Rahul Dravid: The Man Who Would Never Be King


Rahul Dravid: The Man Who Would Never Be King

Illustration: Sushant Ahire


he inimitable, irreplaceable Rahul Dravid celebrates his birthday today, capping off another year of excellence. Last year, he made history as the fifth Indian to be included in the ICC Hall of Fame. With the Wall earning his rightful place in the Hall, it’s a good time to remember the exploits that got him there in the first place. In light of how much praise Dravid has been receiving, with the HOF nod and his stellar coaching performance for the India U-19 team, it’s funny to me how I don’t clearly remember Rahul Dravid’s final match for India. It’s odd, given how he’s scored more runs for the team than any batsman except Sachin. We remember the final games of his peers, Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, in vivid detail. Ganguly, with his signature Dada swag, autographed the camera on his way out, and Sachin’s last match came against the backdrop of a tearful Wankhede stadium audience bidding farewell to their God. Compared to these flamboyant farewells, Rahul Dravid’s exit from the game was muted. It was announced after he had already played his final Test match, in the confines of a press room at Chinnaswamy Stadium.

But then, fanfare and theatricality have never been part of the Rahul Dravid experience. What’s remarkable about The Wall is that he managed to carve out a legendary reputation for himself even though he doesn’t possess the attention-grabbing qualities we normally associate with successful people. Dravid didn’t claim to be the best technician, or the most dependable batsman in the team, or an able captain. He simply was himself, and the rest of the nation unanimously decided the rest for him.