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Old December 18, 2003, 05:23 PM
Arnab Arnab is offline
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Default Rahul Dravid\'s technique: Amit Varma dissects my other favorite player

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Dravid is in the same mould. He may play from the textbook, but that textbook has a lot more than just dreary defence in it. Dravid is a complete strokeplayer not just because he can play all the classical strokes so well, but because he plays them as they should be played in every aspect. When he executes a pull, his footwork, his pivot, his balance, his arm-positions, the way his wrists roll so emphatically to keep the ball down, form the epitome of the shot. His straight-drives, cover-drives, cuts are similarly models of technical perfection, from back-lift to transfer of weight to follow-through.

Tendulkar is the master of timing – when he straight-drives, for example, his heavy bat often meets the ball like a wall at just the precise micro-second and sends it hurtling past the bowler to the boundary with so little follow-through that purists wouldn't even call it a drive. That's a mark of his genius, of course; a term that can also be used for VVS Laxman – his wristy elegance elicits sighs of awe and in almost the same breath his static feet can induce moans of despair. Take nothing away from these two men, but it is Dravid who embodies cricket in all its classical beauty. His correctness makes him solid and dependable; his mastery of the fundamentals can often make him a glorious strokeplayer to watch. More than just The Wall, as the cliché goes, he can also be high art.

If Dravid the workman is more on view than Dravid the artist, it is because his team needs the stodge more than the beauty.
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