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Episode 3.1: Rahul Dravid talks about the Wall of truth within that made him The Wall outside

[00:00:00]  Glimpses of some highlight expressions by Rahul Dravid during the talk

Rahul Dravid:
Because it’s become so much more competitive today, it’s almost become harder for sportsmen actually to have a normal life. One of the things I learned with experience is that when you’re in a good run, you make it comfortable. I guess when I speak with and work and interact with a lot of younger people, it’s…they’re not necessarily just coaching the cricketer, you’re trying to coach the person.
Experience is not about the number of matches you play, it’s what you learn from it. What is real success from this? Is real success for me having the car or a house? Or is it in being able to play 10 years for the country and achieve certain number of goals and targets that I want to achieve?

[00:00:41] Vallabh Bhanshali introduces the guest & the motives behind TRUTHtalks

Vallabh Bhanshali:
Good morning, friends, and welcome to one more round of Truth talks. I’m here to welcome a very, very special guest, Mr. Rahul Dravid, who needs no introduction, and I shall attempt none. I’m here only to share some of my experiences and impressions of this wonderful gentleman. There are many decent, & sincere sportsmen but he is easily the most polite and soft spoken. I want to share two experiences that I had. When I shared the name of my guest with my insiders, a saintly reclusive person said, “Oh, Bohot acche! His face says it all.” The second one came from a media person, normally a skeptic lot. He said, “Oh, wonderful, Bhagwan Ram!”. Now leave the hyperbole aside, that too from a media person, but it shows the tremendous respect and love that we have for Rahul Dravid. If you put the two pictures together, you will find that he answers a question that a lot of people have. “Does truth have to be harsh?” It doesn’t have to be, you can be the most polite and yet get your truth firmly across to your team, to your administrators, into the world at large. Thank you very much for being with us.
I’m equally happy and proud to welcome the other guests for the day, which is Mr. Ayaz Memon amongst our senior most sports editors, and much loved by sports readers and viewers for over three decades popularly known as the cricket-wala. Mr. Memon is going to speak to Rahul Ji and help us unravel all his learning, his impressions, and get answers to some very difficult questions. Thank you for being with us.
Lastly, just a line or two about truth talks. Truth talks is a bold initiative. It’s a delicate initiative. And we want you to appreciate that how, just for lack of understanding, lack of patience, we fail to get the enormous benefits that several of our Titans have got by following that path. This is just one of the innovations of Satya Vigyan Foundation; there will be others. Remain engaged with us on truthtalks.in. Thank you for joining us this morning. Over to you Mr Ayaz Memon.

[00:03:07] Conversation begins between Ayaz Memon & Rahul Dravid

Ayaz Memon:
Thank you Vallabh Bhai. This is the third edition of truth talks. As Vallabh bhai mentioned the first two were with Mr. NR Narayana Murthy, founder of Infosys. The second one was Justice BN Srikrishna, so you are already being put on a pedestal Rahul.

Rahul Dravid:
It’s really unnerving to be after them but, yeah, a great company, & great to be here.

Ayaz Memon:
So, yeah, truth talks is fundamentally not-value judgmental about what other people do or not, we’re just trying to examine how people who have reached a certain level of excellence in whatever their path, chosen path, what was the value that drove them. That’s going to be my purpose here. Then, you know, to try and understand what made you what you were. Just for information or for people who may not know Rahul Dravid, former Indian Captain played for 16 years. 13,000 plus test runs 10,000 plus ODI runs. A lot of people forget that ODI runs.

Rahul Dravid:
The ODI runs is obviously something that I’m actually quite proud of in the sense that when you started out, you know, as I just dreamt of being a test cricketer. That’s what we did. I mean, growing up as kids in the early 80s and 70s as an impressionable age, we all wanted to be Gavaskar & Mishra, Kapil Dev. They were all test cricketers. But I think the 1983 World Cup win really changed a lot of things you know; I think in a way for really sort of made you recognize that one-day cricket was going to become important and you wanted to be part of it. So, having grown up not really practicing for one-day cricket to be able to like, play that and you want a one-day match is actually quite nice.

Ayaz Memon:
When you were 10 when you watched it? And into cricket already by then?

Rahul Dravid:
Yeah, and it’s already been…Yeah, I mean, I love cricket from the time I can remember. I saw my earliest memories of my father sewing a cricket ball to me or displaying in the backyard my friends on the streets, and yeah, so those are my earliest memories. I just was cricket-crazy even then. I think it was It was a decision maker for a lot of us then had many options for what we wanted to do. And this is what we wanted to do, we wanted to be cricketers, as Gavaskar & Vishwanathan & Kapil Dev.

Ayaz Memon:
And there’s a whole crop which came, isn’t it, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, all 9-10 watching this victory and then getting inspired.

Rahul Dravid:
I think, like, a lot of us, I think, and I’ve heard a lot of them speak about it, you know, kids around that age, in that era, were hugely inspired by that in 1983. And it’s funny, you know, it’s like the circle on the stones in 2011. I could see my sons or my children get inspired by Dhoni and, and you know, that team that won 2011. So, it’s fantastic for me to see my son wasn’t 10, but he was I think he was six or seven when, yeah, when, you know, the World Cup was won in 2011. But yeah, hugely inspirational.

Ayaz Memon:
What drove you? What were the, you know, inner compulsions or purposes, motives, for your playing career, of course, after that also you were involved with cricket.        

Rahul Dravid:
Now, for me, I don’t really feel like I’m in a position to preach things to people or to, you know, try and give advice to people on how to go about things. But yeah, I think it’s a nice opportunity to, I guess, in a sense, share. I guess, some of the challenges of the journey that I faced, and by no means does it mean, everything that I’ve done has been right, you know, I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. And I’ve had many challenges along the way, in this. You know, at times when I was growing up, I would get, you know, very down on myself with, with failure, I had to learn in time that, you know, that’s not necessarily a good thing. For me, I mean, I needed to learn how to relax, I needed to, you know, I needed to sometimes learn how to even enjoy my successes. And you know, that was a difficulty at times, because you’re so obsessed, you’re trying to think about the next thing; you forget to actually step back and enjoy the successes and, and thank and recognize so many people around you who made it possible for you to do what you’re doing or to be successful. And you kind of forget that you sometimes have to step back and experience has taught me to do that a lot better than I used to. It goes back to a lot of, like I said, in a lot of things like, you know, the Bhagavad Gita. You’re not really in control of sometimes results. But when you are in control of is the process, you have control of the effort you put in the way you react to failure and success.    

Ayaz Memon:

And one of the great things that sports teachers, you know, obviously knows better than anybody else is that, you know, you stumble, you fall you stand up and you run again. 

Rahul Dravid:
Yeah, that’s I think one of the nice things about sport; it’s that you’re, you’re feeling so much you’ll be put in the spotlight a lot. And, and your failure is also very public, you know, as your successes. And you’re having to deal with that. And that’s not easy at times, you know, that’s not easy. And it, it reflects it, which sometimes makes you do things that, you know, you’re not necessarily very proud of. And sometimes you learn from those things. So yeah, I think that’s a great thing, about sport. At least, it has been for me. It’s given me great experiences, both good and bad. And it’s allowed me to hopefully grow as a person. And I certainly think that, you know, I can thank cricket a lot for being for being able to grow as a person. Growing as a cricketer was one thing over the years, but we certainly have a very different person or a different man to when I was when I started.

Ayaz Memon:
And off the field are you very different?

Rahul Dravid:
I think I’m a definitely a lot more confident person than I used to be. If I think about when I was growing up, I still am not a life of a party, I’m not a huge extrovert human being, but certainly a lot more confident. And I think that’s just, it’s just life, that’s just experience, what I’ve been able to learn, observe from watching other people and just the experiences that I’ve had.

Ayaz Memon:
So, from the outside as you come across as a man of great conviction about yourself, your beliefs. They may end up being wrong, but you believe to learn a lot from it and move to the next level. I’m gonna, you know, just draw your attention to this. And this is what truth talks is all about. And I happen to kind of see this as I entered the Padukone Dravid Centre of Excellence where we are now. At the reception. And this is a quote that says, “When you play for the love of the game, you play with respect and humility to the snapshot of it. You play for the team and try for everyone who has made it possible for you to step out on the field. That’s what sport is about. And that’s what makes you a true sports person.” What is Rahul Dravid’s?

Rahul Dravid:
Yeah, I think that sports, obviously, there’s more than just the winning and the losing. So, it’s a lot more than that. And I think as you play a lot more of it, I think your kind of you know, reflect on that a lot more. Yes, there is the winning and there is the losing and there are the financial benefits that you get from sport today, and the life and living there has to be gained from the sport. But it’s certainly more than that. I think, you know, one of the great things of being able to play a sport for your country, to play a sport in any country where the sport is followed so much, has you know, in a lot of ways, made me kind of recognize, you know, just I think the responsibilities you I have as a sportsman, and as a cricketer, it’s not just about winning and losing, but it’s a lot about it’s a lot more than that. Not saying that you have to be someone different. You don’t have to be yourself. Well, I like I said, I’m not saying a sportsman should behave in a particular way, just because sportsmen do that, you know, they, you know, they should be giving lessons to society. But I think you recognize that you have a certain responsibility, you know, as a sportsman in the way you carry yourself, conduct yourself, because simply the fact that you are being followed by so many people, especially the young, especially a lot of young people, young boys and girls who follow the sport and innovate, it’s a privilege, right? You’re doing something you love, it’s really a hobby for you, it’s probably started off as a hobby. But just through doing what you do, I think you have a great opportunity to influence so many people. And I think with that comes, I think, a certain sense of responsibility. And I think when you sign up to play for your country, and you’re given that honour, you’re given that privilege, and I think you sign up to that a little bit as well.

Ayaz Memon:
You started off as a youngster; you were going & playing for some club. Then you can get into the elite level, become a test cricketer, and an international star, and then you become the senior Pro. And, you know, amongst the senior, most members in the team, all three roles are very different. And how did you see that trajectory? What kept your kind of the needle going straight? We did have many dips, it was one of those careers, and very early in your career, maybe?

Rahul Dravid:
Yes, I agree. That’s, you know the beauty of doing interviews, 10 years after you retired. People always remember, they have their eyes on…I have had some tough dips, I was dropped from one-day, I had some tough periods in test cricket. You know, even as a captain, I had some successes. But the 2007 world cup was a disappointment. Towards the end of my career, I had a couple of years, which were quite hard, then I was able to pick that up and towards my last year, we could end on a relatively high. And, you know, in a sense, I had a great tour of England, but then struggling in Australia, where we lost 4-0, you know, and I decided to quit. So, you know, I think no Career can be just, you know, plain sailing, not at all the sport that we play. So, I’ve had my share of, you know, I think ups and downs. But I think what’s really kept me going is just the love for the game, and just trying to get the best of myself.
I always felt that I was given this talent, I was given an ability to be able to play cricket. Why I was given it, I don’t know! In some ways, a lot of my biggest inspirations were people I would see when I went all over India, we’d go as the Indian team and go to different venues all over India for test matches and stuff. And there are a lot of young boys who come and bowl to us. You know, I would see in their eyes, their desire, the passion that they wanted to play the game, and how hard they retain. But you could just you could have one look at them and say that no, it’s not gonna happen. It’s not to lack of effort, it’s not to lack of desire, not to lack of passion. It’s just unfortunately, you know, they just don’t have the talent or skill hasn’t been given to them, or they started late or whatever reason could be, you know. Physically they’re not there or something like that. And I would look at them and I’d say that I have been given this. There may be 1000s of people who would want to be in the position I want to be in. In a sense, I owe it to them to do the best I can with my talent over the period of time that I have. You know, I think that was in a sense, quite truthful to me, right? I certainly think you should try & do your best for them. So, people like that were really my inspiration. Because a lot, you know, we looked up to them. And I said, you know, they would want to be in my place. I owe it to them to be the best I can be because I’ve been given this gift and I don’t know why.

Ayaz Memon:
How do you take disappointments? You mentioned at the very start of this interview; 2007 World Cup we didn’t qualify. I mean, disappointment can shatter you or make you even stronger? You know, setbacks can make you stronger. If you have a long career, obviously, there is sucker you’ve sought from or you got from failures, setbacks, disappointments. What was your thought process that made you kind of cope up?

Rahul Dravid:
Kind of just look ahead at the way you view these disappointments is important. So, you’re gonna face them? For me, it was just about how do you…what can you learn from it? It’s that, you just can’t dwell on it too much. You can’t like play for a long time and then have everything go your way. Just doesn’t work that way. Some of these disappointments actually help you to enjoy your success a lot. Because you just say that, “I have had a tough time, got to come out of it.” So, it gives you that satisfaction. I think I was kind of blessed with the kind of personality that tended to look forward a little more than look back. So even I always tended to think about “Okay, what’s next? What’s next? How can I get better? What can I…”? You know, so that maybe it was a bit snatched in & came a bit naturally to me. I don’t think I thought about it upside down & this is weird. So, I don’t know… I don’t know when I reflect on it now, I think that. Right from a young age, I’ve always seen to what’s next. If I field in the first innings, how do I prepare for the next innings.
I didn’t dwell too much on stuff.

Ayaz Memon:
So, you were, in a sense, that method cricketer. you prepared?

Rahul Dravid:
Yeah, I was an introvert. A lot of people said, Oh, I think a lot and stuff. Probably, I do think a lot, but at least I was thinking about the right things a lot. Yeah, actually that I was thinking about what’s ahead, rather than what’s behind a lot of people I can find, you know, think back to themselves.
I was not a brute, which might be, a lot of people might think, from the outside, oh you think a lot & worry a lot Yeah. But it’s about I’m maybe thinking a lot, but I’m thinking about what’s next and sort of thinking ahead. The ideal situation would have to be present to stay where you are. That’s somewhat, you know, the goal of you know…, and that’s not easy to do unless you’re like a saint or something.

Ayaz Memon:
So, I’m going to ask a tricky question that in 2004 you captained one test in Pakistan, which we won. And of course, we won the series, we made 270 in the last match. Then you, we went to West Indies, and after, what, 35 years, we beat the West Indies in West Indies. And we beat England after 21 years in 2007. And you just gave up the captaincy of the team. I mean n captains have given up the Tendulkar’s given of course up, Dhoni gave up in the middle of a series, Gavaskar before that. But on the back of a series when….

Rahul Dravid:
Look, I mean, at that stage, like I’ve answered this, sometimes people find it tough to understand, but I just wasn’t enjoying it. I mean, I’d been through, maybe I had played a lot, a lot happening. So, you know, I just think that at that point of time, I just really stopped enjoying the leadership, or just captaining the team. And I just really felt that, that, you know, I didn’t see the captaincy of India as something of my life. I saw it as something that, you know, I wanted to do if I felt I could really devote 100% of my time, had that mental space to be able to do it. When I felt that that wasn’t there. I just felt it was not important because maybe it was not right to keep trying to, you know, do it for the sake of doing it, you know. I want to do it because I truly loved it and enjoyed it.

Ayaz Memon:
And the captaincy has the power prestige.

Rahul Dravid:
I don’t know, it never felt like that to me. I just didn’t feel like that. You know, I think it’s just to give an arm and a leg. I mean, I would have given an arm & a leg, dude, I to be honest, I love doing it. There’s no question of not saying that I enjoyed it, when I started doing it, I did. But at that phase, after going through about two and a half years of it, I just was mentally drained. But also, it was a period of turmoil. It was it was a tough period. We just didn’t qualify for the 2007 world cup. So, I guess, in my own mind, mentally and physically took a lot of me, you know, maybe just because of the period it happened in. And then when I didn’t enjoy it, I just said, okay, maybe there’s someone who can do it, someone else who can do it better, and might actually be able to take a step forward. Well, same thing with your retirement, right, you reach a certain age, when you feel that, look, you know, I can’t take this team any more forward. I cannot take it more. Then you just hang on for the sake of it.

Ayaz Memon:
You had turned down an honorary doctorate degree from Bangalore University thinking you don’t deserve it & you will work hard towards sports research, become known for being worthy of it?

Rahul Dravid:
So, see, I’m very respectful of that fact, and honour definitely taught me. You know, they thought me capable of giving me that degree. But I just, you know, like I said at that time as well. I just, you know, my mom, actually did a doctorate. And she did it at the age of 56. So, so, you know, we were to be two doctors in the house. So, I saw my mom. I saw her do that at that age; so, she did it on Nicholas ovonic. And, you know, so she, she went through the whole process. And I saw that, I saw that first-hand. And then just to be given it because I played the game. I mean, I’ve got many other rewards that apart from you know, I’ve got other rewards. I haven’t refused other rewards that I’ve got for the game, ICC Player of the Year or other got rewards So, but this just felt to me like a you know, I was getting something, in my opinion. I’m not trying to be disrespectful of the degree or the other people who did it. You just might get to the personal thing for me. I saw my mother do it. I have to work through it. And I was just getting it for like not really doing any, didn’t feel like work. For my cricket. I was getting other rewards. Happy to accept. So, I just wanted that time I didn’t want to, didn’t feel like accepting it. Again, not being judgmental on anyone else. It is just purely a personal viewpoint. Not trying to say that this is the way everyone has to be.

Ayaz Memon:
Have you ever told this fascinating story to your kids about their grandmother and their father?

Rahul Dravid:
I mean, they know it like yeah, they haven’t done on their own.

Ayaz Memon:
There is the old saying when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And this is something which actually characterize your batting exploits, your career, especially that runs us or overseas making 270 in Pakistan, maybe in the subcontinent. So, it can be a very challenging to perform well in Australia. And then of course, England, you know, some in 2000, early 2002 is when we made our plans. Was there a mental program you went through which you have created for yourself? Was there a kind of a meditative approach, what’s loosely called from the outside, Oh, Dravid is now in the zone? Or x y. z is the zone. Well, there’s something distinctive that you did?

Rahul Dravid:
Yeah, I don’t think there’s anything distinctive that I did. It doesn’t feel distinct differently. I mean, I just tried to be consistent about the process that I was following. So, you know, just trying to get myself in the right frame of mind to play each and every game. Yeah, just getting in the right frame of mind. And I think that was for me important. So just going through that sort of routine, leading into the test match, and ensuring that I did always happen, but getting yourself into that nice, calm, relaxed, excited to play, competitive kind of mind frame, you know, and that was a mindset that I tried to get myself into, whether it was through the fitness preparations, whether it was through my skill, preparation, whether it was things like meditation or visualization. In all of these things, eventually, they kind of, you want to get into that space where you’re excited to play, excited to be in that contest, wanting to be in that contest. So that’s the kind of frame of mind you want to get into not a, you know, not a fearful, nervous kind of mindset. You know, I think some days it works, sometimes it works better than others, it’s a confidence game is well. You get 100, you know, picks you up makes you feel better, you feel you have the vote over the borders. And in time, I think one of the things I learnt with experience is that “when you’re in a good run, yeah, you just really make it count.” And I think that was pretty true to my career, when I had good runs, I really made them count. Because then I had an experience that I had, then I had the ability to not let that get to my head and just stay in that zone.

Ayaz Memon:
So, as we spoke about your knowing your demons. How much is anxiety or stress, good to enhance performance?

Rahul Dravid:
Certainly, if you’re anxious, you’re anxious before the big night, a certain amount of it is good, because it means you care. Yeah. But obviously you can’t go down the other side can’t become too much stressed. A certain amount of tension, stress, very important, you’ve to be very careful that it doesn’t go to the other side, or inhibit your performance or its anxiety at the wrong time. You know, anxiety, when you’re going out to bat a certain amount of anxiety is okay, if you’re anxious, you continue to remain anxious and stressed. Well, after the game is gone, you know, it’s probably being harmful to you. So, over a period of time, that sense comes within you, you have to reflect on that. Any learning happens through reflection. GI Vishwanathan, told me this, experience is not about the number of matches you play. It’s what you learn from each match. There are people who play 30 matches, and they’re not experienced. Someone who’ll play five matches and learn more than someone who’s paid 30 because he’s been learning from each of those games. He reflected on his performances; you know. So that’s important, you know, you can go to life not reflecting on anything and then you know, then there’s no more learning to experience

Ayaz Memon:
And how much is goal setting important from a sports person’s point of view?

Rahul Dravid:
I mean, I didn’t have hardcore goals as such, I mean, my goals are more I would say… I had some ideas of where I wanted to achieve, but they will not in certain numbers, and I never had a target for this many series, this many runs. I would have scored this much. And I wasn’t ever a numbers person as such, that never motivated me. For me goal setting was in terms of my preparation, how am I you know, am I hitting those markers? That was my goals, and then the results will hopefully take care of.

Ayaz Memon:
And then you rely on the processes?

Rahul Dravid:
Yeah, and like hopefully hope of the processes

Ayaz Memon:
Before you became the under 19 coach and all that in your last years you were captain and mentor of an IPL team. Right? And you’re fixing, spotting things up here. Now it’s not something that must have taken you by surprise?

Rahul Dravid:
It did and it was you know, really very tough time tough phase as well because you feel that you’re doing the best you can creating a good environment. You know, and I think you learn from that as well. You know, you feel okay, there’s only so much you can control. And I think that’s one of the biggest challenges with this whole sport fixing thing is actually it’s it puts the onus on the individual. It’s not liked a match fixing rate or match fixing or game fixing here has to involve everyone you know, spot fixing just one individual can decide that I will avoid or I’ll do something and you know, I guess this fixes on. So, it’s, really the onus is on the individual. You have to recognize that and there’s no fool proof method of… Again, you learn from that and say okay, maybe You know, this should be better, you should be more vigilant and you should be more careful. But yeah, certainly a very disappointing period and disappointing phase. And again, in some ways you do feel, you know, you always I guess, just nature with the Okay, what can I have done better? What should we have done better? What could we have done? And then you learn from that, and then you sort of move.

Ayaz Memon:
You made; you made a really profound statement that time that truth always sets you free. In the context around that time when this whole spot fixing thing was happening, because you got to know, you know, how hard How hard does that feel?

Rahul Dravid:
It was tough, because, you know, we thought we were doing everything. Right And we thought we would be right. But then as I guess, again, a lot of that stuff is still, you know, still in legal sort of place. So, you know, I don’t want to sort of get into it. But when that kind of situation happens, it’s not easy, right? Because in that environment, there are people who’ve been, you know, who’ve done everything right, and continue to do things, right. It’s not all bad people. But you know, the tendency is that everyone gets tainted like that. That’s not easy, because then you got to manage the other people as well, who feel that they’ve done absolutely nothing wrong to be put in that kind of situation. Yeah, you know, but yeah, I think that’s, that’s, I think that’s one of the biggest challenges in sportsmanship, you know, this whole issue of spot fixing, and influencing of young people, young minds, as more and more technology comes in, more and more, the game becomes bigger and bigger, you know, the, the dangers of people wanting to influence young people is getting more and more…that the rewards, I guess, are getting more and more tempting, to be able to do these things. And I think that’s where a lot of it means that, you know, people have to be more vigilant, people have to have this education, we will have to be in as much as we don’t like it sometimes. A certain level of strictness, or a certain level of monitoring, you know, it’s just become a part and parcel of, of sport. Now, I mean, you know, I from the time that I started now, the kind of some of the restrictions that we put our sportsmen through, or our cricketers through, we never had those restrictions, you know, growing up or when we started playing the game, and, and it’s just the environment we live in that. Rightly, we have to do these things, you know, we have to accept that this is the new norm, and actually follow them and be respectful of them and not dismiss them. Because the future of the sport depends on, on us being vigilant.

Ayaz Memon:
So, I want to get your point of view as a captain, which you were. You know, unfortunately, in my opinion, a very short sprint in the sense longevity, but a very productive one. What is the role of Captain as you see it? Should we be consensual? The way I see it, and I got great clarity of thought and therefore what I’m doing, and lift people who are fine performers, suddenly it’s a tough, you know.

Rahul Dravid:
So, I just think it comes from leadership. I think leadership has also changed today and talked about among us, among the young people. I think also leadership today it can’t just be about, I think the dictatorial form of leadership or authoritarian form of leaderships, honestly, in my opinion, a bit outdated. You need to be able to carry people along, to be able to lift people along. I think there’s so, in the past, no, information was something or knowledge or something that was not many people had they had the power. Today, I mean, I think, with so much of information and knowledge around everybody seems to have that knowledge and information, you’re not special, because you have some information, which everyone in your team will probably have more and some probably have more information than you. It’s just about what you do with that information, and how can you bring everyone’s information or everyone’s knowledge, everyone’s skill together harmoniously to be able to achieve something. So, I really think that in my opinion, leadership is really about this, like you said, this has to be consensual, it has to be about, you know, bringing that group’s collective knowledge or collective influence, collective intelligence to the fore, for the best, you know, for the best result.

Ayaz Memon:
So, Rahul, just moving on to aspects of your career, and some of these may be kind of, you know, more abstract you might feel, but they’re important to understand. So, my first question would be is sportsmanship important? Or is it very contrived concept? You know, from the outset, sports persons must have a sportsman spirit, or sportsmanship in them? Is this how people within feel or is it up to the individual?

Rahul Dravid:
So, the whole basis of sports is it’s like an organized activity with certain rules and regulations. You know, I added that’s very important. If everyone decides that they want to have their own rules and regulations in a sport, it’s not gonna work. You won’t then sport in the form that we see. In that, of course, I guess there’s a broad spectrum of what you see as sportsmanship that can vary from person to person, I think a certain amount of respect for the rules, respect for regulations, respect for the opposition, respect for spectators, respect for people who follow the sport, in a personal…at a personal level, I think is very, very important because it really adds meaning to what you’re doing otherwise, you know, it just, it just becomes too transactional, right? And you just person, leave it for, for person, the winning or losing or for the money. And that’s, it’s almost the same transaction. There might be people who might say, that’s all it is for me. And I’m not there to judge them. But I certainly do feel that, like I said earlier, you get more out of yourself and more out of the sport, if you’re willing to understand its larger role. And that’s where I think sportsmanship, we notice, plays, plays a big role in just like I said, disrespecting the people that you’re playing with and against, you know, having a respect for, what is your role in the growth of the sport, it’s not about just you, I think Don Bradman, put it beautifully, you know, and he said that you’re just custodians of the sport, for the time that you’re in it. And then sport is much bigger than all of us. We have a responsibility, then. If you see it like that, yeah, then I think you view the whole thing very differently. Rather than just sitting on here for 10 years, I’m here to win the World Cup and make my money go away. It’s a cynical point of view. I mean, I think, I think when you look back, maybe I’m a lot older now. So, I, you know, I think it’s more effective. But yeah, and I think you know, it’s much nicer when you sit back now and say, you know, it’s a much better way to play this. And I think the important thing is to make that distinction that doesn’t make you a lesser player, you shouldn’t have to make you a lesser player, you know, I think just because you follow the rules, and just because you get a nice guy, and you shake the hands of the opposition, and genuinely, you know, understand what your responsibilities are, in the larger scheme of things in the game doesn’t make you less competitive, or more or less, you know, not bandwidth. So, you know, I think they’re not related, you don’t have to be mean and nasty, to be successful.

Ayaz Memon:
Are there some guiding principles that have shaped your cricketing life and your personal life?

Rahul Dravid:
I mean, I’d say like, I’ve always striven to get the best out of myself, in terms of my cricket, I let the process guide the way, be honest to why I am trying to be myself and recognize that, you know, I am only a custodian of the game for a short period of time. And So, I need to try and leave the game in a better place when I leave it.

Ayaz Memon:
Is success in life, a result of talent? And how much of integrity, temperament, transparency?

Rahul Dravid:
I think it is a combination of all of these things, you can’t you can’t succeed in life, talent. So, question about it. I mean, like I said earlier, a lot of people I know work extremely hard, extremely dedicated, and disciplined, but not been able to achieve success because they didn’t have certain gifts or even have some luck. So, you can’t dismiss that stuff completely. But I think to get the best of yourself along with talent, you need a lot of other things, hard work, discipline to what you want to achieve, and integrity of your purpose. Also, a lot of these things need to come together if you want to long term, sustained, consistent success.

Ayaz Memon:
Expounding a truth, talking about the truth. And if it can be perceived as harsh, what would you do? Would you be diplomatic suppression? Or go ahead and say it?

Rahul Dravid:
I would love to say that I’ve gone ahead and said it all the time. But this inherent nature of the person I am just being honest, but there are times I’ve probably tended to be a bit diplomatic also. I do believe that, you know, things are not always like this, they have to be Shades of Grey of things, and you have to be accepting of a lot of people. But I really do admire people who are able to, you know, hit the nail, you know, come what may be the consequences, or you know, what others may feel, they’re very, very clear on what they want and might not necessarily be palatable to a lot of people but they’re very clear of what they say. I’m not necessarily sure.

Ayaz Memon:
I mean, I come from the old school, as you can imagine. You know, the environment that I grew up in, and especially about cricket is, you know, something lofty about the sport. Do you see that? Does it exist in your mind, mind space, when we’re playing? Or you heard about your signal? How do you see the younger generation now that you’re mentoring so many kids how they see sport? It is an unfair question on the youngsters because they’ll grow into a situation. They don’t expect. You don’t expect them to be very wise at this age. But there is a shot. You know, you’re a youngster once you’ve been through various stages of being a cricketer, the current situation that you’re NCA and mentor and coach of under 19-25.

Rahul Dravid:
It is almost more challenging for youngsters today. Because they are given so much at such a young age, that probably generations earlier didn’t happen, didn’t have the chance to meet that choices. So, you know, there are kids today who come out of our underwriting teams, and they can remake, you know, one IPL season one ideal contract, they make as much money they can have them choose between buying, you know, any fancy car that they want, with just one year of upon, right. I mean, if, if you were to go back again, to generations ago, you probably needed, you needed to play a long, long time you grow into, you’d have to. You didn’t have these options to make these choices as a 20-year-old. Yeah, there will be no chance. It was very much an amateur sport. No, and there was there wasn’t a concept of social media, there wasn’t as many distractions, there weren’t as many options, suddenly, today’s sports become so big, media has become so big that young boys and girls today, you know, have been faced with choices, dilemmas, decisions to be made at 20-21 without having been able to grow into it, you know, some of the decisions, we had to make a 30- 31 they having to make a 20- 21. Or they can make it because simply when they find themselves financially, or just opportunities are there. And that’s not easy, or fame. Because it’s become so much more competitive today, it’s almost become harder for sportsmen actually to have a normal life. So, I mean, if you were to sort of, say speak about Sunil Gavaskar and, you know, he went to college and did an MBA, he led a normal life. Yes, he was playing for India, at the end of all that, you know, just the fact that he went to college and you interacted with other people who probably didn’t play sport, and you kind of grew as a person.

Ayaz Memon:
So, I want to pick your brains of this, how do, you know, these kids who come to you also in the NCAA of under 19 team. You know, it’s a new era, it is a new generation. These are the millennials; their thought processes may be a little different. So how do you steer them? I mean, you’re like a father figure there.

Rahul Dravid
So, I think there’s a lot of positives firstly. They’re a lot, a lot more fearless. There’s ambition. I see ambition. I see desire. Which is not a bad thing, which is an incredible thing. It’s fantastic. So, I said, like, I think these are the three positives that you see, the youth of today are the young Indian of today is a very different Indian to say 20 years ago, or 30 years ago. Yeah, growing up, they’re not intimidated by overseas players or foreign players. I mean, the first time I mean, I went to England once before I went on a tour, but I was just on a small tour with the use of like a club team. But today and some of the other 19 boys by the time they come into the team, they’ve been every single country in the world played on etos played on under-19 tours. So, the level of experience is completely different. The challenges I think they face is, is one of patience, almost a desire, I think to be to wanting to be successful, very quickly, or success is instantaneous, sometimes, you know, because of social media that you can play a few good knocks and have one good idea and actually be seen by a lot of other people as celebrities, or as famous when in actual terms of performance, you have a long way to go, you know, in your career.

Ayaz Memon:
But because we’ve spoken so much about youngsters, I want to touch on one issue, which you will be actually very vocal about. And I think it’s important that it needs to be addressed. Because this is something is not a real cricket problem or a sports problem. It will be actually a social money. That is about age factor.

Rahul Dravid:
Yes. I mean, that’s it’s probably good platform to talk about it. You don’t want to talk about only truth or just honestly. Really? Yeah. You know, and I think that is, that is a big problem. I think in our country, not only cricket, cricket actually, to be honest, I think the BCCI has been very good at it, they’ve, you know, tried their best to work around age fudging and platform tried to put rules and regulations in place, including a bone test, at the 16 level, to try and curb that to a large extent. But I think any amount of effort that an organization puts in, and just the actual people on the ground or in the grassroots, your parents, your coaches, unless they realize this, you know, you’re always going to face this problem. And I think that for me, that’s the thing, I think when you’re sort of in charge of kids or an influential age, and as parents, you tell them it’s okay to fudge or to do something illegal anymore. It’s just plain wrong. And when they go on as adults, and you know, we get in one spot fixing or they get involved in activities that are not necessarily illegal stuff. I don’t know why it surprises people, because that’s exactly the lessons that you’ve taught them as youngsters. The whole value system that you’re trying to make, it’s all about you. It’s about cheating, and you know, you’re just trying to cheat. I think that’s something that’s really sad as a society in his initiative, we are teaching our young boys and girls the only way to succeed is to cheat shortcut shortcuts you know, take shortcuts and play above your age and you know, bully other young boys and, you know, to me, that’s just you know,

Ayaz Memon:
It’s a bit like ragging, isn’t it? Yeah, it is to use take advantage of it. In that sense.

Rahul Dravid:
Yeah, it is. And it’s, you know, and I think we’ve got to do everything we possibly can to ensure that that doesn’t happen and people have to take responsibility. If it comes from top down and it has to be enforced, then it’s not going to work. It has to happen from you know, the schools and the school principals and the sad part is, you know, you find something, schools are enormous.

Ayaz Memon:
I mean, these are places of learning, schools, parents, coaches, are they all equally responsible?

Rahul Dravid:
I mean these all places are, they’re all equally responsible, everyone.

Ayaz Memon:
I would venture even one more, state associations…

Rahul Dravid:
Everyone, I think. So, you know, I think in a lot of ways, you know, there’s a saying which is really nice, it takes a village to raise a child right. Let’s say they take some village to raise a child. So, if you just sort of say even to raise young cricketers today it cannot just be the responsibility of one person especially in a team sport, you know, because cricketers, right from the time they’re young, they start off maybe in a private coaching academy or they it starts off with a district academy and then they go upstate and then they go to places. They come to the NCC they play for the national team, under-19 team India; They’re an IPL team. There are so many teams they’re interacting with so many people. I think everyone in this ecosystem is actually responsible for making that cricketer like they say you need that village to make a child, you need a lot of this ecosystem to be able to have the child’s success. It’s like a lot of people come and say oh that guy’s, that boy is, falling away he’s going into bad habits you know what is the NCA doing or what is BCCI doing? It’s not possible for just NCA or BCCI to solve that problem, you know, if the parents are teaching him something at home or if it’s the state association. He’s, you know, been guided in a different way no matter what you do at the top level. It’s not necessarily going to work. It needs everyone to buy into this. Actually, raising these people. cricketers, and making them, you know, I think responsible citizens and great ambassadors for our game, yeah, instant fame and yeah, very early access to a lot of money yeah. It’s not just about cricketers or sports person. In some way most people absolutely not what is your own conviction, how’s the way out. I mean look at the end of the day. If nobody earns money yeah and fame, if it comes, money’s not a bad thing. I mean, the quality of life, you know, it improves. Not only your quality of life and I’ve seen the positive effects it had on the family of so many of these young boys and girls who’ve been able to earn their money and the things they’ve been able to do for their family. So, there’s a great positive in all of this. I think one of the important things is to, I think, to be able to recognize it for what it is but to also then realize that in my own career or the talent that I’ve been given, what are the benchmarks, what are the standards that I want to set.
Yeah, and you know what is real success for me; Is real success for me having the car or that house or is it in being able to play ten years for the country and achieve certain number of goals and targets that I wanted to achieve. And each one will have different things based on their ability, their talent. You know, I’m not going to judge anyone and say that you know just because you didn’t play hundred test matches, he’s lesser of a player. Yeah, he might have played 60 but he’s got the best out of his talent, and you know congratulations, that’s exactly what you want to see. That cushion of money should actually be able to stir you on to be able to focus on getting the best out of the talent that you’ve given, the money in the sport has allowed us to be able to invest that money in small towns and villages and cities facilities. Cricket’s a game which without facilities you can’t succeed. You know, you can play as much as you want on the road you can play in the street you will not become an international cricketer or whatever you’ll not be able to get an international, you’ll not be able to become a first-class cricketer, if you continue to just keep playing the road. You know, you can’t. You have to get to a proper coaching or a net and you need those facilities, and money allows these facilities to be taken to down and down. And you know for younger kids, so then, finances don’t become a barrier from playing the sport and we are still far away from that I still think that we can get even better we should we should be able to get better where, we should be able to say that you know, finances should never become a barrier to be able to play the sport. I think a large part of the success of cricket has been that we’ve been able to take a large part of the society along but we can be still better at it and we should strive to be better at it.

Ayaz Memon:
After winning the under 19 world cup you were a bit upset that you got higher prize money and the support staff got lower or lesser prize money and you asked for an equal division of prize money so….

Rahul Dravid:
So that’s my mindset. Really, at that, point of time, the contribution was everyone’s in the group.  I mean, I think in a team environment, you know, I was very respectful of the contribution of the rest of that support staff and I wouldn’t have been able to create the environment. The winning was done by the team, you know, I don’t ever take credit for that though. You won the world cup; we as a supporter did our bit to create an environment, and in that environment, I felt that everyone had played their part and so I just felt a bit unfair that you know, I was being paid a little bit extra. It just it was a more equitable way to do things in a fairer way. The right way to do things, to be honest, because everyone had an equal part in that environment. If I had, you know, been a player when I was a player and I scored more runs and someone else got the man of the match, it was a different story. There’s a clear black and white performance you get.

Ayaz Memon:
So, truth talks is basically about the person being interviewed, their profession, experience, life in general, anything you have, you know, suggestion, which would make it more effective.

Rahul Dravid:
I don’t know, I just think that having these conversations around some of the challenges in our society and just having, I think, more conversations around the fact that, you can follow certain principles and you can follow certain rules and still be successful and be able to acknowledge that you’re going to make mistakes but you’re going to learn from those mistakes. I think it’s really are important so, yeah, I’m not really sure what else you can do but yeah, it’s a great platform to be on.

Ayaz Memon:
Lovely, Rahul that was splendid! Thank you so much.

Rahul Dravid:
Thank you

Rahul Dravid:
I think it is a combination of all of these things, you can’t you can’t succeed in life, talent. So, question about it. I mean, like I said earlier, a lot of people I know work extremely hard, extremely dedicated, and disciplined, but not been able to achieve success because they didn’t have certain gifts or even have some luck. So, you can’t dismiss that stuff completely. But I think to get the best of yourself along with talent, you need a lot of other things, hard work, discipline to what you want to achieve, and integrity of your purpose. Also, a lot of these things need to come together if you want to long term, sustained, consistent success.

Ayaz Memon:
Expounding a truth, talking about the truth. And if it can be perceived as harsh, what would you do? Would you be diplomatic suppression? Or go ahead and say it?

Rahul Dravid:
I would love to say that I’ve gone ahead and said it all the time. But this inherent nature of the person I am just being honest, but there are times I’ve probably tended to be a bit diplomatic also. I do believe that, you know, things are not always like this, they have to be Shades of Grey of things, and you have to be accepting of a lot of people. But I really do admire people who are able to, you know, hit the nail, you know, come what may be the consequences, or you know, what others may feel, they’re very, very clear on what they want and might not necessarily be palatable to a lot of people but they’re very clear of what they say. I’m not necessarily sure.

Ayaz Memon:
I mean, I come from the old school, as you can imagine. You know, the environment that I grew up in, and especially about cricket is, you know, something lofty about the sport. Do you see that? Does it exist in your mind, mind space, when we’re playing? Or you heard about your signal? How do you see the younger generation now that you’re mentoring so many kids how they see sport? It is an unfair question on the youngsters because they’ll grow into a situation. They don’t expect. You don’t expect them to be very wise at this age. But there is a shot. You know, you’re a youngster once you’ve been through various stages of being a cricketer, the current situation that you’re NCA and mentor and coach of under 19-25.

Rahul Dravid:
It is almost more challenging for youngsters today. Because they are given so much at such a young age, that probably generations earlier didn’t happen, didn’t have the chance to meet that choices. So, you know, there are kids today who come out of our underwriting teams, and they can remake, you know, one IPL season one ideal contract, they make as much money they can have them choose between buying, you know, any fancy car that they want, with just one year of upon, right. I mean, if, if you were to go back again, to generations ago, you probably needed, you needed to play a long, long time you grow into, you’d have to. You didn’t have these options to make these choices as a 20-year-old. Yeah, there will be no chance. It was very much an amateur sport. No, and there was there wasn’t a concept of social media, there wasn’t as many distractions, there weren’t as many options, suddenly, today’s sports become so big, media has become so big that young boys and girls today, you know, have been faced with choices, dilemmas, decisions to be made at 20-21 without having been able to grow into it, you know, some of the decisions, we had to make a 30- 31 they having to make a 20- 21. Or they can make it because simply when they find themselves financially, or just opportunities are there. And that’s not easy, or fame. Because it’s become so much more competitive today, it’s almost become harder for sportsmen actually to have a normal life. So, I mean, if you were to sort of, say speak about Sunil Gavaskar and, you know, he went to college and did an MBA, he led a normal life. Yes, he was playing for India, at the end of all that, you know, just the fact that he went to college and you interacted with other people who probably didn’t play sport, and you kind of grew as a person.

Ayaz Memon:
So, I want to pick your brains of this, how do, you know, these kids who come to you also in the NCAA of under 19 team. You know, it’s a new era, it is a new generation. These are the millennials; their thought processes may be a little different. So how do you steer them? I mean, you’re like a father figure there.

Rahul Dravid:
So, I think there’s a lot of positives firstly. They’re a lot, a lot more fearless. There’s ambition. I see ambition. I see desire. Which is not a bad thing, which is an incredible thing. It’s fantastic. So, I said, like, I think these are the three positives that you see, the youth of today are the young Indian of today is a very different Indian to say 20 years ago, or 30 years ago. Yeah, growing up, they’re not intimidated by overseas players or foreign players. I mean, the first time I mean, I went to England once before I went on a tour, but I was just on a small tour with the use of like a club team. But today and some of the other 19 boys by the time they come into the team, they’ve been every single country in the world played on etos played on under-19 tours. So, the level of experience is completely different. The challenges I think they face is, is one of patience, almost a desire, I think to be to wanting to be successful, very quickly, or success is instantaneous, sometimes, you know, because of social media that you can play a few good knocks and have one good idea and actually be seen by a lot of other people as celebrities, or as famous when in actual terms of performance, you have a long way to go, you know, in your career.

Ayaz Memon:
But because we’ve spoken so much about youngsters, I want to touch on one issue, which you will be actually very vocal about. And I think it’s important that it needs to be addressed. Because this is something is not a real cricket problem or a sports problem. It will be actually a social money. That is about age factor.

Rahul Dravid:
Yes. I mean, that’s it’s probably good platform to talk about it. You don’t want to talk about only truth or just honestly. Really? Yeah. You know, and I think that is, that is a big problem. I think in our country, not only cricket, cricket actually, to be honest, I think the BCCI has been very good at it, they’ve, you know, tried their best to work around age fudging and social money tried to put rules and regulations in place, including a bone test, at the 16 level, to try and curb that to a large extent. But I think any amount of effort that an organization puts in, and just the actual people on the ground or in the grassroots, your parents, your coaches, unless they realize this, you know, you’re always going to face this problem. And I think that for me, that’s the thing, I think when you’re sort of in charge of kids or an influential age, and as parents, you tell them it’s okay to fudge or to do something illegal anymore. It’s just plain wrong. And when they go on as adults, and you know, we get in one spot fixing or they get involved in activities that are not necessarily illegal stuff. I don’t know why it surprises people, because that’s exactly the lessons that you’ve taught them as youngsters. The whole value system that you’re trying to make, it’s all about you. It’s about cheating, and you know, you’re just trying to cheat. I think that’s something that’s really sad as a society in his initiative, we are teaching our young boys and girls the only way to succeed is to cheat shortcut shortcuts you know, take shortcuts and play above your age and you know, bully other young boys and, you know, to me, that’s just you know,

Ayaz Memon:
It’s a bit like ragging, isn’t it? Yeah, it is to use take advantage of it. In that sense.

Rahul Dravid:
Yeah, it is. And it’s, you know, and I think we’ve got to do everything we possibly can to ensure that that doesn’t happen and people have to take responsibility. If it comes from top down and it has to be enforced, then it’s not going to work. It has to happen from you know, the schools and the school principals and the sad part is, you know, you find something, schools are enormous.

Ayaz Memon:
I mean, these all places of learning, schools, parents, coaches, are they all equally responsible?

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