Rahul Dravid’s obsession for perfection is quite well known. But the former India captain admitted that his critical analysis of his game complicated things for him at times.
Dravid, arguably India’s greatest Test cricketer, had no qualms in accepting the ‘intellectual cricketer’ tag that was attached to him for his thinking nature. “I have always been curious about my game. This has been my strength and weakness as well. At times, yes, I thought too much (about my game). Sree (Javagal Srinath) and Anil (Kumble) would tell me to enjoy the game,” he said during the book launch of Timeless Steel, a compilation of ESPNCricinfo articles on Dravid, at a city hotel in Worli yesterday.
While reflecting on failure during his maiden tour to Australia in 1999-2000, he accepted that he complicated things. “I was so eager to do well on that tour. I thought too much. I was consumed with thoughts that doing well in Australia will help me earn respect from my senior teammates.
“Then I went to play county cricket in England. There were less people watching you. That helped me free up a bit. Even books helped me release my thoughts,” he said.
Dravid explained the reason behind his obsessive thinking. “I was never a prodigious talent. I had to work through my game. I always had to fight for my runs. So, maybe, that is why this foundation (thinking nature),” said Dravid, who retired from international cricket in March this year, shortly after the 0-4 whitewash against Australia.
Sanjay Manjrekar, who was similar in approach, said he was concerned about the Bangalorean. “We were at a dinner table in Sri Lanka once where I saw Rahul practising, trying to get something right in his batting even while having his dinner. I was really concerned for him at that time. I too was like this and could relate to it,” said Manjrekar, who was on stage with commentator Harsha Bhogle.
Dravid said it is important to create an environment for youngsters to talk cricket. “Nowadays, there is very less talk among youngsters about the game, which is one the sad things happening in cricket. There are also many distractions. There is external entertainment available now.
“I remember the long train journeys during my time. In fact, a lot of my learning about the game happened during that time. You would talk endlessly to your senior players or eavesdrop into their conversations. That sort of environment is also not there now,” he said.
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