Wednesday, December 7, 2011

PERFECT ROLE MODEL


The fans of the craziest Cricketing nation and the hub of cricketing world namely India have been blessed with immense cricketing talents who have traversed the grounds and maidans of the world with pride and passion. Two of the greatest batsman of the present generation bat back to back in the batting lineup. Probably the first time in Cricket, the top two run scorers in tests bat together. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid have been great ambassadors of the game for long. Their on and off field behaviour and conduct is a lesson for any youngster wanting to pursue the game.



This article is the Role Models for any aspiring batsmen who want to make big in the game. However am stressing more on why Dravid is better role model than Tendulkar. Before going into the crux of the article, about me, I’ m one of those Sachin fanatics found all around the Indian map. He has been the reason for mine becoming an ardent Cricket fan. I consider him to be “God of Cricket” and greatest to play the game. But still Dravid to me is the best role model for any aspiring talent and this article elucidates the reason for the same.

Nothing much needs to be said on Tendulkar’s career since it has been cricket’s most dissected one. With the fan following he has, he can be rightly said as the most followed cricketer in the world. Every time he enters the field, the fans expect a century and this hype has increased leaps and bounds in the recent times for the impeding hundredth hundred. He has been blessed with talent as a prodigy. Not without reason did Gavaskar, Vengsarkar and other stalwarts came to watch the teenager play for Mumbai in his bare 15 years of age. CCI even relaxed its rules to allow the youngster to represent them. Raj Singh Dungarpur, the then Chairman of Selectors said that his father was hugely impressed by the kid that he even went to the extent of speaking about the kid to his son. As a 16 year old he was on plane to Pakistan and returned with laurels for the bravery and solidarity he showed for his age. In the following summer, he made a match saving century at Manchester and in the summer of 1991-92 at Down Under, Sachin made two of the best knocks he has ever made stunning the Australian nation. 

He has consistently proved his potential by reaching heights that was beyond the batsmen at one stage. 15000 runs, 51 centuries in Tests, 18000 runs and 48 centuries including a double are not everyone’s cup of tea. That he made these runs under the improbable public expectations makes him a miracle to happen to Indian cricket. The record he has in his Curriculum Vitae is just amazing. Off the field, he has been a man of few words and impeccable behaviour. “ The archives recall not one single incriminating incident, not one drunken escapade, not one reported affair, not one spat with a team-mate or reporter ... As Matthew Parris wondered of Barack Obama in these pages recently, is he human? ” – The comment that former England captain Artherton made on the Master sums it all. He has been a saint at the summit for long. At the time of his debut itself, he was destined for greatness and he needs to be acclaimed for fulfilling the expectations. But one must not forget the hard work he puts to hone the skills that came naturally and converting them into result.

Dravid on the other hand, has been a subtle cricketer who worked his way into the system. Though no less talented, he has worked hard, playing the leagues and toiling in the Ranji and domestic scene before he got his due. He got his place in the side based on the performance over a period of 4 years in the domestic season. He utilized his chances making a perfect 95 on debut at Lord’s. Soon his ability and technique made him the right man to hold the critical No 3 spot for India and he soon became Sachin’s best companion in the wicket. He was initially felt to be unsuited for ODIs but he has worked his way into the system making 10000 runs in the format too. He has been the talisman of the side in most difficult conditions when all the other batsmen have been tested. He right now stands behind his mate and buddy in the run chart with 13000 runs in tests. 

But Dravid has been shielded by Tendulkar in terms of the public eye and expectations. He has continued his job of grinding runs while the limelight has been bestowed on the man who bats next to him. The two have made India develop from home bullies to the crown of the test summit with other stalwarts. They have been the enchanting examples for the aspiring youth. Their work ethic, hard work they put in, their ability to handle the hot seat with distinction, their solid technique, their behaviour to the fraternity, their way of conducting themselves have all made them stand out among the Legends of the game.

However Tendulkar is a case of rarity. Not every kid makes his debut at 16. In this age of competitive cricket the chances are still less. He was seen as a future India player even before he made his First Class debut. The following he had among the big names of cricket, by the time he made his debut is something that will happen seldom for the youngsters. The public eye has been over him for two decades and surely not many of the aspiring youngsters will get such a scrutiny. His batting technique has evolved in the years but nevertheless he had some of the amazing strokes even at 15 years of age. Alas it is the age of 16 that most of youngsters decide upon their career. The support he got from his parents is not something every Tom, Dick and Harry will get. In every aspect, he has been blessed and blessing for India. But such a blessing is not likely to happen again in near future. Despite all this he has worked really hard in the nets to sustain the God’s gift he had as a prodigy. All in all, He has been special from day one.

Dravid on the other hand, started it all as any youngster holding the bat with dream of playing in the Blues. He worked his way, built his flair and technique by grinding out hours in the nets. He did not have a grand opening as his mate Sachin, yet he fought his way into the side with sheer performance. His route of toiling in domestic scene before an Indian cap is what most of the aspirants are likely to take. The limelight is not likely to be on the youngsters until they make it really big as was the case with Dravid. He was not a gifted ODI player but still he worked hard to a place in the ODI charts with 10000 runs. Such a path is what most of the batsmen in making are likely to take. He did not have the lauding of the big names before he proved himself in the arena and that is likely to happen in every batsman’s career. His method of making big of the common skills is what everyone needs to follow unless he is gifted. He is a commoner who made it big.

Hence it can be said even though Tendulkar can be a perfect role model, most of the aspirants will not be as gifted as he is. It is a Dravid like persona that works through the system is the way for any young batsmen. We may not get another Tendulkar in near future but certainly the next Dravid can be made by following the great man’s footsteps. It is high time the fans and aspirants realize this truth. While we savour a man called Tendulkar, let us follow the man Dravid as most of us are not gifted in nature as the Mumbai Master but can become special like the Bengalooru Boy by perseverance. Hail the Heroes.

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