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Dravid's work ethic an example for the others

india Updated: Aug 08, 2011 23:42 IST
Amrit Mathur
Amrit Mathur
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

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Mohammad Ali said he could dance in the ring only because he ran miles on the road. Rahul Dravid, otherwise unlike the champion boxer, says his mantra is similar. Asked about his recent batting form, Dravid said he gets "joy by spending time in the nets".

Usually, players' bytes and quotes are inane as routine questions posed to them get routine answers. And when something tricky is asked, the response of the seasoned pro is correct and careful.

That's why, what Dravid said captures your attention. His statement, like the man himself, is an insight into his work ethic, a reason for his consistent excellence. He is an artist who fusses over technique in an unending search for improvement.

Besides telling us what works for him, Dravid is also giving others a subtle message that there is no short cut to success. The only way to dance in the ring or ease gracefully into a cover drive is to put in the hard yards during training.

One glance at the India team is enough to realise that players would do well to turn up regularly at the gym and hit a million balls at the nets.

Such dedication is possible, says Dravid, only if one enjoys the grind, not treat it as punishment that has to be endured. The successful marathon runner runs the extra mile because he enjoys pounding the road.

The most compelling message from Dravid's 'joy from spending time in the nets' theory is that the player is responsible for himself - it boils down to his effort, commitment and drive.

In this context, when India are falling apart in England, we can blame fate, the BCCI (for poor scheduling and packed calendar), testing conditions, unfortunate injuries and whatever else.

But the fundamental reality is players have to work on their fitness to keep both mind and body in peak condition to perform.

Since his debut in 1996, Dravid has been India's most reliable man, who has done everything asked of him. Amazingly successful and selfless, his is a sane, dignified voice in the noise that surrounds Indian cricket. So, pay attention.