If you wanted to know how and why Rahul Dravid scored more than 13,000 test runs and took a world record 200 plus catches, you just had to be present at the 6th Dilip Sardesai memorial lecture. He was bang on time, dressed immaculately in jacket and tie, and had written a detailed speech.Perfection: that word symbolises Dravid the man and the cricketer. He may not have been blessed with a talent of a Tendulkar or even a Laxman, but his sheer pursuit of excellence, of pushing himself to higher peaks, meant that he eventually became the Wall of Indian cricket ( I prefer to call him a 'mountain') and a role model on how to carry yourself on and off the field.
Rahul spoke that evening on cricket's oral traditions, the guru shishya parampara that meant that skills were passed from one generation to another. It was an attempt to link the present to the past, to remember that cricket is a continuum where one generation passes on the baton to another. It's a tradition that has served Mumbai and Indian cricket well for decades: on the city's maidans, you have selfless coaches training hundreds of youngsters dreaming to be the next Sachin. I asked Rahul if he would like to be the next India coach. He smiled enigmatically, saying he wasn't at that stage of his life to take up the coaching responsibility. But I sense he is the perfect coach-mentor of Indian cricket: someone who will inspire others with his own story of courage and commitment. By the way, he is the first speaker at the annual lecture who came with a written speech! Listen to it and relive the spirit of this great game.
Full speech at ESPN Cricinfo : http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/video_audio/780251.html?genre=46