Cardiff: Many things have happened to Rahul Dravid on this England tour. He made his maiden century at Lord's, fulfilling a desire that was born the day he made 95 on Test debut at the ground 15 years ago. He opened for the entire Test series barring the first innings of the first Test, and ended up with the Player of the Series trophy on the visitors' side. He walked in the second innings of the third Test at Edgbaston believing the umpire's word for a caught-behind when replays conclusively showed the ball had kissed an aglet on his left shoe-lace. He was shocked to hear the news that the he was part of the Indian one-day squad as reinforcement after injuries had ruled many of the frontline players. He played his first and last Twenty20 international where he hit three consecutive sixes, the most by an Indian in the match. Tomorrow Dravid will not only pull curtains on a "bittersweet" tour but also on his one-day career. Luckily Dravid does not mind that one bit.
Today Dravid was expansive, clear and even tinged his answers with a pinch of wit while facing the media on the eve of his final one-day match. Throughout his career Dravid's was an image of a man unsatisfied, of a man who despite all his achievements and humility, was struggling to prove something to himself, more than to the outside world. In some ways his battle with the self always benefited Indian cricket as he grew into the role of crisis manager. He climbed up the batting ladder to occupy a permanent position in the top order primarily at three and four where his best batting was seen.
Being a grafter at the first-class level, Dravid found life difficult in his formative years in the one-day game. But once he returned in 1999 having faced the axe a few times in his first three years, he transformed himself into a batsman who could pace an innings cleverly despite never going for the slog. He even led India, kept wickets, and moved up and down the order in search of pressure situations. He did everything that was asked of him and more. Today he explained how he could pull it off.