“No dream is ever chased alone,” so said ‘The Wall’ of Indian Cricket Rahul Dravid. It is, therefore, hardly an irony that in order to realize a dream that Dravid had harbored all along his playing career- that of winning a World Cup, it finally came down to a bunch of youngsters at the Under-19 level who made the surreal come true.
Much to Dravid’s elation.
There is more than a lesson in India’s brilliant triumph at the Under-19 World Cup. It befits the tale of a young bunch of dreamers who started on a globetrotting journey only to become doers. Implicit in the unfolding of their journey- let it not be forgotten India were undefeated in the entire tournament- is the commitment of one of India’s most under-appreciated cricketers, Dravid himself.
At a time where most of India’s starry have-beens are part of elite commentary teams, traveling around the world, slipping in wisdom on microblogging sites, The Wall decided to sweat it out with youngsters exuding bright promise and great skill. No advertising campaigns. No hyped televised drama. No theatrics; just bonding between someone who relished a great fight on the 22 yards and talents who seemed ready for some.
Look where that has taken India Under-19 team.
Reticent, quiet, never shy to talk to media but meaningful and measured when engaging in dialogue, it appeared that Dravid’s spirit permeated the Indian contingent. Even from quite some distance, you could find Prithvi Shaw-led team being a bunch of believers. Theirs weren’t shenanigans. Just pure focus and a love to express themselves through their craft.
The just-concluded ICC Under-19 World Cup was all about Prithvi Shaw’s calm and grace on the pitch, Shubhman Gill’s immense domination in a tournament of epic proportions, scuttling pace of Kamlesh Nagarkoti and, the conservative bowling figures of Ishan Porel.
This world-cup winning quartet is being written about as if there’s no tomorrow. Finally, the media seem to have given a pleasant break to Virat and co., as they go about hammering South Africa in South Africa. There’s something new to obsess over. And why not?
After all, we’ve seen how greatness begins here. Doesn’t it? It happened to Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja themselves. Look the heights they are scaling today. One expects Shaw- who bats with the elan of Tendulkar and Gill- whose front foot pull toward mid-wicket is already drawing parallels with Rohit and Kohli to go the long way.
Former skipper and current coach Dravid’s poise and wisdom have helped an eager team of youngsters to realize their bright promise. Now, where do Prithvi and co. go from here? Let’s hope, strength to strength. Considering that the year has just started, a string of first-class and domestic leagues back home await their keen participation.
That said, Dravid would be expected to remind his promising bunch not to be swayed by the limelight or being consumed by the lofty heights even international stars chase in the much-celebrated IPL. There’s a world beyond that. Surely, for some in this contemporary age of instant gratification, it is T2o cricket that counts the most.
But for a young marquee of talents that India unfurled at New Zealand- it appears, shinning the red cherry with their sweat would count the most. After all, it is a feeling that ignited the spirit of competition even in Dravid. There’s hardly a doubt as to why Shaw, Gill, Nagarkoti or Porel won’t want to wear the whites for the five-day contest. There’s this absolutely undeniable purity about Test match cricket that upholds the spirit of the game and amplifies the mettle of an athlete.
With the Wall being amongst the side of the youngsters and their own self-confidence, one hopes this won’t be a clique that turns the back against the 5-day rigors. For now, they can and must celebrate their success and take each tournament and series at a time. After all, living in the present and making the most of it is the key to a greater manifestation of one’s true self. Isn’t it?