I know I have promised myself to gradually steer away from cricket and move on to other sports, but like all my other important resolutions, this one too is proving to be quite a challenge, especially with the recent histrionics of Virat Kohli.
But Rahul Dravid’s retirement announcement is a strong signal that the last gentleman was bidding adieu to the game which can no longer be called a gentleman’s game. What with B grade starlets, match-fixing allegations, racial abuses, titillating autobiographies and of course the mother-of-all-disasters in the form of the IPL, cricket has turned into a mediocre Bollywood potboiler, with lots of money at stake, lots of larger-than-life egoistic heroes and a voyeuristic audience.
This post is not about Dravid or his decision to gracefully step down: there is nothing I can say that would do justice to the respect I have for him. Rather this is a tribute to that endangered species of men who still have some semblance of humility, pride and honour, who can still hold their own without resorting to loud desperation, who can still command respect rather than demanding it.
In an increasingly power-hungry world with an attention span which can barely process a twitter feed, aggression is in, gentility is a passé, be it in the field, in the parliament or in the pub. No wonder T-20 is more popular than Test cricket, comic books are fast replacing classics and sms is giving way to snail mail. Small is indeed beautiful, but there is an old-world charm about authenticity, about the unabridged version, about tradition, about quiet dignity.
There is something about the 'nice guy' who doesn't need to kick others to finish first, who doesn't mind paying for dinner even if the girl bores him to death, who doesn't have to punch people to prove he is a man.
There is something about Rahul Dravid…