09th March 2012: Manoj Badale, Co-owner, Rajasthan Royals
On behalf of the Rajasthan Royals, we want to wish Rahul Dravid many, many congratulations on an extraordinary international career.
While much will be reported on the cricketing prowess of a true legend of the game, it is also important to acknowledge the greatness of the man himself. I first got to know Rahul in 2007 when he captained the Indian side in a rain abandoned ODI versus Pakistan that was to launch the British Asian Trust. There were many challenges faced by the match the fact that it had to be played in Scotland due to TV rights issues, the fact that a stadium had to be built at a time of great security concern and compounded by a terrorist attack at Glasgow airport two days before the game. The greatest challenge was the weather, which ultimately prevented the match from happening, but it did start a conversation that has lasted five years and is growing.
His contribution to cricket will be written about for years to come and very few will come close to his Test Record of 13262 runs, which he has at an average of 52.63. However, to get to know him is to understand that his contribution goes far beyond his runs. His mere presence in a side brings calmness and a solidity that few can match. His time, not just for the ball, but for his colleagues (both on and off the field) is most generous. His views and passion for the game were evident in his recent Bradman Oration. His passion for self-improvement is evident in every practice session. And his integrity and decency are what, in my opinion, mark him out as unique amongst Indian cricketers.
To have him join the Royals last year was to complete a quest that we started in South Africa during IPL season 2. To have him play was a privilege. To have him lead the Royals will be a dream. He has big shoes to fill, but he will rise to the challenge. He commits 100% to everything he does on and off the field.
The word great is sometimes used too often in business and in sport. However, all Royals fans should celebrate a great international career, and above all a great human being!