Rahul Dravid    Getty Images
Rahul Dravid Getty Images

Sep 12, 2014

That’s it from Mumbai, thank you for following the live updates of the sixth Dilip Sardesai Memorial lecture.


While the lecture concludes, Rajdeep Sardesai mentions that Dravid is the first of the six speakers of this memorial lecture who has brought a written speech.


Rajdeep Sardesai to Dravid: Do you think you’ll be a future India coach?

I think there’s a time and place for everything. I’ve enjoyed being in media and mentoring Rajasthan Royals. But yeah in future I would love to be a coach of an Indian team or even the Rajasthan Ranji team.

Which format is in danger?

I think ODI cricket without a context will struggle. All other ODI cricket should be geared towards preparing for World Cup and Champions Trophy. People can play lesser ODI cricket and focus more.



Do you think wives/girlfriends should be allowed?

I think wives, girlfriends should be allowed to travel with players. Wives, girlfriends, any gender (laughs) should be allowed. You can’t start blaming the wives and girlfriends for poor performance. In fact if you don’t allow them then that would be a bigger problem.


On the concept of Doosra: Do you think they chuck

I think ICC has a rule in place. When they reviewed a lot of old footage they found a lot of former cricketers were doing it too. Glenn McGrath also had a bend but let me make it clear McGrath wasn’t chucking. What I am glad about is they are strict about this.They also have kept it consistent.

We shouldn’t look at chucking as a crime. It’s like no-ball. Nobody says you are cheating. You should allow them to go back correct their action and come back.




If Indian players feel the need to play county cricket, do you think it is also necessary to get foreign players to play in our domestic cricket

I don’t know whether there are restrictions. You should open up the doors to allow foreign players to come here. I remember guys like Vikram Solanki and others trying.



Your most memorable knock outside subcontinent

The two innings that gave me the most satisfaction was scoring two fifties against West Indies at Jamaica in 2006. The series was tied and I felt pressured. To go and bat on such a terrible wicket, you know that this match won’t last for three days. I did score that double ton at Adelaide but these two fifties gave me a lot of satisfaction.


Question from audience: How is the oral tradition in international

Yes, I would say IPL has played a big role in it. Many times Kevin Pietersen at RCB used to talk to me about playing left-arm spin. Another example is Pravin Tambe, he spent a lot of time about listening and observing players like Brad Hodge how they bat in the death overs. Someone like Sanju Samson will seek out help from AB de Villiers. These conversations do happen and it should be encouraged more.


On whether Sehwag was unaware of the Mankad-Pankaj Roy opening record

People came to me and say, how could he play such a shot, you were close to the record. But the fact that we reached here was because Sehwag played that way.

When it comkes to record, if I had said about the record, then Viru would’ve said ‘eeh’ But I was aware of it, I was counting it down, I was hoping Viru will hit a boundary.



Harsha Bhogle begins the Question and Answer session.

Dravid on younger players caring about Tests:

Guys like Rahane, Kohli and Pujara don’t ask me questions about T20 but they keep asking me about Test cricket. I think they care a lot about it.

They are always willing to talk about it. But their touch with history is not as good as it should be. They live in the age of internet. They are willing to watch a YouTube clip about Gavaskar batting but they won’t go deep to research about it.


Dravid finishes his lecture with a small anecdote

While I was completing this speech I got a mail from Shishir Hattangadi, he narrated to me about the time he visited Dilip Sardesai in hospital in his final days. The first question he asked ‘Did you see the match the other day?’. A good player didn’t have to worry about formats, it will come through with his solid technique.


IPL is a hub of knowledge transfer: A good thing about IPL is players from different tradition and culture spent six weeks together and there’s a lot of exchange of information. It may not necessarily translate into runs but it does help in making them great ambassadors of the country.


On learning from former players: Time and again the stories from senior cricketers was of immense value. Dilip Sardesai was one from that legacy. He always had time for people. He was always generous of his time, humour and wisdom. And while we are at CCI, how can we forget Raj Singh Dungarpur who was the best story teller narrating anecdotes of Miller, Trueman, Mankad and others.

Now times have changed. Now even U-16 players fly from one place to another. Now there’s internet and clips on YouTube. There is still a lot of scope for oral tradition

As a cricketer you can learn from your colleagues as I tried with Anil [Kumble] and [Javagal] Srinath. They played for Indian four-five years before I did. I remember waiting for them to return so that I could ask, ‘How did that bowler bowl?’, ‘How did they set him up for the dismissal?’. I always had great belief in oral traditions. As much as I enjoyed analytics and video reviews, I always spoke to as many people as possible to gain first-hand information. The kind of information you get through chats like that is priceless. It is a different kind of coaching.

While I do not have any first-hand experience of Mumbai cricket apart from being on the other side in Ranji cricket. But I heard that passing on information was an integral part in making Mumbai the most successful domestic team in the country.

A prime example of this is the famous khadoos title associated with them. The word doesn’t even translate correctly, stubborn, dodged, unyielding, relentless or something between that. You can’t teach the khadoos attitude but you can only inculcate in them by sharing stories. For instance there is a story of Sunil Gavaskar batting left-handed to counter right-arm spinner Raghuram Bhatt and salvaging a draw in the 1981-82 Ranji semi-final. He batted right-handed to others and left-handed to one bowler. A youngster will never understand the genius batting until he hears the story from someone.

With oral communication, the tone of the speakers voice and emotions can be captured easily something internet or coaching manual cannot give you.

On learning while travelling by rail: The next part of this great oral tradition I found myself involved in, I owe it to the Indian Railways. Train journeys are a learning ground of their own and I took many of them. They formed an informal classroom of cricket learnings. It would take us 48 hours to travel to Eden Garden to play a Ranji match. I was lucky to play alongside Syed Kirmany and have Vishy as mentor. They loved story telling and talking about great players from across the cricket world. Until I heard it from Vishy I always thought it was impossible to see a really quick Michael holding delivery. The fact that Vishy could see their bowling made me more confident taking on our own bowlers back home. speaking of great West Indian fast bowlers and they were really enriching experience.

Syed Kirmani was the captain in my debut season for Karnataka and he noticed in my early days that I was a superstitious boy. He said there will be time were I wouldn’t be able to control these superstitions and it will affect my game. But when you hear these from a guy who has won the World Cup you take them seriously.


School coach: A little later , I was extremely fortunate as late. M. Keki Tarapore took me under his wings. I couldn’t have asked for a better coach. He was a mentor in every sense of the word. He instilled in me the value that helped me uphold the ethical standards of the game. I remember a story Keki sir telling when a 20-something player made his India debut. People actually went to Kanpur to see this player. He got out for a duck. People who went there were shattered. But then fortunately, Gundappa Viswanath scored a century in the second innings and they were relieved. Men like Ramakant [Achrekar] and Tarapore never expected anything in return. The relationship these coaches shared with their mentor is as important as they share with their parents. These relationships stay forever.


On Dilip Sardesai and introduction to the topic: Everything I know about Dilip Sardesai is through stories. His partnership with Eknath Solkar when they tricked Garry Sobers in to bowling an extended spell with spinners, or when he was chasing the ball and he kicked the ball towards boundary when he knew the batsman was ready to run five.He gave many a stories to remember as inspiration which forms the central topic of cricket and its oral tradition.

As youngsters a lot of the advice we were given was not necessarily technical, it was more anecdotal. Coaches, former players, seniors would tell us stories.There is a great parallel with cricket’s oral tradition and and the very Indian tradition of guru-shishya (teacher-student) relation. The passing n of stories of legends formed an essential part of our education.

It was my father’s passion for cricket that made me fall in love with it. In particular, once my father told me about Sunil Gavaskar told me about the technical solidity and how a 21-year-old in West Indies scored 774 runs in the debut series of West Indies. Over the years discussing cricket with my father gave me great joy. I guess that’s where my career started. My father wanted to learn these stories.


Dravid on Sardesai: I have heard a story of how he once stood alongside the sightscreen of Brabourne and shouted ‘lagori‘ when a bowler had an average action. (lagori is an Indian game which involves throwing towards a tower of seven stones from a distance). If he is watching cricket these days up there, I am sure he will be shouting lagori.


Rahul Dravid to speak on oral traditions in cricket

Commentator Harsha Bhogle welcomes the audience. Nandini Sardesai welcomes Rahul Dravid with a memento


Update: Rahul Dravid has arrived at the venue. Lecture to start in approximately 15-20 mins.


Welcome to CricketCountry’s live blog of the sixth Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture at the Cricket Club of India (CCI), Mumbai. This year’s lecture will be delivered by former Indian captain Rahul Dravid.

In the past, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sourav Ganguly and Ravi Shastri have delivered the memorial lecture in the past. The 2013 lecture was delivered by Shastri where he discussed anecdotes about Sardesai, his views on Decision Review System and the the Indian cricket board s stand on various issues.

About Dilip Sardesai: Sardesai sr. made his debut in December 1961 against England. Legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar himself praised Sardesai’s role in the growth of the team: He (Dilip Sardesai) showed us how to play fast bowling and in doing so gave us the confidence we needed to beat the West Indies. One of his great strengths was that he was always very positive, and he spread that through the team.

He played a key role in India’s first Test series win in England when the Indians won at The Oval in 1971. However, he is remembered as the architect of India’s first Test series win in West Indies in 1970-71 scoring 642 runs. He scored a double ton in this series (212). However, his first double ton was in Bombay (now Mumbai) when he scored an unbeaten 200 in the second innings against New Zealand which helped India go past a deficit of 209.

Read more about Dilip Sardesai in this extensive profile piece by CricketCountry’s Chief historian Arunabha Sengupta.