What does Rahul Dravid make of one of his briefest entries and exits from the Indian team? Is he hurt, upset, angry, disturbed? Or is he too familiar with the whimsical world of team selections and, at this stage of his career, knows how to get on with life without getting too disturbed at the skulduggery of those who run Indian cricket?
I ask myself this question, as it is not possible for me to get into the mind of one of the calmest batsmen India and the world has seen. To term his approach to batting as stoic may not be an inappropriate term, but has he taken his sojourn with the Indian one-day team as a dalliance forced on him, and now, that he has been ejected, does he give a damn?
Hard to say, unless the man decides to speak and this is unlikely till the time he is playing. There is a lot Dravid has gone through, seen and done, and one day we may possibly see the man unburden himself and tell the world the story of his life lived as a cricketer. Till then, all we can do is speculate, pick up bits of information, facts, gossip and draw a hazy sketch which can never depict the real picture.
Why am I getting into all this now? I was the one who had termed his recall to the one-day side as a regressive step and felt that all this could end up in was embarrassing one of the greatest players of all time, something totally avoidable at this late stage of a great career.
I had conveyed my reasoning to Dravid as well, well before I wrote my column and even told him about the nasty mails I got, especially from a reader who was incensed at my insinuation that his recall could have been due to the ‘South’ nexus in the board.
If Dravid was angry at my questioning his recall, he did not show it. He responded to my queries with politeness and we even had an exchange of good-natured banter at the hate mail I got.
The impression I got then was that he too was not sure whether his recall was due to injuries to some of the players, or because India had had enough of the youngsters. Did the selectors value Dravid on his own merit or was he a stopgap arrangement?
His return may not have been phenomenal, but he fulfilled the role demanded of him adequately and did not let the team down. His recall may have even surprised him, but his dropping, without even sounding him, was grossly unfair.
Knowing how Indian cricket administration functions, I doubt if Dravid was taken into confidence either at the time of his recall or before dumping him once again. Whatever the merits and demerits of his recall, and dropping, this is no way to treat someone who, without doubt, is one of our finest batsmen of all time.