Happy Birthday Rahul Dravid: These incredible stories prove why former India captain is a gentleman on and off the field

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First Published 11, Jan 2019, 1:57 PM IST
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Happy Birthday Rahul Dravid: These incredible stories prove why former India captain is a gentleman on and off the field
Highlights

His stellar career as one of the world's top batsmen and now, as a coach post retirement has taught a lot of people many lessons - both in and out of cricket. Here is a look at some of the life lessons one could learn from the genial Dravid.

There are very few cricketers in the world, past or present, who are admired for their personality as former Indian great Rahul Dravid, and the admiration stretches across nations. His stellar career as one of the world's top batsmen and now, as a coach post retirement has taught a lot of people many lessons - both in and out of cricket.

Here is a look at some of the life lessons one could learn from the genial Dravid.

 

1 Wrote a letter to Engalnd’s Kevin Pietersen to give some batting advice

English batsman Kevin Pietersen had played with Rahul Dravid in the second season of Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Royal Challengers of Bangalore (RCB). Pietersen was having great difficulty while facing the left-arm spinners of Bangladesh, especially Shakib Al Hasan in 2010. Rahul Dravid sent him an email on how to play spin and Pietersen wrote about it in his autobiography.

“Rahul was a great and heroic Indian batsman in his day. He is also a genius at dealing with spin bowlers. Our conversations and emails were a private masterclass from a genuine guru,” Pietersen wrote in the book.

“Rahul improved my cricket and helped me develop the way I think about the game. His generosity will stay with me always,” said Pietersen. This is one of the Dravid stories that shows how selfless he is.

2 Donated blood to patients when the whole world was busy with the Ice Bucket Challenge

There was a time when the “ice-bucket challenge” went viral and celebrities all over the posted media content on the internet involving an ice-bucket. At the same time, Dravid was busy donating blood to the needy patients in Bangalore.

In spite of doing service for a social cause, he never demanded any publicity. It shows he has such a good soul and is equally capable of helping everyone around him on and off the field. There were many big names such as Yuvraj Singh, Chris Gayle and Pietersen who posted their videos on social media of their respective ice bucket challenges, but “The Wall” was busy doing something else.

3 Refused to coach the Indian senior team

He is currently the coach of the Under-19 and India A men's teams.

Dravid was the head coach of the Under-19 team that won the U-19 World Cup which was held in New Zealand last year. He was not keen on taking charge of the senior side and rather wanted to work with the junior team to enrich the talents among the youth. That was a great gesture by Dravid to make sure the future international stars are groomed properly.

Many big stars have emerged during Under-19 World Cups over the years. Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh were the finds of the 2000 U-19 World Cup, while current Indian captain Virat Kohli prospered during the 2008 edition. And many might say that India’s future will be in safe hands with Dravid nurturing the next generation.

4 When Dravid saved Sanjay Manjrekar and pointed out his mistake

In the ‘City of Joy’ at a media event involving Sanjay Manjrekar and Dravid, the former said something about the “Prince of Kolkata” Sourav Ganguly which apparently seemed to be leg-pulling with an immature comment. Dravid immediately stopped the shoot and asked for a retake saying “I don’t want people in Kolkata offended. Skip that Sanjay.” Ganguly has a huge fan following in his hometown.

Ganguly and Dravid have played together for a very long time, making their Test debuts in the same Test match back in 1996. Both of them share many memorable partnerships, wins and losses together and the elegant right-hander was in no mood to drag the name of Ganguly through the mud, even for some laughs.

5 Helped a Paralympian when it mattered the most

Sharath Gayakwad was helped to a large extent by Dravid. Gayakwad is a budding Indian Paralympic swimmer from Bangalore. Once in his career, he was in a dilemma whether to quit swimming or not. Dravid seemed to be the perfect remedy for his confusion. He had talks with Gayakwad and explained him on how to handle pressure by giving examples from his career.

The swimmer went on to win six medals at the 2014 Asian Games with one silver and five bronze. This incident took place as a part of the GoSports Foundation in 2014, where he was a member of the board of advisors for Indian athletes who would represent India at the Olympics and Paralympics in the future.

6 Fulfilled a fan’s wish who was suffering from cancer

Dravid has been a player who has always been there for the Indian team in tough times; he is not an exception outside the cricket world also. Once, when a young fan of his was suffering from cancer and wanted to meet him, he did not let the man down.

The former cricketer had a chat with him on Skype for more than an hour and also apologised to him for not attending him personally. A gentleman in its true sense is the man from Bangalore. It is obvious that Dravid checks his mails regularly, so when he read the mail from the patient about his desire to meet the legend he made arrangements to fulfill the young man’s wish.

7 When Dravid decided to do ‘something extra’ for the underprivileged kids

Dravid was to show 25 underprivileged children how to bat and play the various strokes in the book. The organisers wanted to record all his strokes on a video and hence wanted him to explain each and every stroke as per the contract. But Dravid, citing the kids had little interest told the organisers that there was no need to go into such technical details as the kids were young and wanted to play, so he didn’t want to bore them. So he shortened the batting chat and played with them.

However, the story doesn’t end here.

He signed out bats for the kids and played a catching game with them after the cricket game ended and told the children, “Kids, technique and all is great, but what’s important is that you play cricket to enjoy the game. Study hard when you’re in school and have fun while playing cricket.”

He also realised that he didn’t complete a part of his contract and told the organiser and the producer, “That latter half, we rushed it a bit for the kids. They were losing focus. I’ll do it again some other day if it’s ok. I didn’t want them to get bored.”

Here was a man who was one of India’s greatest batsmen ever, and he didn’t create any fuss at all. This was one of the best Dravid stories that showcased his humility.

8 Dravid refused doctorate degrees twice

Dravid was nominated for an honorary doctorate degree by Gulbarga University and Bangalore University, but he declined them. The cause of his rejection was very noble as Dravid said rather than an honorary degree he would prefer to earn one through research.

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