It’s been several months since I last blogged. Nothing else would have brought me back – apart from Dravid. Sadly, it is his retirement announcement that has. While I will reserve my tribute for a little later, I must say that this brings a huge void to Indian cricket. Watching India in Tests will not be the same. I will be switching the TV on only for Laxman!
Saturday evening’s news brought most unexpected tidings. A Rahul Dravid ODI recall was something that wasn’t even thought of. We might have in 2008, in Australia, but not this day.
As an ardent Dravid fan and supporter, I must admit that momentarily, it was leap of joy.
But the usual questions muddled the joy. Was this a stop gap? Would this have happened if India were playing at home? What after this series? “Rested” again, or worse, just no word?
Someone else might have had a slap to offer to the torturers. But no, Dravid, merely admitted surprize and suggested some face saving reasoning – because he didn’t get a chance to tell the selectors of his intentions.
Much has been said about this by me, several times in the past, and by many others now. I will not add to that.
The best way respect India’s most devout team man , and a true ambassador of the gentleman’s game, would be to savor his ODI swansong.
Four days of Test cricket.
Two and quarter days of fighting cricket. The remaining was trash. Add in some vaseline, Bell runout gate and all you get is a waste of time.
India’s 2nd innings was a joke. Laxman and Dravid perhaps were too frustrated and let the others do some of the cleaning. What did the others do? Sachin made another meaningless half century. Harbhajan forgot to feign injury while batting to score 40 odd. Dhoni and his ODI boys did the usual. There is no excuse for this.
One cannot blame the bowlers too much. They toiled hard on day 1 and on day 3 without support. Some of field settings at key times were the most defensive I’ve seen in a decade. It felt like we were back to the post-Azhar Sachin and second-innings-Azhar age. Granted, the bowlers caved at time, bowling outside off, wide, and making it easy for the batsmen to score. What was required was some unity and team spirit. There was nothing like that going on. Maybe that had to do with divisiveness on Bell run-out-gate.
Ganguly was right. This season will tell us just how good a captain Dhoni really is.
As after any drubbing, there are more questions than answers. But I don have one answer – India are losing this series.
I will eat crow if they level!
The Trent Bridge Test has been a great advertisement for Test Cricket. From the packed stands to the quality pitches, the game has provided entertainment to all. Granted, it has been a low scoring match, but has had all other ingredients that an engrossing Test match need.
The English collapse and recovery, Broad’s hat rick , Laxman’s art, Dravid’s colossal century, Yuvraj’s comeback, the Indian collapse all interspersed with a bit of Indian tadka – the Praveen Kumar rant and the Sreesanth antics. A word must be said on the umpiring – while Erasmus has been inconsistent, Asad Rauf has been so accurate, its almost inhuman.
Day 3 will be key. So will Ishant. This day will decide who the winner of the Test will be, for this most certainly will not be Draw.
Cheers to Test Cricket! It is alive and kicking!
India’s tour of England 2011 – Dravid’s first Test century at Lords
Dravid’s journey began at this very ground. One could almost call it his home away from home (by his own high standards, Dravid has never done well at home). That summer day in 1996, a young lad with a lot of expectation in those eyes, set out, maybe not specifically in search of a hundred, but nevertheless burst onto the scene. That day, he fell short by a few days. This day, 15 years from then, he made it! A century at Lords, – the home of cricket. A man on wrong side of 30s, having almost nothing to prove to anyone- for many a great deeds he has done in the years that have passed- but always something to prove to himself, Dravid will find his name in the famed hall where it belongs, with other mighty warriors. The war is always the same, only the manner different.
Many fans and ardent followers will have a deep sense of satisfaction – for a gentleman of the game. God bless the man who has brought much happiness to India!
I’ve almost always had a rush of nostalgia when India is about to tour England. The green grass, blue skies, the contrast between the “Surf-excel-white” clouds and the tourquise blue of the sky, the picturesque grounds, the lovely breeze and the occasional sweater worn by the spectator adds an element of other worldly magic to the drama that is about to enfold. India’s tours of England have brought back some lovely memories that run back to the summer of’96. There are several such occasions – the World Cup 99, the tour of 2002 and the Nat West final to name a few. The tour of 2007 seems so fresh, I can recall many of details – Zaheer Khan and the jelly gate, Dravid’s tired captaincy, his struggle with runs, Wasin Jaffer’s lazy elegance, Dinesh Karthik’s rise to consistent 45-50 opener, Kumble’s century, Micheal Vaughn’s batting, Tendulkar’s struggles in the 90s, and what not.
Part of what makes this special is a rather mundane aspect – the time of play for the Indian viewer. You can come back from work, either on a high, or tired and drained of energy, and let your mind take on something completely different and to be engrossed in it. There are days when the cricket energizes you and days when it lets you lament.
Another tour is upon us. And this tour, as in 2007, is touted to be last of the greats of India’s batting – Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman. Thus the need to savor it is greater than ever before. One hopes that there is, somewhere in India, a kid who yearns to emulate their techniques and deeds!
When there’s a challenge up for grabs, trust a champion to take it. Dravid has built himself a reputation of being there when it means the most. In times when reputation and utility are being questioned, the legend delivered a solid knock to shut the critics for the umpteenth time in his career. This century was worth its weight in gold, and to top it, was fairly solid. The decline from 2007 seemed distant and the myriad batting issues solved. In India’s lead of 300 odd, Dravid’s contribution is almost 50%! The statistics auger well for India in this case. I will not say more now, only that: the Rock is back and will continue to rock.