The Gentleman and the Brute

IPL fever has gripped the nation again and I’m enjoying every second of the action that is unfolding in the 2nd edition. Yes, the move from India to SA was unfortunate (I was planning to go to a couple of matches here in Bangalore), however, the even contest between bat and ball that we are witnessing in SA has more than made up for the disappointment of not getting to watch the action from the stands.

Cricket, they say, is a gentleman’s game. Hard to believe when you see brats such as Harbhajan Singh, Andrew Symonds, Ricky Ponting, and Shahid Afridi playing the game at the highest level. Mercifully, we also have some international players who are on the other side of the spectrum. Sachin Tendulkar, Michael Hussey, VVS Laxman, and Daniel Vettori. Players who know how to compete and play hard without being overbearing, in-your-face and boorish. Players who know how to handle the fame and adulation, players who conduct themselves with dignity, both on and off the field. And the player who sits at the top of this pile is Rahul Dravid. If I were to edit the Oxford Dictionary, I would write Rahul Dravid against the word Gentleman. His demeanour, body language, choice of words, even the shots he plays exude class and sophistication. The silken drives through cover, the delicate glides through third man, the wristy flicks through midwicket are a treat to the eyes. It seems as though the ball is being persuaded to go to the boundary rather than being smashed; as though the ball decides to go on its own accord, paying respect to the quality of the strokes being played.  Continue reading