Rahul Dravid © IANS
Rahul Dravid delivered the sixth annual Dilip Sardesai memorial lecture © IANS

By Abhijit Banare

In a neatly crafted speech which lasted less than 30 minutes, Rahul Dravid expressed his thoughts on cricket’s great oral traditions delivering the sixth Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture. He shared anecdotes from his father, coach and former cricketers which went a long way in shaping his cricketing career. He remembered many personalities who had believed in the oral tradition and one of them being the man in whose memory the lecture was held — the late Dilip Sardesai. Dravid concluded his speech with an anecdote remembering Sardesai’s passion for the game and pursuit for guiding players to aim for a solid technique.

“As I was finishing writing out this speech, I got an email from Shishir Hattangadi, in which he told me about meeting Mr Sardesai in hospital on the day he passed away. Despite being weak and ill, the first question he asked Shishir was, ‘did you watch the game?’ and then talked about how I should play the short ball on leg-stump. The debate ended with Mr Sardesai saying that a good Test player needn’t worry about the format, his technique will see him through. Shishir described the situation perfectly to me: His pursuit for technical excellence in batsman was still flowing in his blood stream even as he fought destiny.”

Sardesai had often praised  Dravid’s technique in the past. Sardesai was considered a technically solid batsman himself. However, the description of the above moment had more to it. The session moved on towards the Question & Answer session where the former Indian skipper responded to many contemporary questions on chucking, the T20 era, wives/girlfriends accompanying cricketers on tour and others.

It was towards the end of the session, Dilip’s Son Rajdeep Sardesai remembered the final anecdote from Dravid and added an interesting detail to it. Rajdeep recalled that his father was watching the match in hospital and was livid that a player of Dravid’s calibre was done in against a short ball by what he (Dilip Sardesai) considered as an average Irish fast bowler. Dravid indeed sported a little smile as everyone had a good laugh about it.

[Note: The match in question was actually against South Africa at Belfast. India had played a three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against the Proteas after a one-off ODI against Ireland. In the second ODI of the series, the ‘average bowler’ in question here was South African bowler Charl Langeveldt. Langeveldt had dropped one short and climbed on to the batsman; Dravid tried to fend it away on the leg-side and ended up getting a leading edge resulting in a simple catch for the bowler.]

This match was played on June 29, 2007 and Dilip Sardesai passed away on July 2, 2007.

Read more about the sixth Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture delivered by Rahul Dravid here

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)