Vijeeta Dravid reveals the virtues of 'The Wall'
Rahul Dravid throwing a chair. Now, that may seem hard to believe but that is what the Indian batting great, known for his calm and composed demeanour, once did after a heavy defeat at the hands of England.
Dravid's rare act of indiscretion has been disclosed by his wife Vijeeta in an insightful article about the batting stalwart, who announced his retirement from international cricket last Friday.
"Only once, I remember, he returned from a Test and said, 'I got a bit angry today. I lost my temper. Shouldn't have done that.' He wouldn't say more.
"Many months later, Viru [Sehwag] told me that he'd actually thrown a chair after a defeat to England in Mumbai. He'd thrown the chair, Viru said, not because the team had lost but because they had lost very badly."
Image: Rahul Dravid with wife Vijeeta and son Samit
'With Rahul's cricket, nothing is casual, unconscious or accidental'
Vijeeta says that Rahul expected to play till 2007-08 but with his sheer passion, dedication and obsessive fitness routines he did well to stretch his career to 2012.
"Just after we got married, I remember him saying to me that he hoped to play for 'the next three or four years', and that he would need me there to support him in that time. Now that he has retired, I think: 'Not bad. We've done far better than the three or four years we thought about in May 2003,' Vijeeta wrote in her article for Cricinfo."Now I know that with Rahul's cricket, nothing is casual, unconscious or accidental. Before he went on tour, I would pack all his other bags, but his cricket kit was sacred -- I did not touch it; only he handled it. I know if I packed only two sets of informal clothes, he would rotate them through an entire tour if he had to and not think about it. He has used one type of moisturising cream for 20 years because his skin gets dry. Nothing else."
Image: Rahul and Vijeeta
'Rahul has been taught to believe in values like humility and perspective'
"He doesn't care for gadgets, and barely registers brands of watches, cologne or cars. But if the weight of his bat was off by a gram, he would notice it in an instant and get the problem fixed," she wrote.
Rahul's humility off and on field is well known and Vijeeta did write about that trait of his personality."People always ask me the reason for Rahul being a 'normal' person, despite the fame and the celebrity circus. I think it all began with his middle-class upbringing, of being taught to believe in fundamental values like humility and perspective. He has also had some very old, solid friendships that have kept him rooted."
Preparation was sacred for Rahul
Vijeeta, who has travelled with Rahul all these years, also revealed how dedicated her husband was with his preparation routines.
"When I travelled with him for the first time, in Australia in 2003-04, I began to notice how he would prepare for games -- the importance of routines, and his obsession with shadow practice at odd hours of day or night. I found that weird. Once, I actually thought he was sleepwalking!
"The day before every game, the boys (their kids) were told that their father had to be left alone for a while, and Rahul would go into his room for his meditation and visualisation exercises. On the morning of the game, he would get up and do another session of meditation before leaving for the ground."
'No matter what was happening in his cricket, at home he is family man'
Talking about Rahul's superstitions, Vijeeta wrote, "Like all players, Rahul has his superstitions. He doesn't try a new bat out for a series, and puts his right thigh pad on first."
Vijeeta also wrote that Rahul had this "fantastic ability to switch off" after the game.
"His batting may bother him, he will be itching to go back and try again, but he can compartmentalise his life very well. He won't order room service or brood indoors, he would rather go out, find something to do -- go to a movie or watch a musical, which he loves. He will walk out to the sea to wind down or go to bookstores, or find something else to do."
"No matter what was happening in his cricket, at home he is husband, father, family man.He has never said, 'Oh I've had a bad day.' He wouldn't speak about his work unless asked. Other than dropped catches."