Rahul Dravid for me is not just a cricketer. For me he has been more than an idol. Whatver he signifies on the field is probably the way i have led my life, atleast before DCE changed me. Rahul dravid scored 95 in his debut match. Some Sourav Ganguly had choosen the same match to score a century on debut. The fate was sealed the same day. Rahul Dravid, the proverbial nice guy would continue to be the quite follower for the next 10 years. For young boys of the 90's, it was imperative to be fan of one and yes only one amongst the two. You can either be a die hard Ganguly or Dravid fan. The reason perhaps was they were so different in nature. I was by nature one of those good boys who tend to follow all the rules parents set for them. May be we are afraid to do something else. May be we feel obliged to follow all instructions. The jury is out on this issue. You are free to make up your own mind. Anyways, so i was a Rahul Dravid fan. As rahul was establshing himself as criketing icons, i remember the numerous fights i picked up in school with my class fellows over who was better. Infact, i met one of them a month back and the issue we fought on was same. Who is better Rahul or Sourav!!!! This is how all kids of my age spend there childhood. I quickly realized, and i think rahul too that we were not the most talented in the field we choose for ourselves. For Rahul there was Sachin and for me there were many guys in class who were much more intelligent than me. But by 1999, Rahul started to emerge as the most reliable batsman. It was surprisingly the same time, i finally started scoring well in school. Afterall, like Rahul's straight bat, i had decided that if i have to succeed i will need to work hard, really hard and boy for the next four years i did. I feel that even in the rigours of my MBA education i have never worked as hard as i did in those years of my school life. I just secured 85 percent in 10th. Normally, it would be considered a good score. But not for me, for me life meant more. Like my idol had once said after falling on 92 in West Indies " When i retire, i do not want to be considered as a good player who played for India, I want to be remembered as one of the greatest batsmen ever to play for India". Probably these were the kind of words that inspired me. Like almost all middle class boys my dream was IIT, Rahul Dravid's was to become the greatest batsman in the world. The years 2001 to 2003 were really great years for dravid where people finally started recognising his true potential. At the same time my performance was improving by the day, and i was winning over the respect of my classmates. The same classmates who initially thought of me as an average student, suddenly started thinking of me as someone who is truly talented. A rank was 3474 in IIT was not exactly the kind of result i was expecting. It was time for a reality check and i got through Delhi College Of Engineering. The parallels end here. Because DCE was going to change my life forever. Rahul Dravid's best year was 2003. It was the same for me. Thereafter, i changed the way i led my life and thankfully dravid continued on his own way.
The nice guy that was Rahul Dravid was finally handed over the captaincy, and some smart person decided to write an autobiography on his life - The nice guy who finished first. I thought to myself, Great finally rahul is going to get what he truly deserves. I think in life there are certain people who have to struggle throught there life. Probably the same thing happened to dravid. He had his worst failure in the 2007 world cup. The tearful exit from the world cup probably ended the debate once and for all - Nice Guys indeed, never finish first. Sourav had the perfect ending to his career, beating Australia in his final match. Even the most die hard fan that i am, i feel that Dravid's time is shortly going to come to an end. Will he get a proper retirement or will his career finish the way it had started......I hope, i sincerely hope it has a happy ending.
Dedicated to my whole generation that grew up with dravid and ganguly's career and for whom imagining a cricket team without the names of dravid, ganguly and sachin are very difficult to imagine.