BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 13:00 GMT
Rahul Dravid: A gentleman player
BBC Hindi Service India editor Sanjeev Srivastava meets Indian cricket legend Rahul Dravid.

Rahul Dravid
Dravid is known as an "icon" player

It's not often that one gets to penetrate the defences of a great batsman who has earned the nickname of "The Wall" for fending off the fiercest, the fastest and the wiliest of bowlers around the world.

But on Thursday, in a rare, heart-to-heart chat with BBC's Ek Mulaqat programme (BBC's flagship programme on Indian FM radio), Dravid chose to lower his guard for once and spoke about his passions both on and off field.

But even on this occasion, he chose not to take on some really tricky questions. Like who is his favourite cook - his wife or his mother?

With all his experience Dravid certainly knows which delivery to duck to avoid trouble in his own backyard.

One of India's leading run-scorers in both forms of the game - Test cricket and limited overs - Dravid spoke at length about his love for the game, his favourite cricketers and film stars and also about his fascination for radio.

"There is an element of mystique to radio and I often listen to cricket commentary on radio, especially when one is stuck in a traffic jam."

Relaxed

Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Steve Waugh are some of his all-time favourite cricketers. Glenn McGrath is the bowler he has the highest regard for.

Dravid spoke to the BBC in the southern Indian city of Bangalore before an invited audience.

Dressed in casuals, Dravid looked relaxed and dapper as always. In a lighter vein he, however, said that his female fan following has considerably dipped in the last few years since his marriage.

"It's the younger players like [Irfan] Pathan who now get all the attention," he said amidst laughter from the audience.

Rahul Dravid with a fan at the BBC event
The cricketer has a lot of fan following in India

The recently-concluded cricket series in Australia - where the Indian team won the limited overs triangular series tournament by defeating the Aussies - has won a lot of brownie points for the new look, youthful Indian cricket team which is more aggressive and combative on the field than some of the previous teams.

Known as a gentleman and seen more as a technically correct accumulator of runs rather than a swashbuckler and a big hitter, Dravid is increasingly seen as a Test player by team selectors.

So he was not chosen for the shorter, limited over, version of the game which India played in Australia.

Does he regret sometimes that he is not seen as a more macho, aggressive player? And does he think the image of a gentleman is not a good tag to carry in today's competitive cricket?

Glamour of cricket

"Not really. I am what I am. I have not deliberately built an image for myself. In any case I also think that you can do little about things like these. You get an image in the first couple of years of your career and then whether you like it or not you are stuck with it for the rest of your life."

As there were more questions related to the glamour of cricket, Dravid was drawn more into the topic of all the fan following and hero worship which Indian cricketers are so used to.

Rahul Dravid
Dravid is one of India's leading run-scorers

"It's a part of life, sometimes it does invade into your private space but also it would be a lie to say that one does not enjoy it."

Do cricketers also talk in their dressing room about pretty faces amongst the spectators?

"Yes. But it's those fielding near the boundary line who get a better view of the spectators. Information trickles down late to those fielding in close-in positions," says slip-fielder Dravid, evoking peels of laughter from the audience.

Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Kajol are amongst his favourite Bollywood stars and the 1970s Hindi blockbuster Sholay is his all-time favourite film.

He loves the music of AR Rahman and his favourite holiday destination is a little-known tiger reserve near his home city of Bangalore.

"My only regret is that I have been going there for 10 years now but am yet to see a tiger."

'Excited'

Dravid loves home-cooked food and his favourite pastime off the field is to spend quality time with his family, particularly his two-year-old son, Samit.

"It's such a pleasure to watch him grow. The difficult thing really is to come up with answers to all the questions he has."

The Indian cricket team after the win
Dravid was not part of the team which won the series in Australia

Dravid is now looking forward to playing a long innings and is quite excited about the changes taking place in Indian cricket.

Indian Premier League is the new buzz word revolutionising cricket in India.

Players from across the world as well as Indian stars have been bought over at unheard kind of prices by city clubs which will now take on each other in the 20-20 format.

Dravid himself is the key player and captain (referred to as an "icon" player in the IPL terminology) of the Bangalore team which is owned by the high flying Indian tycoon, Vijay Mallaya.

"Lets see how IPL catches on in India. I am excited to be a part of it. In India people are used to supporting the country rather than cities. So its going to be a new phenomenon. I am excited to share the dressing room with players from other countries."

The radio interview with Rahul Dravid can be found via bbchindi.com. The programme is called Ek Mulaqat.

SEE ALSO
'India need to be consistent'
20 Mar 07 |  South Asia
Re-inventing yoga for the masses
08 Jan 07 |  South Asia
Shammi Kapoor: The original Yahoo man
22 Dec 06 |  South Asia
Sharad Pawar: Regional strongman
11 Dec 06 |  South Asia
The other side of LK Advani
25 Nov 06 |  South Asia
Kanshi Ram: Champion of the poor
09 Oct 06 |  South Asia
Bollywood star edits BBC website
13 Sep 06 |  Entertainment

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific