Standing on the shoulders of giants.
A doyen of Indian cricket hangs up his boots today after 15 years of service to his country. Where others relied on finesse or flamboyance, he relied on grit and perseverance. In an era that incentives the quest for personal glory in sport above all else, his conduct on and off the field was a reminder that there was something of greater virtue to fight for, that the idea of service to one’s country, even at the cost of personal fame, isn’t dead.
There is much that India’s young superstars owe to the likes of him. They are standing on the shoulders of giants. An excerpt of his Sir Don Bradman oration in 2011 is a lesson to India’s next generation of stars, and more broadly, to the country and its leaders.
One of the things Bradman said has stayed in my mind. That the finest of athletes had, along with skill, a few more essential qualities: to conduct their life with dignity, with integrity, with courage and modesty. All this he believed, were totally compatible with pride, ambition, determination and competitiveness. Maybe those words should be put up in cricket dressing rooms all over the world.
And indeed, on the walls of the corridors of power in New Delhi.
Fare thee well, Rahul Sharad Dravid. And thank you for the memories.
Also read: Harsha Bhogle’s wonderful tribute to Dravid.