London: Rahul Dravid arrived in Scotland Wednesday with wife Vijeeta to play 12 one-day games. He will be playing for Scottish Saltires in the National League second division.
“I suppose you could call (the summer with Saltires) an extended honeymoon, with a bit of work as well. Everyone tells me Scotland is beautiful and hopefully we will get a chance to see it,” the Indian vice-captain said.
“I am also looking forward to meeting everyone and getting to know the culture,” Dravid was quoted as saying in The Independent Sunday. Dravid’s £ 45,000 contract is being funded mostly by NRIs who have been raising money through dinners, raffles and donations.
Gwynne Jones, the chief executive of the Scottish Cricket Union was keen to hire an Indian international “because cricket is a great game for bringing different ethnic populations together.”
The player he had in mind was ace batsman Sachin Tendulkar but the Indian team coach John Wright suggested Dravid’s name. Wright told him: “The person who is really going to do things for you, on and off the pitch, is Rahul Dravid.”
Dravid said his experience with Kent three years ago encouraged him to play again.
“I enjoyed my stint in County cricket with Kent three years ago, and some day I might come and do that again. It was an experience, staying away from home for the first time, that helped me grow.
“I had the opportunity to do a lot of batting and benefited from it, because my form in the years since has been good. This year was a tough year physically and mentally though, and I didn’t want to be playing day-in, day-out, but it was still important to me to be able to commit myself to Scotland and play the game honestly and properly.”
The paper said Dravid’s comments said much about his mindset. “This is one superstar who is famed for his diligence, not extravagance.”
According to Craig Wright, the Scotland captain, Dravid’s first concern on checking out his accommodation was not its size or luxury, but simply to find out how the dishwasher worked. “He is a functional cricketer who relies on flair only if that is what works best. It is in his nature to graft, but for the team, not himself,” White said.
Dravid said he never tried to live up to any reputation. “I really don’t worry about how I am perceived, but the adulation I have in India does create a kind of pressure.”
“You almost feel humbled by the kind of support you receive, the kids and the people in small towns and villages who support us and are passionate about the game. You realise in time, though, that it stems from the game’s popularity.
“Today I’ll be there, but tomorrow it’ll be somebody else, just as there were great Indian cricketers before me. The younger guys are already coming through and taking that mantle. People move on, but the greatness of the game stays on. In a way, your responsibility is to make sure that happens.”