He has taken amazing blinders in the slip cordon, scripted unbelievable wins for India single-handedly, done everything possible that can be done on a cricket field, that is bat (at any position), bowl, keep wickets, field. Yet the only time one remembers Rahul Dravid venting out his ecstasy while on the field was when he took India to a famous win over Australia in Adelaide in December 2003.
No wonder, during announcing his retirement he said that he lived in a cocoon. In his days, at the fall of a wicket or taking a stunner in slips or taking his team home from the holes they were stuck in, all he would do is just immerse himself in the moment, while others would vent it out by abusing, rolling on the ground, fist pumps and yelling their hearts out.
But post his much celebrated retirement, Dravid looks a changed man. Yes. He does. The coach-captain cum mentor of Rajasthan Royals now declares a war cry at the fall of a wicket, his SG willow which would only move in textbook style is then is now going the unorthodox slogging ways. While the change in batting style is true to the change in format, the expressions on field are definitely not the one that Dravidians are familiar with.
Now that he doesn’t have to carry the weight of expectations, Dravid is opening up to the world. The otherwise cool as a cucumber is now popping up as the bubbles in a sparkling wine. It is a welcome change, for the world to see of a man who has soaked so much of everything in him. Not many would be complaining about the new façade of the Wall as the Dravidians (Dravid fans) always were his voice, the words he never chose to speak.
At his new workplace, Rajasthan Royals, Dravid probably has realized that filling in the shoes of Shane Warne and taking forward a legacy the Australian spin-wizard has set would surely be nothing less than a mean task. And like always, Dravid has taken his job seriously. And why not, this is his only way to be close to what he has been doing for over 16 years.
The new, in your face Dravid, was at display during RR’s second match of this season against Kolkata Knight Riders. Dravid was overjoyed to see the back of dangerman Jacques Kallis in the second last ball of the 2nd over. The very next ball, his bowler Amit Singh got KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir caught behind and Dravid was on cloud nine and he showed it.
But when in the next over, Ankeet Chavan trapped Brendon McCullum right in front, making it three in three for the Jaipur side, Dravid was at the peak of his carousing. Three wickets in three balls for any team and any player in the world would be an amazing feat to celebrate, but if it was Dravid of pre-retirement, he would have been only flashing his million-watt smile with a pat on the shoulder of the bowler and the fielder involved.
But then, at that moment against KKR, not a single player or journalists or experts would have realized this, but in retrospect it is definitely a welcome revolution in the otherwise meticulous-methodical-in-everything Dravid. His actual retirement from cricket will only start once finishes this maddening season of IPL. The numerous trophies, kit bags and his whites and blues are yet untouched, lying all around. His wife Vijeta will surely be waiting for him to come home for once, without a visa to travel elsewhere again very soon.