The 2007 World Cup is not something Indians love to think about. The other World Cup. The one where we lost so badly, things could only get better from there. Which they did, significantly, and in a span of a few months. At the time, Indian cricket had no way of knowing that a young man from Ranchi would come and change everything; except his hair – which he also eventually did.

After the ODI World Cup, 2007, captain Rahul Dravid decided not to play the T20 edition. Which was a shame because we won. To think that could have been his first ICC trophy! Luckily, fate took care of it. He returned to team India as head coach, first U-19, then the senior side.

He saw great success too, but with the senior team, never an ICC final win. Until last night. In his final match as the coach of the team, he won the T20 World Cup trophy. Couldn’t get any better. Well, it does. He won it at the same ground Australia had won the ODI World Cup in 2007.


I’ve been thinking for hours now, about Rahul, redemption and virtuosity. As children, we are all taught the lesson that being good will always pay off. Then, we grow up to see the rewards of not being good. What is the point in working hard? Where should one get receipts for their commitment? Why not just cheat?

They won’t catch you, and even if they do, how difficult can it be to evade a punishment? In the ‘right’ hands, you may just get rewarded for it.


Then, once in a while, a person walks in – determined to be good. They are usually very quiet, always out of place, always making space. They don’t want to disturb people with their silence. No one notices this person, really, but eventually the brilliance of their work becomes so loud, it overpowers all the mindless chatter happening around.


If you are a certain age, you’d remember the sound of Rahul Dravid leaving the ball. That swish in the air. Rahul leaves the ball this time. He does it again. And again. He could do this for the rest of the match, which means no wickets, which means a draw. I just described some Test games from the 90s to you.

Rahul left, to stay. He trademarked that type of excellence. Of course, when he hit, that too was a sight – but self-control was something no one could beat him at. Outside the ground, he was not much different.

There was a sense of stability about him, no matter what he was going through, and he was always nice. Even painfully so. We screamed on his behalf from across the television screens, sometimes even abused. But he wouldn’t. He was always good.


So, we waited for it to pay off – that’s what happened in our childhood stories. Well, he is Rahul Dravid, the legend with no haters. I’d say it did pay off. Some things just took more time than others.

Cricket plays out a lot like life, so it makes sense to take lessons from it. Honesty almost always comes with loneliness, but no matter how abandoned you feel today, eventually your work will have your back. And who knows, if you are very lucky, 1.3 billion people will too.