Have you ever wondered why neither Sachin Tendulkar nor Rahul Dravid ever talk of retirement? Both, by standards of modern sport, are senior citizens, have spent 38 years in international cricket and scored close to 58,000 runs. These champions have climbed every peak and yet there is no slowing down, no hint of being tired.
Surely, at their age it must be difficult to carry on, let alone take the stress of competing with kids. As the years go by, the body starts protesting, muscles ache and bones complain. Add to this, the discomfort of being on the road for long spells and there is enough reason for most to lose motivation.
It is Indian cricket's good fortune that this stereotype does not apply to Tendulkar and Dravid. They make runs, lots of them, and also a significant statement about succeeding consistently by overcoming odds. There is a lesson for every kid who holds a bat in his hand and nurtures a dream in his heart. Excellence, for Tendulkar and Dravid, is a result of relentless focus, total commitment and severe discipline. Both practice a rigorous work ethic that filters all distractions.
Yet, their methods are different. Tendulkar will spend quality time with family, choose to be at Wimbledon's Centre Court instead of a Test ground in the West Indies. During the off-season, he is known to switch off, happy to recharge his batteries through complete inactivity.
Pupil and professor
Dravid refuses such luxury. He will hit the gym everyday, during season or off-season, pushing weights, pounding the treadmill, hitting hundreds of balls in the net. He is both a student and professor of cricket, rich in experience but always hungry for more knowledge. In some ways, he is also the modern corporate manager, believes in taking care of things that can be controlled and not worrying over those he can't influence.
As self-driven professionals, both have trained their minds to triumph over body, which is why Tendulkar, despite his centuries, thousands of runs and countless crores, shows no signs of the drive letting up. Same is the case with Dravid, who is busy reinventing himself, playing the crude heave over mid-wicket as effortlessly as the crunchy cut through point.