Thank you for reminding us that cricket still remains a gentleman’s game by walking off after a wonderfully constructed 95 at the Mecca of Cricket, at Lords. Never has so much been asked on someone at his debut & never has it been answered better
Thank you for that unbeaten 27 against SA at the wicked Kingsmead, Durban, when the entire team collapsed to 66. An absolute ignominy for the team but a sample of your immense grit, resilience & technique. As Kipling said “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs….”
Thank you for an absolutely fabulous 148, one that stood out for its technical purity & grace under fire. One that could have led to India’s 1st victory in South Africa, thwarted by inclement weather & a gritty resistance from the S African tail
Thank you for being part of the greatest comebacks in cricketing history. That partnership with VVS. The look & determination in your eyes when you hit the century & gestured towards the press & commentary box that snidely criticized you. The knock coming despite the fact you had been demoted down the order. The mental & physical will to grit it out the whole day to create something truly special & lead India to victory in what is one of the greatest wins ever
Thank you for that punchy 81 against Australia in the series decider in Chennai, in tempo altering stand with Sachin & for that astounding straight six off Jason Gillespite, setting up the stage for a large Indian lead, leading to the greatest Indian series win
Thank you for that counter-attacking 75 against SL at Kandy, in an Indian team missing Sachin & Laxman, setting the stage, for Ganguly to take India to a 4th innings chase. Taking the attack to Murali who had the young Indian batting line up mesmerized, through classic on-drives & cover drives, getting right up to the pitch of the ball, was a classic demonstration on how to play top quality spin on a turner
Thank you for keeping going when a lesser person would have given up, when you rode that Mervyn Dillon bouncer on your jaw, & scoring a precious unbeaten 144 to help India to a draw in West Indies
Thank you for the 148 at Headingly. No words really required to describe that knock. A knock that essentially forced people to reevaluate you vis-à-vis Sachin, so much so, that you were awarded the Man of the Match despite Sachin’s 193
Thanks for Adelaide
Thanks again for Adelaide (for the 2nd innings)
Thanks again for Adelaide for plucking THAT catch to get rid of Damien Martyn. Another thanks for a similar effort to get rid of Steve Waugh
Thanks again for Adelaide for extreme selflessness in denying single after single despite being close to your double century, to protect your partner towards the end of day’s play & ending the day at 199*
Thanks to the series winning knock of 270 against Pakistan. A knock that where on you struggled enormously but never gave up until you found your range & a gloriously struck lofted cover drive over long off was the icing on the cake
Thanks for the twin knocks of 81 & 68 on a pitch straight out of hell at Sabina Park. On a track where no one else seemed to survive, you seemed right comfortable in your elements. Thwarting not just the bowlers but also the minefield of a track, you crafted India’s series victory over the West Indies
Thank you for being the lone ranger on the disastrous England tour reeling off 3 centuries while all others were failing miserably. The fortress that refused to be breached. The monument that refused to crumble. The watch tower that refused to let anyone slip
Thank you for that defense, the broad blade with the manufacturer’s name that stopped many a rampaging fast bowler in their tracks unable to reconcile with the fact that a projectile hurled at over 80 miles an hour could just drop down quietly at your feet
Thank you for the classic cover drive. Left foot right to the pitch of the ball. Right foot slightly bent. Bat coming down in a flourish from the direction of third man. The wrists uncorking at the time of impact as the body weight transferred forward. Leaning, almost caressing, coaxing the ball with the rapier of the bat to the boundary
Thank you for that glorious on drive, the scourge of many a tweaker, surgically threading the gap between mid on & mid wicket, the ball all the while on the ground, purring away happily to the boundary
Thank you for being an absolutely immovable object for the opponents but a flexible team man for Team India. Opening the batting, shifting down the order, Wicket keeping, Handle the toughest bowlers, soak up the pressure, field at 1st slip, field at short leg, field at gully, you were there doing it all
Thank you for captaining us to series victories in England & WI while leading us to our 1st victory in SA.
Thank you for being one of the finest slip fielders for team India. You made catching look easy
Thank you for being passionate towards the game while upholding & paying your respects to it always. Thank you also for proving that there is more to the game than the game itself.
Thank you for proving that nice guys do not finish last
Thanks for giving grit a good name
Last but not the least, thank you for being the inspiration to a 14 year old, a remarkably bad bat, who cut your image out from a Reebok sports brochure & stuck it onto his bat, hoping that some of the magic would rub on. It quite didn’t but it inspired the boy to never stop fighting
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
PS: Had written a post a few years back on Dravid here. Those interested can check that one too.