His equanimity is enviable

Rahul Dravid

Dravid began his Test career nearly seven years after Tendulkar, has been involved in some stirring associations with the little man and knows how the Mumbaikar’s mind functions as most as well as Tendulkar himself.

Dravid’s favourite ‘Sachin moment’ comes from the epochal 2001 home series against Australia. “Everyone talks about Laxman and my partnership, and Harbhajan’s wickets but people tend to forget that Sachin scored a brilliant hundred in the first innings in the last Test in Chennai,” Dravid tells Deccan Herald.

“He had not scored a hundred that series and you almost felt going into that Test match that Sachin Tendulkar has a right to score a hundred here! It was an eerie feeling. You felt this guy cannot not score a hundred this series, because you cannot have a great series without Sachin scoring a hundred. And he did, he played a fantastic knock. It just shows the kind of expectations people have of him. He is not expected to go more than two or three matches without scoring and more often than not, he delivers, which is incredible.”

Dravid is a massive fan of Tendulkar’s equanimity. “What comes out clearly is that he loves the game a lot, he has a huge passion towards the game,” Dravid says. “Also, one of the things that stands out is the balance he has as a person. He doesn’t get too carried away by success or failure, and that really helps in a country like India. You can’t ride with emotions, high or low, you have got to maintain that balance. You have also got to have that hunger to succeed, and he has that.

“To play for 20 years is a phenomenal achievement. To score the amount of runs he has, to carry the hopes of a nation for so many years – he started off as a 16-year-old boy and is still going strong – is a credit to not only his ability as a player but his temperament, his balance as a person, the way he has carried himself. The way he has constantly improved, constantly gone about his business… If you want to play for this long, you know you are going to be challenged and tested at various stages. How you respond to that is critical, and he has responded fantastically. To do really well on such a consistent basis for two decades in a country like India, where cricket is such a passion and and the pressure is most on some of the Indian cricketers than it is in any other place, is brilliant.”

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