“To me aggression is of two types. There is real aggression and then there is pretence. You have to look into someone’s eyes to see if there is any real aggression. When I look into Rahul Dravid’s eyes I know that though he might not be outwardly aggressive, he is inwardly aggressive: he wants to hit the ball, he wants to seek out opportunities. He has got fire in his belly. A lot of the aggression that you see now, like staring and chatting, is all guff. That is just a waste of time.”
“No dream is ever chased alone.”
— Rahul Dravid.
“I remember telling Rahul many years ago, `Rahul, do any thing, don’t marry a fan’. You must have someone who’ll tell you when you are doing something wrong. That you were arrogant that day. You were insensitive that day. But if you marry a fan, who’s going to tell you that? “
Mohinder Amarnath, in his latest column, anointed Lokesh Rahul as the next Rahul Dravid.
He may be right, he may be wrong.
Much earlier, Cheteshwar Pujara was Dravid’s logical successor.
Then, it was Ajinkya Rahane.
Now, it’s KL.
It’s never easy to step into the shoes of colossuses.
I’m sure each of the above would rather be recognised for themselves rather than somebody’s clone.
And it will take some doing to match Dravid ‘s feats and consistency over a sustained period of time.
Greatness doesn’t occur overnight.
In some way, Dravid seems a little short-changed by these comparisons.
Is it because his achievements are the result of constant improvement, endeavour, discipline, technical correctness and correct temperament rather than simply genius, wristiness or off-side godliness?
No one points to any of the current lot and claim that they’re the next Tendulkar, Ganguly or Laxman.
Comparisons are sometimes drawn between Kohli and Tendulkar, but the Indian test skipper has etched out a stellar place for himself.
Coming back to the question, is Lokesh the next Dravid?
He’s surely the next Rahul.
Chloe the Chicken wandered up to me and queried, “Say, do you think Virat Kohli is right?”
“Right about what?” boomed Meringue the Meerkat.
“I wasn’t speaking to you, Merry, but the question remains. Is Virat right when he says that his captaincy efforts are under-appreciated by former cricketers especially those who never represented the country?”
Popper the Parakeet squawked, “Is Virat right? Is Virat right? Is Virat right?”
I step in before the cacophony becomes more deafening.
“He’s right and he’s wrong, my friends. He’s right because South Africa were and are the No.1 Test side and had never lost overseas for the past 10 years—an enviable record. He’s wrong because the true test of a side’s and captain’s greatness lies in how they perform overseas in different and difficult conditions.”
“So, he’s right?”said Chloe the Chicken.
Chloe is a huge Virat fan and has a collection of postcards of the dashing youngster from Delhi. The ones featuring Anushka Sharma are carefully culled and snipped so as to exclude the sultry actress.
Meringue the Meerkat said, “But, don’t you think that it’s early days yet to pass judgment on Virat’s leadership? After all, he led bravely and from the front in Australia and though the side lost the series, they were not humiliated. And he’s cleared two stern tests on the sub-continent.”
Popper the Parakeet chimed in, “It’s early! It’s early! It’s early!”
“Yes, I agree. It’s too soon to tell. Dhoni had the Midas touch when he started out as Test skipper after Anil Kumble. He led Team India to the No.1 spot on the back of series victories at home. Virat could easily do the same. But we all know what followed overseas in England and Australia. And then MS lost the golden touch at home too when the English came calling.”
“True! True! True!” said Meringue the Meerkat.
“I believe that Saurav Ganguly was the best Indian skipper in recent times. He had the desire and the will to do well overseas. Similarly, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble. Is Virat in that mould? Or does he prefer easy wins on muddy patches?” I added.
“Muddy patches! Muddy patches! Muddy patches!” squawked Popper the Parakeet.
“And what do you think of Virat’s statements about non-international cricketers passing judgment on his leadership? Do you agree that they don’t have the credentials to criticise Indian cricket’s latest golden boy?” moderates Chloe the Chicken.
“That’s not quite right. International cricketers are privileged to play for the country. But they have to admit that luck and timing play an important role in their turning out in Indian colors. To paint domestic players as less capable is being unfair to their efforts and feats at the state and district level. After all, these young stars don’t have a problem turning to these very same non-entities when it comes to being coached about the finer points of batting and bowling.”
“Well, well, well, that’s settled. Virat Kohli is both right and wrong. A fine batsman, a fine cricketer, a fine leader but yet to become a fine man,” responded Chloe the Chicken.
“Hear! Hear! Hear!” echoed Meringue the Meerkat.
“Hear! Hear! Hear!” echoed Popper the Parakeet too.
Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne have launched a Legends T20 Cricket League to be held in the USA in August-September.
Shah Rukh Khan has gone a step further and extended the Kolkata Knight Riders brand by buying Caribbean T20 team Trinidad & Tobago. Mark Wahlberg and Gerard Butler are other actor-owners of Barbados Tridents and Jamaica Tallawahs respectively.
This confluence of acting and cricketing giants to promote the sport overseas is welcome.
The more the merrier.
Ageing superstars and retired cricketers have much more in common than their age. They enjoy a hold on their fans way past their expiry date.
The Legends T20 League will test this theory. More power to them.
What he said:
“If I charged a penny for every time I was asked about the Multan declaration, I would be a multi-millionaire by now.”
Rahul Dravid responds to yet another query about the controversial declaration against Pakistan when he was the stand-in skipper that left Sachin Tendulkar stranded on 194. “The Wall” was present at the release of Sachin’s autobiography, “Playing it my way” together with Saurav Ganguly and VVS Laxman.
“My greatest memory of that Test is asking Sachin to bowl the last over of the day after the declaration. He got Moin Khan out and he was visibly overjoyed because he was again doing what he did so many times – helping India win. We walked off as a team.”
What Dravid really meant:
“I’ve been asked this question so many times now that I ought to just pen an autobiography myself and put all questions to rest. I’m sure it’d sell at least a million copies.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“It was a collective decision; we knew Sachin was no Sehwag to bring up his double ton with a six.”
Greg Chappell is ringmaster to Sachin, the Lion.
What he allegedly said:
“Together, we could control Indian cricket for years.”
Sachin Tendulkar dropped a bombshell in his autobiography, “Playing it my way” charging former coach Greg Chappell with playing politics and plotting to depose Rahul Dravid from Team India’s leadership in 2007.
Extracts from the maestro’s memoirs were released by his publishers, Hachette India, to the Press Trust of India on Monday.
“Just months before the World Cup, Chappell had come to see me at home, and to my dismay, suggested that I should take over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid. I was surprised to hear the coach not showing the slightest amount of respect for the captain, with cricket’s biggest tournament just months away.
He stayed for a couple of hours, trying to convince me before finally leaving.
“I suggested to the BCCI that the best option would be to keep Greg back in India and not send him with the team to the World Cup. That is not what happened, of course, and the 2007 campaign ended in disaster.”
On Chappell’s equation with the other senior pros:
“Chappell is on record as saying that he may have got the job be cause of Sourav but that did not mean he was going to do favours to Sourav for the rest of his life.
Frankly, Sourav is one of the best cricketers India has produced and he did not need favours from Chappell to be part of the team.
Chappell seemed intent on dropping all the older players and in the process damaged the harmony of the side. On one occasion, he asked VVS Laxman to consider opening the batting. Laxman politely turned him down, saying he had tried opening in the first half of his career because he was confused, but now he was settled in the middle order and Greg should consider him as a middle-order batsman.
Greg’s response stunned us all. He told Laxman he should be careful, be cause making a comeback at the age of thirty-two might not be easy.
In fact, I later found out that Greg had spoken to the BCCI about the need to remove the senior players, no doubt hoping to refresh the team.”
On Chappell’s love for the spotlight:
“I also remember that every time India won, Greg could be seen leading the team to the hotel or into the team bus, but every time India lost he would thrust the players in front. In general John and Gary always preferred to stay in the background, but Greg liked to be prominent in the media.”
Greg Chappell responded to Sachin’s allegations in a statement released to Cricket Australia.
“Whilst I don’t propose to get into a war of words, I can state quite clearly that during my time as Indian coach I never contemplated Sachin replacing Rahul Dravid as captain. I was therefore very surprised to read the claims made in the book.
During those years, I only ever visited Sachin’s home once, and that was with our physio and assistant coach during Sachin’s rehabilitation from injury, at least 12 months’ earlier than what was reported in the book. We enjoyed a pleasant afternoon together but the subject of captaincy was never raised.”
Rahul Dravid, in an interview to EspnCricinfo, said:
“I haven’t really read the excerpts of that book. Also I am not privy to any private conversation between two individuals. I have not heard about this before and I have no idea what happened and I would not want to make any comment.
It’s been a long time and it does not make much of a difference to me now.
Not looking forward towards reading this but yes anything that Sachin writes on batsmanship and things like what made him the best in the world. I am more interested in reading those parts.”
What Greg Chappell (allegedly) really meant:
“Allow me play kingmaker to the uncrowned king of Indian cricket.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Cricket’s a team game and we should all work together to move Indian cricket forward.”
What he said:
“‘ok, Anil is the only guy and let’s give it to him’.”
Anil Kumble tells a tale of his ascendancy to the most exalted position in Indian cricket—the captaincy of the national side.
“I became captain after representing India for 17 years, so, probably, I became captain by default… Because nobody else wanted it..
Rahul Dravid had just given up the captaincy and at that time, it was probably too early for (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni to step in as the Test captain… Sachin (Tendulkar) also did not want it… So they looked around and said ‘ok, Anil is the only guy and let’s give it to him’.”
What he really meant:
“I was the only one in the Fab Five (Sachin, Saurav, Laxman, Kumble and Dravid) willing to take up the onus of leading the country. I got it not because they felt I was the most deserving candidate but because they felt they could not risk putting Dhoni in the hot seat for a tour of Australia right then. It was way too early and he could have fizzled out given the additional pressure. At least, that was the opinion of the then bigwigs (selection committee).”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I wanted it, though, oh , how I wanted it. And I made it mine and how. Success—thy name is desire.”
What he said:
“The IPL is professionalism taken to its logical extreme. All the bullshit and hypocrisy have been turned off.”
Kevin Pietersen has extremely positive things to say about Indian cricketer, Rahul Dravid, and the Indian Premier League (IPL) in his autobiography, ‘KP: The Autobiography’.
“Rahul was a great and heroic Indian batsman in his day. He is also a genius at dealing with spin bowlers. Our conversations and emails were a private masterclass from a genuine guru.
Rahul improved my cricket and helped me develop the way I think about the game. His generosity will stay with me always.”
Dravid emailed him thus:
“KP, you are a really good player, you need to watch the ball and trust yourself… Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t play spin, I have seen you and you can!”
“My playing of spin has gone up a number of levels since I’ve spent time in the IPL, and in particular, since I’ve spoken to Rahul Dravid…In England, batsmen get taught to play with the spin against spin bowlers. In India, the best players of spin get taught to play against it.”
On the IPL:
“The IPL is the future… I could talk about money and the IPL all day to you, but for the friendships alone I would play for free.
I’ve built all my relationships with foreign cricketers while in the IPL. That doesn’t help in the England dressing room… there are not many of those friendships.
There is a culture in India that appreciates if you double down and go for the big shot. It’s a game of cricket, not economics. Not life or death. Take a risk. IPL crowds don’t want to see you batting out singles as you pick and choose which balls to hit. Life is too short.”
What Pietersen really meant:
“All the bullshit and hypocrisy is turned off. Including mine. Or is that especially mine?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“The IPL players, coaches and specially the co-owners are professional in all respects, even the betting. Oye Sressanth, tell them.”