Every once in a while there comes a movie which everyone wants to watch. You do too. You make plans. Everything is in place except there are no tickets to be found. Not wanting to stay at home like a loser, you settle for another decent movie.
Not as popular. Not tweeted about much. But good enough to make the evening memorable.
Rahul Dravid is that other movie, that no one really goes out to watch but ends up watching as a compromise. He is the universal second choice.
Anyone who says Rahul Dravid is his/her favorite cricketer is either lying or is his wife. I did meet someone at Grenada during the 2007 World Cup who said, she "hoped" Rahul does well. She later revealed she was his cousin.
Rahul Dravid...he was the very best at being being 2nd best. It is said (now I read this somewhere) that Abraham Lincoln's strategy during the Presidential nomination process was to make sure he was every delegate's second or third choice.
It sure worked for Abraham Lincoln and through out Rahul Dravid's career it was his destiny. He was every one's after thought.
Out of his 13,288 Test runs, 13,284 were scored when people were cheering for Sachin, VVS, Sehwag or Ganguly. I don't know about others but I can say that 4 of those runs had at least one person rooting for Dravid. That was me. When he creamed that boundary to give India a win at Adelaide in 2003.
That was the innings when the greatness of Rahul Dravid sunk into me. For the first 7 years of his career, he was just someone to respect and say nice things about.
Even as speculation about his retirement was doing the rounds it was Sachin Tendulkar who confirmed it first by saying, "I will miss him (Dravid) in the dressing room". With that statement Sachin inadvertently announced his own non-retirement.
His debut 95 was Saurav Ganguly's show. One of his finest innings that showcased his fierce will to fight was overshadowed by another Very Very Special innings.
Nobody, I know of, would go out of their way to watch a Rahul Dravid innings. Rahul Dravid was always someone whom you settled for when the Sachins and the Laxmans did not deliver or needed someone to support their causes.
It is not often that I have ventured to watch a Test Match at the ground. In a stadium. Most times it has been to watch Sachin Tendulkar do something special. And on all those occasions I have come away with watching Rahul Dravid do something I would have preferred Sachin Tendulkar to have done.
Even in retirement I would have preferred that we would be confronted with Sachin Tendulkar's retirement and not Rahul Dravid's. That's just me.
Anil Kumble, Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid collectively fronted a side of maniac talent with a structure. A method. Collectively they were able to channel India's talent to substantial wins with a bit of intelligence. They brought passion, fearlessness and a will to fight. With Sachin Tendulkar for company they gave us the #1 Test ranking.
With the 3 of them gone, day time soap opera like dramas, with Sachin reduced to being a mere spectator will be common place.
Without Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and Saurav Ganguly for a while now India will be like a less illustrious offspring of a marriage between Bangladesh and Pakistan.