Rahul Dravid and controversies do not know of one another’s existence. They can never be used in the same sentence. Miles apart, like the North Pole and the South Pole, may the two never meet. Rahul Dravid- whether you admire the rigidity against bowlers or the tenacious spirit- is a non-corrosive fabric of Indian cricket. He’s the Biblical text prescribing right conduct for a cricketer. In the annals of world cricket, it’s a cardinal sin to sledge Rahul Dravid, let alone despise him. For he has stood selflessly serving Indian cricket and continues to provide for its future by nurturing rising and promising talents.
But a few hours ago, Rahul Dravid, for no fault of his own, seemed to have sparked a controversy.
The Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators- a wholly independent body- massively impressed by Dravid’s coaching of the Under-19 in the World Cup recommended him for the Dronacharya Award. This is just an award. It’s the Academy Awards for coaches and gurus, who spend sleepless nights, toil endlessly for young talents at Under-14, Under-19 stages.
So what seems to be the problem with Dravid? It’s a simple one. BCCI isn’t concerned about Dravid’s efforts, rather the limited time frame he’s spent with India’s rising names as a coach to be warranted such a magnanimous decoration. It was in June 2015 that Dravid was appointed coach first for India-A team and then for the Under-19 unit. It’s hardly three years of time, submit the BCCI personnel in earnest pointing to coaches who’ve sweated it out for far longer in shaping the careers of Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav and others.
Why is the Dronacharya Award so important?
Dronacharya marks a legacy that might have originated in mythology. But extends well beyond touching the realm of permanence. It’s the parameter that defines coaching greatness and effectively serves as a yardstick against which coaches are to be judged. And rather, should be judged. Arjun’s weren’t made in a day, an unrivaled fact. The great Arjun was- from the factual standpoint of mythology and texts- under Guru Dronacharya’s tutelage since his youth and well into the tremors of the war-zone at Kurukshetra.
The likes of Shubhman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Shivam Mavi, have been under Dravid’s wing for little over three years. These are pious wings, fully dedicated to upbringing the next generation of cricketers. And where Dravid stands- you might give in to the whiff of romanticism thinking he’d encourage them to think of the game beyond the starry highs. To think of the game as a battleground where Karma- above anything- stands mighty. “You don’t play for revenge,” Dravid is known to have said; “You play for pride.”
Rahul Dravid deserves the Dronacharya Award, but maybe not now.
Thus, there’s no doubt why Dravid stands unsullied as the one figure deserving of this award. But maybe not now. Maybe it can wait for a while. Maybe he doesn’t need that award having being feted so well especially in his retirement from a game he was so seminal in lifting to standards of excellence.
The time is right to focus on the lonely soldiers who run the risk of being forgotten. The A.N. Sharma who shaped Sehwag, the Rajkumar Sharma who gave us Virat Kohli- cricket’s best batsman today tussling with Williamson and Root.
And knowing Dravid, who’s formerly refused doctorates and honorary scholarships (practicing the same abstinence that he stuck to in refusing to interact outside off) he might actually be pleased that through his rigors and nomination, India is engaged in a talking point about other unsung heroes.