However, he could not break into the playing eleven. He went back to the domestic circuit and kept knocking harder. Dravid was selected for the Indian squad touring England on the backdrop of a consistent performance in domestic cricket for five years. Dravid had already been informed that he would play if Manjrekar fails the test.

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He is the epitome of the highest standard of virtue and dedication displayed by a sportsperson who has represented his country at the international level.

Therefore, any book that attempts to chart him as that hero, both on and off the field, has to reflect in astute detail as to why he is so.

For those who ardently follow Cricinfo, the book might seem repetitive as most of the written pieces come from the site itself with minor tweaks and expansions. The cover thus makes it an attractive buy for the ardent cricket fan. That said, the book cannot be judged solely by its cover. The verdict has to be based on a two-pronged question, i. And, does it do justice in bringing out the essence of Rahul Dravid, one of the greatest players to have played the game and as effectively as possible?

The book, by and large, does succeed in making a fine addition to your collection. Structurally, it first sets about looking at Dravid, the player. The segment successfully brings out the fact that Dravid always remained a student of the sport, willing to evolve his game to suit the needs of the team.

Complementing the segment on his persona as a player, are the tributes from his peers. While the usual adherence to his immense concentration seems to be the underlying theme across the book, the words of his contemporaries bring about his qualities as a team man.

The latter even more so, as he formed a bond with Dravid as his coach for both Kent and later, India. What makes the experience thoroughly enjoyable is the fact that it covers his county stint where he is supposed to be looked at as a senior mentor guiding a club over a strenuous schedule in England. The book further reviews his greatest innings; landmarks that have stood out in his career. To most who have followed his career, Kolkata, Leeds, Adelaide, Rawalpindi, Jamaica and Trent Bridge, the innings mentioned in the book, may find easy reference; but for me personally, this list sells the man a little short.

Dravid was never touted as a great ODI player but someone who has scored over 10, ODI runs must have had some defining moments as a one-day player. Also, the 76 at Lahore in to bring back India in the ODI series against arch rivals Pakistan was another memorable innings. The numbers somehow do not show the effort he put in for the team as the wicketkeeper in odd ODIs.

With the cricketer being shown first, his peers holding him in the highest possible regard next, the third segment shows Rahul Dravid outside the jersey. The works show him in the best possible light. So much so, that sometimes you feel — is he that good? Especially after the words of his peers, a segment such as the last one may seem like hyperbole.

However, the effect is not that bad. The strength of the piece is based on the strength of character of the man about whom it is being written. Vijeeta Dravid gives an account of the spouse which shows that behind the calm and the poise, lies an endearing father and husband.

In a tongue-in-cheek way, she brings to light that the wall would crumble if asked to change the nappies of his one-year-old in the dead of the night after keeping the bowlers at bay all day in the Trinidad heat.

Apart from celebrating his life till now, the book also showcases interviews by the man himself at different stages of his career. His conversations culminate in his speech at the Bradman Oration in Australia last year, which has been lauded by one and all as one of the most delightful insights into cricket in the present day.

Advertisement To conclude, I would say the book is not definitive; it is not supposed to be. It is supposed to give an ovation to a person who is truly a great ambassador for the sport. It starts off with its heart in the right place but in certain aspects, does let you down by not giving you something that you expect.

Though as a disclaimer, I would certainly say that I have been a diehard fan of Rahul Dravid and the book gave me quite a few delightful moments of pleasant surprise by enhancing my knowledge about the man. A must buy!

Published 25 Jul , IST.


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