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Rahul Dravid on 'cricket's great oral tradition'

Legendary cricketer has audience in splits at the sixth Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture

While the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Bishan Singh Bedi, Sourav Ganguly and Ravi Shastri tackled wide-ranging issues on the sport over the past few years, it was the turn of another former India captain Rahul Dravid to do the honours at the sixth Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture which he delivered at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) yesterday.

Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid delivers the Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture at Cricket Club of India yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate.

Needless to say, the batting great did a splendid job while speaking on ‘cricket’s great oral tradition.’ He recounted plenty of anecdotes that, at times, had the audience in splits. And one of the key take-aways from his well-researched talk was the vital role that stories and discussions play in the making of cricketers.

Illustrating an example, Dravid explained how he has become a crucial link between two generations of players.

“One person who I talked a lot with was Roger Binny. I lived close to Roger’s home (in Bangalore) so he would drop me back from the KSCA (Karnataka State Cricket Association) after practice,” he said. “Although there wasn’t much traffic back then and we’d reach home in 10 minutes, I almost always took home a lesson. I would also see a young Stuart playing some backyard cricket.

Roger Binny
Roger Binny

“Many years later, I found myself captaining Stuart and, while it did make me feel old, it did feel good. In my many talks with the two Binnys I am certain that on more than one occasion, I have just been the link – the transmitter of information from Roger to Stuart,” observed Dravid.

Stuart Binny
Stuart Binny

He continued on the current national selector: “Roger was a wonderful senior, approachable, helpful and someone who made a younger player feel comfortable. I remember appreciating that and learning from it; as an older player, I wanted youngsters to be comfortable talking to me about their game.

‘Trust your abilities’
Stuart was in the Indian team for the Test and one-day series in England which Dravid witnessed as a commentator.

“A short while ago, Stuart and I had a chat about what you needed to do to take your game to a higher level and I told him that he should trust himself and his abilities.

“That when you moved to a higher level you needed to be careful to keep that trust strong and not let yourself down mentally. To have faith in the hours and effort you took to get to where you were,” he revealed.

This was just one instance that had the audience eating out of his hands, and had it not been for the constraints of time, they would probably have enjoyed a longer session in the hallowed confines of the CK Nayudu Banquet Hall.

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