Being Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid

“It is an honor and privilege to be among you today to deliver an address on the graduation ceremony. It is very humbling to visit an institution like BITS that has set a very high standard and made significant contribution to our nation’s progress. Actually I am also really lucky. I have been told that the minimum marks required to come to BITS is 75% in Maths and Physics. Luckily those standards do not apply in selecting your chief guest. A year and a half since my retirement has been a wonderful period of introspection and an opportunity to reflect on my career. Looking back I am certain that cricket has made me better, a more well-rounded person, it certainly gave me the opportunity to mature personally and the platform to experience both success and failure, learn from them and accept them both as a part of life. I am often asked for advice, how to be successful-honestly there are million ways to be successful and I am nobody to tell you which is right for you. Each one of us has to find our own path. Having this opportunity to speak to you, I wanted to share a few stories from my own journey, in the hope that they might resonate in some way.
I had like you to picture a boy from a typical middle class family. I was that boy. What made us different was that my uncle played alongside CK Naidu and my dad represented his university team and he was completely cricket crazy. The radio commentary was always on at home during test matches and my father followed every single match, international or domestic. He took me and my brother along to stadiums to watch the game in action at every possible opportunity. To his mind, there was no better use of our time. As a young boy I hero-worshiped my father and my curiosity about this game that he was so passionate about, grew progressively deeper and I spent more time watching the game with him and playing it in my backyard on the streets- my curiosity gave way to interest and before long this interest gave way to love. I remember at some point, feeling deep inside me, what I wanted to do. Finding myself in the Dravid household was no accident of birth, it appeared. I learnt that sometimes inspiration just stares you in the face.
Through my school days I was getting more and more into my own world of cricket, winning the inter school tournament felt like winning the world cup. Captaining the school and state teams was my greatest mission. However there is an interesting story from my school days which I would like to tell you. My love for cricket notwithstanding, my parents had the same doubts and fears as any other parents of our time. What was to become of me if all I thought about was cricket?​When I was in 8th standard, they took their concern to my school principal. I had just made the state under 15 team second time in a row and tournament was out state and during the school term. My parents met my principal and apologetically stated that as my cricket would interfere with my studies and school attendance, they could not ask me to go to play the tournament. They therefore sought his advice on the way forward. Father Coelho after giving them a patient hearing, told them, you leave his studies to me, I will handle that, you let him play cricket.

Had my school principal agreed with my parent’s concern, there was a chance I would stop playing serious cricket altogether, got better marks-life would then have followed another script, I learnt that support sometimes comes from the most unexpected places and it make all the difference.Borrowing class notes from friends and furiously preparing for school and college exams at the last minute, I was growing as a cricketer. At that time we played many league and junior state matches on bouncy batting wickets. We traveled by train across the length and breadth of the country, staying 5 or 6 in a room in some cases. It was a chance to know to know our country and its wide variety of people. The hard sessions at the nets and my performances at the junior level won me a state cap and before I knew it I was playing the Ranji trophy for Karnataka in 1991. I did well from most of the opportunities I got, and I ended up playing with the best in bowling I had ever encountered right at the very start of my career in the domestic circuit.

Though we did not have the chance to regularly play fast bowling of international quality, I made up some unusual drills for myself. I would tell colleagues to throw down tennis balls from 15 yards, to simulate what playing the top bowlers might feel like. I got many puzzled looks, to many it seemed like a waste of time. For me it left like essential preparations for everything that was to come. By this time I was being talked about as a national probable, I even captained the Indian under 19 team, the question I got wherever I went was : When are you going to play for the country? Now this is not something I had any control over, but the question began to dominate my life and my game. I ended up playing five years of domestic cricket, before getting my national grade. It was frustrating. I remember putting a sticker on my kinetic Honda which read, “God’s delays are not God’s denials.” It was a gentle reminder to myself to keep faith when I started the scooter engine and loaded my kit bag in the morning.

Looking back now, I do not think I would have been prepared for the success I had at the international level had I not gone through the finishing tool that domestic cricket provided. Spin or fast bowling, easy or difficult batting conditions, I was well prepared for anything. The opportunity that I had had to play experienced spinners in the Ranji trophy helped me play Warne and Murlitharan with confidence. Those tennis ball drills did not seem all that silly, when I played the likes of McGrath, Akram and Donald on tough pitches. When I speak to youngsters, I like talking about this phase of my life, likening it to a fascinating plant which I am going to entangle.

You can take a Chinese bamboo seed and plant it in the ground, water and nurture that for an entire year. You will not see any sprout. In fact you will not see a sprout for 5 years. But suddenly a tiny shoot will spring from the ground. Over the next 6 weeks the plant can grow as tall as 90 feet. It can grow as fast as 39 inches every 24 hours. You can literally watch the plant grow. What was the plant doing in those 5 years, seemingly dormant? It was growing its roots. For 5 full years, it was preparing itself for rapid massive growth, With its roots structure the plant could not simply support itself for future growth. Some say that the plant grew 90 feet in 6 weeks. I would say it grew 90 feet in 5 years and 6 weeks. This period tested my faith and my willingness to believe in my own talent at the beginning of my journey.

Overall I had an extremely gratifying career- many highs and several disappointments as well. After the tour of Australia last year it became very clear to me that the time had come to move on and make way for the next generation of talented young batsmen to begin their journey, just as I had done 16 years ago. It just felt right and I was happy to call time on my career, with my family, colleagues and friends around me. I was touched by all affection I have received. I have no regrets, no unfulfilled professional goals and nothing left to prove to myself. I have climbed my mountain, one which I had originally set to climb as a little boy. As I began climbing the mountain I had set my eyes on, I received lots of support along the way. As a sat alone dealing with my success and failure I got to understand myself better. The climb became everything to me and I immersed myself in it. As I got closer to the top of my mountain, I managed to remain focused and keep my eyes of the destination. When I finally got there I thoroughly enjoyed being where I stood, sense of peace and parity, because it is then I realized that you do not have to be the number 1 in the world, you have to be number one yourself. Reaching that peak is the highest peak there is.

Like a good mountain climber I am now in search of the next mountain to climb. The uncertainty makes me nervous- it also excites me. I am back to being like a little boy, listening to the cricket commentary coming from my transistor in my father’s studio. I would like to wish all of you- the graduating class of 2013, some of the brightest minds in the country today, as you embark on an exciting journey ahead of you.May you find the mountain that is right for you. Give and receive support along the way, be patient and persevere through the ups and downs that you will face. And importantly learn to enjoy the journey you are about to embark on. All the very best! ”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


© આ બ્લોગમા રજૂ થયેલી કૃતિઓના હક્કો (કોપીરાઇટ) જે તે રચનાકાર ના પોતાના છે. આ બ્લોગ પર અન્ય રચયિતાઓની રચનાઓ મૂકવામાં આવી છે તેને કારણે જો કોઇના કોપીરાઇટનો ભંગ થયેલો કોઇને જણાય અને તેની મને જાણ કરવામાં આવશે, તો તેને તરત અહીંથી દૂર કરવામાં આવશે. Disclaimer : This blog is not for any commercial purposes. The entries posted on this blog are purely with the intention of sharing personal interest.


%d bloggers like this: