Rahul Sharad Dravid, yes that’s his full name. Hailed in the cricketing world as “The Wall” for his tremendous ability to stay on the pitch against any bowling attack, Rahul is also regarded as a very self-effacing and unassuming person. A true gentleman to have played the “Gentlemen’s game”, his down-to-earth attitude has made him a real life champion, even after he retired from playing all forms of cricket.
Here are some instances which illustrate his humility and touch our hearts, proving the fact that you need to be a good human being first before anything else.
1. Ensures that the U-19 support staff is paid equally, by taking a pay cut himself as the team coach
When his U-19 side won the Cricket World Cup in, BCCI announced a cash reward of Rs. 50 lakhs for the coach and Rs. 30 lakhs and Rs. 20 lakhs for the support staff. Rahul took up his reservations with the BBCI and ensured that every support staff got equal amount of Rs. 25 lakhs. He took a hefty 50% cut on his reward money.
2. Standing in a queue at his children’s school
While attending a science exhibition in his children’s school, he stood in a queue with no celebrity airs. He conducted himself like any other parents who came to school, which shows his modest nature.
3. When he was asked if he would mentor visually challenged cricketers
His humble response was that it was he who would require some mentoring from these specially abled players, as he felt that they do much bigger things than what he could do.
4. Made a terminally ill fan’s wish come true
Akshay Dhoke was suffering from Lukemia and was a huge Rahul Dravid fan. He expressed his desire to talk to him. When Rahul got to know of this, he took out time from his busy schedule and chatted with him over Skype for over an hour. Rahul even apologized to Akshay for not being able to meet him in person.
5. Politely turned down receiving an Honorary Degree from Bangalore University in 2017
While he thanked the University for considering him for the honor, he declined receiving the same as he deemed he has not done anything to ‘earn’ it, and would obtain one through research in the field of sports.
6. No qualms flying economy class
Once he was flying in economy class, when people around him came to take selfies and his autograph. Rahul realized that the crowd was blocking the way for other passengers to board and causing them inconvenience. He politely asked everyone to step aside for others to board. Later on, he obliged everyone with pictures and interacted with them too.
7. Travels by public transport when in Bengaluru
Rahul Dravid often takes an auto rickshaw to travel in the city, unlike other players who travel in their swanky cars or bikes . He does not seem to have forgotten being a common man he once was.
8. When Rahul advised Kevin Pietersen on how to play spin better
Kevin and Rahul played together for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL for a couple of seasons. Kevin had struggled to play Bangladeshi spinners in a tour earlier and asked Rahul’s advice on how to play spin. In his book ‘KP: The Autobiography’, Kevin Pietersen published a letter that Rahul had written to him, advising him on how to overcome his shortcoming. Kevin Pietersen later said “The kindness, generosity and the time he took to write that email and as simple as he made it sound, it was so beneficial to me. It was beneficial for English cricket too as I managed to sort out a deficiency in my technique, which assisted England because it helped me perform a lot better for my country.”
9. When his selfie with Mohammad Hafeez won hearts across the border
Pakistan’s batsman Mohammad Hafeez once bumped with the wall on a flight to New Zealand. Humbled to meet Dravid, the Pakistani cricketer expressed his happiness over Twitter.
10. Always ready to lend a helping hand
Rahul was once called over by the head coach of his childhood club to play for them to prevent the team from getting downgraded to a lower division. Even though he had hung up his cricketing boots, he obliged the club by playing the match. Not only did he score a century, the team won the match too.
11. Taking his order in a café by approaching the counter, like any other patron
You hardly see any celebrity do that. He did not bother the waiters there and instead just walked up to the counter, placed his order, paid cash and returned to his seat to enjoy the meal with his family.
12. Giving it back to the game of Cricket
After his retirement, Rahul Dravid could have easily opted for the high profile job of Indian cricket team coach. He however chose to coach the India A side and the U-19 team, to shape up the future of Indian cricket. His efforts have produced talented youngsters like Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Shubham Gill, Ishan Kishan and others.
13. Doing his bit for sports other than cricket
After his immense contributions to Indian cricket, Rahul Dravid joined GoSports Foundation with an aim to play a part in developing and mentoring the junior Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
14. Giving a splendid performance off the field too
Once Rahul Dravid was asked to autograph and hand over some cricket bats to a few underprivileged children. Rahul being who he is, not only signed and gifted the bats, but also played a short game of cricket with these kids and made their day.
15. Always respectful and considerate towards his fans
A group of Rahul’s fan went to meet their cricket idol at his place, but came to know that he had lost his father a day earlier. Rahul did not let them go back dejected, knowing that they had come from very far. He met these fans and also clicked pictures with them.
Rahul Dravid’s contribution to Indian Cricket is immense and second to none. He would always be remembered not only as a great ambassador of the game, but also for being a thorough gentleman, both on and off the field.