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What’s Behind The Wall?

Twenty-two things we learnt about Rahul Sharad Dravid as he called it a day

What’s Behind The Wall?
AP
What’s Behind The Wall?
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553

In chilly winters, he would ensure he took around 80-100 practice catches daily. I have never seen him missing those catching sessions...that’s why he became so perfect.

—Harbhajan Singh

The funniest moment that I remember about Rahul is when we won the Adelaide Test in 2003-04. We finished the game around lunch time but Rahul had his cricket gear on till well after dinner. He was so excited he didn't even bother to change his whites!

—V.V.S. Laxman

Not many are aware how much he has contributed to the turnaround in my career. I was dropped before the 2007 World Cup and he insisted I be reinstated. I scored a 100 and a 50 in the tournament. Since then my career graph has gone up.

—Virender Sehwag

I had the privilege of flying Dravid to various destinations during my flying days with Indian Airlines. He was always calm, a perfect gentleman.

—Air-hostess Elsie Dhas
in The Hindu

He loved to explore England...always asking about the latest musical and offering extended reviews of those he had seen. One such exploration took him to Scotland, from where he returned humbler, if that was indeed possible. He was getting paid to play, he said, but everyone else was paying to play—taking unpaid leave, shutting down shops, all for the sheer joy of playing.

—Harsha Bhogle,
Cricket commentator

In 286 Test innings, Dravid played 31,258 balls; 35.6 per cent of the total runs India made in Tests involving Dravid were scored with him at the crease. He’s the only batsman to be involved in over 700 partnerships.

When we began to travel with the kids we made sure we got two rooms. The day before every game, the boys were told that their father had to be left alone for a while....

—Vijeta Dravid,
Wife

Dravid was writing a piece, it turned up on the appointed date, over a thousand words long, well-structured, thoughtful, with a touch of humour, and not a comma out of place. He later told me he had had it cleaned up by a friend. He cared.

—Sambit Bal,
Sportswriter

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 the natural courtesy of a real gentleman.

—Ed Smith,
England cricketer and writer

He’d linger in bookshops, stroll into theatres.... One year he opted to go learn from a visual skills specialist in South Africa; last summer, he drove to Chelsea FC to wander through their Mind Room. From his wide interests emerged cricket’s most interesting man.

—Rohit Brijnath,
Sportswriter

As we talked about the transition from first-class cricket to Tests to one-day games and Twenty20, Dravid said, “My attitude was simple: the bowler had to earn my wicket. I told myself I had to bat at least 30 overs in a Test. If I didn’t do that, I had failed. I would do it one way or the other.”

—Samir Chopra,
Cricket blogger

I remember the time when Desert Rose by Sting was my favourite song and I came across a Dravid interview in which he said he loved listening to Sting. I even called up and fortunately got through on a call-in music show, where I dedicated a song to him.

—Pragati Ratti,
IBN Live

David Johnson was a terror in the Karnataka Ranji nets. If a batsman played an aggressive stroke against him, he could be sure Johnson’s next delivery would be hurled from 20 yards. And mind you, he was quick. A young Dravid not only took him on, but encouraged him to constantly bowl from 20 yards.

—Vedam Jaishankar
in DNA

Dravid obviously worked extremely hard at his fitness. His is a rare case of a player who did not look older in his last Test than he did in his first, and I am reasonably sure he weighs the same today as he did in 1996.

—V. Ramnarayan
in First Post

I've bored my friends to death recounting the story of meeting Dravid and his wife in a restaurant in Venice in 2003. My wife and I were sat alongside them and I eventually summoned up the courage to speak to him (once he had eaten!). He was amazed that I knew who he was, thinking all English people only liked football. I practically floated out of the restaurant...he was as nice a guy as you could wish to meet.

—Pictou
in The Guardian

He comes from a Deshastha Maharashtrian family that settled in Bangalore, where his father worked for a company that made jams….

—Ayaz Memon
in Hindustan Times

He appeared in the England dressing room in 2002 to pick Michael Vaughan's brain after he had dismantled India's spinners. Imagine an Indian asking an Englishman for tips on playing spin. Dravid was never too proud to seek advice.

—Rob Smyth,
Journalist

He called up his teammates and old friends and told them he was going to announce the big move tomorrow and wanted them to hear it from him rather than the media.

—Harbhajan Singh

Dravid has a simple game founded upon straight lines. Reasoning that runs cannot be scored in the pavilion, he sets out to protect his wicket. Curiously, this thought does not seem to occur to many batsmen....

—Peter Roebuck,
Cricket commentator

He’s used one type of moisturising cream for 20 years because his skin gets dry. Nothing else. He doesn't care for gadgets, and barely registers brands. But if the weight of his bat was off by a gram, he would notice it in an instant and get the problem fixed.

—Vijeta Dravid,
Wife

Rahul would often go out on foot to read animal tracks. I wouldn't say he looked at conservation as a losing battle but as a challenging one. Much like he is on the cricket pitch, he is very astute off it too.

—Krishna ‘KP’ Prasad,
Wildlife conservationist

Dravid is a thinking cricketer. But one person I learned last season that he does not spend a lot of time thinking about is...Rahul Dravid.

—Gideon Haigh,
Cricket writer

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