Rahul Dravid has been chosen by Cricket Australia (CA) and the Bradman Foundation to deliver the annual Sir Donald Bradman Oration on December 14 in Canberra a day before India's first practice tie at the Manuka Oval ahead of the traditional Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on December 26.
CA's General Manager of Public Affairs, Peter Young said that Dravid's phenomenal record against Australia in their own backyard coupled with his high acumen level influenced the decision. "Cricket is a noble game, and has a noble appeal. We wanted a distinguished individual with a high acumen level who would participate in the Test series between India and Australia.
Our outgoing chairman (Jack Clarke) had heard Dravid's speech at Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) earlier this year and could not look any further. He felt that Dravid was a very thoughtful individual and a great orator.
When we contacted him (Dravid), he obliged immediately," Young told MiD DAY from Melbourne yesterday.
The first Bradman Oration was delivered by then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, in August 2000 and subsequent Orations have been delivered by Sir Michael Parkinson, Richie Benaud, Alan Jones, General Peter Cosgrove, Ricky Ponting, Greg Chappell and Sir Tim Rice.
"We've had some non-Australians deliver the speech, but Dravid would be the first Indian to make his presence felt in an evening that has become a significant annual affair in Australia. More than that, he's a great Indian voice, an eminent name, and his record against Australia is phenomenal.
Sir Don played cricket against India in the late 1940s. That's why we are also proposing to honour the Australian teams that travelled to England and India during that period. There was an Australian services team that travelled to India.
That was a very important part of the consciousness of Australia's history because it was when cricket returned after the Second World War. It's also the reason the lecture will be held at the Australian War Memorial. We are certain that Dravid is someone who is aware of all these things and will do total justice to a special evening. He enjoys great respect here (in Australia)," he concluded.