Indian cricketing legend, Rahul Dravid, celebrated his 47th birthday on Saturday. Dravid, popularly known as 'The Wall', is still regarded as one of the best No.3 batsmen that India ever produced in Test cricket. The right-handed batsman, who made his debut for India in 1996 at Lord's, went on to play 164 Tests, 334 ODIs and 1 T20I in an illustrious career which spanned for over 16 years.
Dravid was a mainstay in the Indian cricket team for more than 15 years. He made the No. 3 position his own. He amassed as many as 13288 runs in Tests and 10889 runs in ODIs. He also played one T20I match wherein he scored 31 runs.
He was a gentleman in the truest of the sense. On the field and off the field, he stuck to his values. He also has a keen sense of the history of the game and is a well-read, articulate ambassador of the game.
In 2011, he was invited to speak at the Bradman Oration in Adelaide, becoming the first non- Australian todo so. And after 38 minutes of addressing the crowd, his speech came to an end and he deservedly got a standing ovation from the entire audience.
Rahul Dravid's birthday just passed. I thought his best performance was the 2011 Don Bradman Oration. An excerpt shared below. (Credit: Sportskeeda) pic.twitter.com/i5klr3xztk— Kunal Singh (@d_extrovert) January 12, 2020
Rahul Dravid's speech was so good that the speaker next year, Gideon Haigh, said the following in his opening remarks. (Credit: ESPNCricinfo) pic.twitter.com/ITyZQSzZeg— Kunal Singh (@d_extrovert) January 12, 2020
In his speech, he touched upon several important issues that cricket faced and talked about how to face them.
Here are a few quotes from the half-hour long speech.
“For one generation of fans in my country, those who grew up in the 1930s, when India was still under British rule, (Don) Bradman represented a cricketing excellence that belonged to somewhere outside England. To a country taking its first steps in Test cricket, that meant something. His success against England at that time was thought of as our personal success. He was striking one for all of us ruled by the common enemy. Or as your country has so poetically called them, the Poms.”
“My own link with Bradman was much like that of most other Indians - through history books, some old video footage and his wise words. About leaving the game better than you found it. About playing it positively, as Bradman, then a selector, told Richie Benaud before the 1960-61 West Indies tour of Australia. Of sending a right message out from cricket to its public. Of players being temporary trustees of a great game.
While there may be very little similarity in our records or our strike-rates or our fielding - and I can say this only today in front of all of you - I am actually pleased that I share something very important with Sir Don.
He was, primarily, like me, a No.3 batsman. It is a tough, tough job.”
Here's a video of his 38-minute-long speech.
His love for the country and cricket still shows as he has taken up the role of coaching the junior Indian sides (India U-19, India A). He is also the head of the National Cricket Academy (NCA).