 2014, misplaced a humdinger towards Mumbai Indians, thereby dropping their play-off probability. “That’s the picture I would like, that I’m human,” Dravid says. The incident impressed the cult Indiranagar ka gunda commercial. The advert labored as it used to be Dravid, as a result of he has hardly misplaced his mood at the box, as a result of he scarcely were given dragged into scandals, or simply as a result of it’s essential now not believe him dropping his mood, at the box or at the highway.
Indisputably, in his one-and-a-half-decade world profession, Dravid has misplaced his cool a number of instances, demonstrated his anger and dislike, argued and antagonised, possibly irked and shouted too. But, when one thinks of Dravid, the ones photographs slightly stick out. Perhaps, it’s how he needs the arena to peer him too. He displays at the cap incident as “now not the proudest second of my profession,” and that he felt “so horrible when the cap used to be going out of my hand.” The nice-boy symbol is as herbal as it’s nurtured.
Day 2️⃣ at coaching
The hustle continues 💪🏻
Let’s GO 👍🏻#TeamIndia #SAvIND %.twitter.com/vfgp9zCOau
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 19, 2021
But, this garb has hid each his strengths in addition to flaws. Like an impenetrable armoury, it has obscured the real legacy of his captaincy, simply because it has shrouded his fallibilities. As an extension, it will proceed to steer, if now not dictate, how one judges his training, without reference to how his stint seems to be.
No longer given his due
It used to be the present and curse of his captaincy. His largest fulfillment as captain — the sequence wins in West Indies and England, the first-ever Take a look at triumph in South Africa, or the Multan victory as a stand-in — is continuously attributed to the comeuppance of India’s seamers. Johannesburg win is credited to S Sreesanth; Trent Bridge to Zaheer Khan, Multan to Virender Sehwag, and Kingston to Dravid the masterful batsman. Different accomplishments just like the nine-game unbeaten streak in ODIs, India’s best possible at the moment, and the 17 a success run-chases at a time when India have been deficient batting 2d, were consigned as instructional footnotes.
Conversely, his darkest hour — India crashing out of the 2007 International Cup within the staff degree — is thought of as completely the top of India’s mess underneath trainer Greg Chappell. His captaincy is neither praised, as say that of Sourav Ganguly or MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli, nor criticised as that of Sachin Tendulkar. Worse, he enters discussions on neither India’s best possible captains nor its worst.
Such a lot is fabricated from Ganguly guiding India during the darkish days of the match-fixing scandal to the courageous new break of day of victories, of moulding an id of indefatigability, and of nurturing a crop of children – from Zaheer to Yuvraj Singh, and Sehwag to Harbhajan Singh. Dravid, too, took over the staff at a troublesome time, simply after the Chappell-Ganguly cleaning soap opera had performed out, when it seems that numerous senior gamers have been disgruntled, and sought after to get the script they sought after for the overall bankruptcy in their careers, when there have been extra competitive small-town children with an in-your-face perspective cropping up.
Beneath Dravid blossomed a effective staff of younger seamers. Beneath him Zaheer made his comeback from the threshold; Sreesanth, RP Singh and Irfan Pathan blossomed. And bigger than them, Dhoni emerged. Sehwag as soon as recollected an incident that modified Dhoni’s profession. “Once we have been in Pakistan and MS Dhoni used to be a newcomer, he performed a shot and were given stuck at level. Dravid used to be very offended with MS Dhoni. ‘That’s the best way you play? You must end the sport.’ I used to be myself bowled over by way of the typhoon of English from Dravid, I didn’t perceive 1/2 of it,” Sehwag recalled in a Cricbuzz video.
“But if MS Dhoni subsequent got here in to bat, I may just see he used to be now not hitting photographs a lot. I went and requested him what used to be incorrect. He mentioned he didn’t need to be scolded by way of Dravid once more. ‘I can end quietly and return,’ Dhoni mentioned,” Sehwag added.
📸📸 from our coaching right here as of late at SuperSport Park 🏟️#TeamIndia | #SAvIND %.twitter.com/r5a890urkt
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 20, 2021
Dhoni and Yuvraj have been to don lead roles in numerous of India’s heady chases all the way through that point in addition to within the coming years. Upload Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina to the gang, and India’s 2011-International Cup profitable core used to be assembled all the way through Dravid’s tenure. Using the wave of children and the enjoy of veterans, he winkled out a greater win proportion (53) than each Ganguly (52) and Tendulkar (31) in ODIs. Beneath him, India experimented, performed competitive cricket and, at the most productive of instances, it used to be authentic amusing observing the staff, till all of it burst within the Caribbean in 2007.
It used to be the nadir of Dravid’s captaincy, but he confirmed stoic grace in duress. He stood in the back of his gamers, or even took some out for a film to defuse the stress. “He got here as much as me and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and mentioned, ‘glance, I do know all of us are disillusioned, let’s opt for a film.’ We went for the film after which we had 1/2 an hour to invite him issues. He mentioned, ‘sure, we misplaced this International Cup, we would have liked to make a distinction, however this isn’t the tip of it; lifestyles is far larger; we will be able to come again day after today,’” Pathan recalled to Famous person Sports activities.
Cases to be apologetic about
However the International Cup defeat would, without a doubt, be a blot on his captaincy. Although Chappell used to be painted the villain, Dravid’s ineptness, seldom mentioned or dissected, too shines via. That the staff had too many discordant notes used to be a fault of each the trainer and captain. Slotting Tendulkar at No. 4 may were basically Chappell’s resolution, however Dravid will have interfered and briefed him about how the general public would have seen it, in case the transfer backfired. It did.
As an Australian, Chappell would were averse to hero-worshipping, however Dravid will have, possibly, helped him perceive the Indian tradition higher.
Extra so, as Dravid has all the time asserted in press meetings that he used to be the person who known as the photographs. “On the finish of the day, I take the decision. Whether or not to make a decision to bat first or bowl first, or who performs within the XI, is in spite of everything my name. It all the time begins and ends with me,” he as soon as mentioned in Johannesburg, protecting his resolution to bat first on a highly spiced wicket, versus widespread bowl-first knowledge in South Africa.
It used to be now not the 1st time his choices after profitable the toss were scrutinised. While the verdict in Johannesburg labored gloriously, his ploy to insert England in Mumbai in 2006, floored miserably as India misplaced the event, to break the one hundredth Take a look at of his profession. Dravid owned the error within the press convention, however nonetheless it reeked of tactical naivety.
There have been additionally circumstances when Dravid presumed that his strategies would paintings for his colleagues too. Like when a batsman used to be suffering for runs, he gave him a guide to learn when a pat at the again or a talk of encouragement would have sufficed. However Dravid’s rationale, as he defined later, used to be, “that used to be the best way I grew up and performed my cricket and there’s no explanation why others can’t cope.” He grew up within the higher strata of the center elegance in a metro, however there have been the ones from Ranchi and Rae Bareilly, Kochi and Bharuch, whose working out of lifestyles and game have been other. Later, in his closing excursion as captain, Dravid took his teammates to an opera, which had a few of them it seems that upset.
All over that excursion, he emphasized on converting the rustic’s cricketing tradition. “Our cricketing tradition has to switch, to a point. It’s an athletic sport now and we need to instill those processes into our younger cricketers. Our (Nationwide Cricket) Academy has were given to grow to be extra professionally-run and we will have to arrange our personal reduced in size gamers a lot better,” he instructed The Instances. Years later, the NCA was a breeding floor of India’s best next-generation gamers. Dravid used to be a visionary, who now not most effective idea deeply concerning the sport, but in addition visualised how it might exchange. His five-bowler ploy didn’t win many believers, nevertheless it was Kohli’s default mode.
Through the tip of the excursion, captaincy used to be a crown of thrones, although India gained a Take a look at sequence in England after 21 years. With the readability of idea that had emblazoned his batting, Dravid relinquished his place. “I loved the captaincy, I liked it, however it will probably get tricky after some time and one of the most enjoyment can cross away,” Dravid instructed BBC. “So I assumed it used to be the appropriate time to step apart.’’ The frankness used to be considerable, although it’s unclear what used to be gnawing at him.
Quietly ended his roller-coaster captaincy journey, with neither adulation nor recrimination, each swept underneath the good-boy garb, or misplaced within the greater function as an exemplary batsman he had donned for his nation.
At the back of the veneer, there used to be a streak of ruthlessness too. The ruthless urge for food for perfection, to blunt the fiercest of assaults, to win video games and take daring choices (like pointing out with Tendulkar six runs in need of a double hundred in Multan). A trait that endeared him to Steve Waugh, whose ears he picked all the way through a dinner in 1998. “Rahul sought after the additional edge that may lift his sport to the following degree,” Waugh later mentioned. Their courting blossomed to friendship, and later Waugh selected him to pen the foreword of his autobiography.
He would take all of those virtues that outlined him — dignity of nature, devotion to the sport, composure of manner and ruthlessness in decision-making — into his training. Dravid would take that slice of good-boy symbol too.
It’s exhausting to consider a extra unanimous selection for a trainer in cricket historical past, nevertheless it’s additionally the place his symbol would face the sternest take a look at, the place he’s going to be judged on sequence wins and trophy counts.
Instances have modified too —- there’s the impatient and unflinching gaze of social media, suspicious of historical past, 280 phrases that talk louder than one thousand. The calls for of the country too have modified — solitary Take a look at wins would now not suffice, 100 or a five-wicket haul slightly lighting fixtures up their days, however India needs to be invincible, house and in another country. Dravid would now not be capable to live on on goodwill and fond reminiscences on my own.
And as along with his good-boy symbol, when he makes one mistake, it might get highlighted much more. Perhaps, in spite of everything, the training stint would free up him off the perception-prison.