As the morning nip gave strategy to noon solar, the stadium slipped right into a siesta. The drained policemen stumbled onto their chairs, the groundsmen sprawled onto the grass beside the fence, and scattered officers broke for lunch. Outside the stadium, the ceaseless procession of site visitors pale out. Then, as if woken by a sudden alarm, they scrambled onto their ft, gave up what they had been doing, and rushed to the closest vantage level.
That was simply the time Rahul Dravid walked out onto the bottom for India’s observe session, and all people needed to have an eyeful of Dravid. Flicking out their smartphone, they photographed him in a mad tizzy. Some craned their neck and physique to fabricate an bold selfie, all of the whereas chorusing “Dravid, Dravid…” so loud that their echoes stuffed the stadium.
In his return to the nationwide group within the coach avatar, the adulation of him appears to have solely magnified. For the subsequent half an hour or so, they seldom took their eyes off him. An urgency marking his brisk strides, he sprinted to the observe turf, pressed the floor along with his footwear, and proceeded to the batting finish and shadow-batted a ahead defensive, as if he might learn the thoughts of the assembled viewers.
He repeated the identical routine in every of the three nets, earlier than speeding to the centre sq., the place the pitch for use for the sport was neatly wrapped in inexperienced tarpaulin. Carefully, the groundsmen unwrapped the pitch. Dravid crouched for a better look or two after which rapidly returned to the batting nets, the place once more he was greeted vociferously by the rapturous gathering. Even the grisly middle-aged policemen with twirly moustaches had turned fan-boys.
Some time later, their fervent want appeared answered. Dravid picked up the bat and placed on a pair of gloves. Only that he was not going to bat within the standard sense, however give the slips-men catching observe. Even then he struggled to find the sting, some internalised habits by no means die, and the meant edges flew extra like late-cuts, too quick for a few of them.
He discovered an answer to supply extra real edges. He requested the thrower to bowl wider and he moved a yard away from his unique perch. The intention being enjoying as a lot as away from the physique. Again, he can be drawn to play the ball as near the physique as attainable. Old habits, as they are saying, die laborious. Or in his case not die in any respect.
Slips session over, he relocated his perch to the enterprise finish, the primary nets, nearer to the fanboys, whose smartphone cameras once more flickered in a mad tizzy. He stood like a rock—properly, a wall—monkishly observing the gamers, his palms on hips and sometimes strolling as much as them for, seemingly, an enter or maybe an off-the-cuff commentary.