Another brick in ‘The Wall’

Another brick in ‘The Wall’

“The fool didn’t know it was impossible, so he did it, goes a proverb. Rahul Dravid seems to suffer from the same deficit; in a private part of his brain, a few neurons that are supposed to warn you of a lost cause simply refuse to fire,” columnist Sandipan Deb wrote on Rahul’s monumental total of 305 runs at Adelaide.

“While others gasped under a harsh South Australian sun, Dravid remained as unruffled as a flag on a still day. At times, he didn’t seem to be playing in the same match as everyone else… He must be made of ice,” Peter Roebuck wrote at the time.

“‘The Wall’ made of ice. To add another superlative, the Great Wall of China, is the only visible man-made structure from space. And then there’s Rahul. If I have to name anyone to bat for my life, it’ll be Jacques Kallis or Dravid,” said batting legend Brian Lara.

For speedster, Shoaib Akhtar, he was a nightmare. “He used to bore me… like Mohammad Ali, he would tire you out and then knock you down,” reminisced the ‘Rawalpindi Express.’ Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, that’s Rahul, to phrase it in Ali’s words.

Team needs you to open...aye, aye sir. Can you keep the stumps… alright, boss. Can you become a finisher, too? I shall try... Dravid should be the synonym for Team Man in Oxford Dictionary, tweeted Aakash Chopra. “Whenever he goes out to bat, he has his bat in one hand, and in the other, you can almost see the Indian tricolour flying,” the usually measured Gavaskar said of him. That’s an enduring Rahul for you.

“It’s embarrassing at times because I tend to get a lot of attention coaching this team, but it is really about the support staff that we’ve had,” the soft-spoken Rahul said after the U-19 World Cup win. But his stamp was on full display.

The colts played with a straight bat to triumph. He oozes discipline and class with his act whether as a player earlier or a mentor now. Yet the endearing image was the rambunctious bunch jumping behind the gentleman that he is while he was on air in the finals. Complete with added greys to his dashing demeanour, he looked every inch an indulgent father giving his brats a long rope.

And now the ‘Process Man’ himself, “The real satisfaction has been the process followed over the last 14-16 months,” he said of his mentorship. Elucidating his thought process, he had once said, “I try and play one ball at a time… The only thing that matters is that next ball… What happened in the past and what will happen in the future is something you can’t control.” Simply yet lucently said. I can listen to him all day long, remarked Ian Bishop. His words are worth its weight in gold.

If cricket is a religion, then Rahul is its high priest, bestowing upon it dignity and grace with his class act.