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Rahul Dravid: Timeless Steel - Book Review

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Disney and ESPNCricinfo's collaborative effort to put together a collection of stories about India's legendary batsman Rahul Dravid lives up to the quality one would expect from all three brands in question. 'Timeless Steel' priced at an inviting Rs. 599 is a veritable treasure trove for the Indian cricket fan, and by design this hardcover book serves the twin purpose of being an excellent read while also being well presented to make it a coffee table piece, not that you will be putting it down much once you pick it up.

While the stories that made Rahul Dravid the legend that he is are interesting, and cause instant flashbacks in the mind of the reader, there are two pieces which stand out for their quality. One is Dravid's Bradman Oration lecture in Canberra 2011, which in itself is worth owning as a piece of cricketing literature as the veteran Indian batsman dissects the game with the humility and grace that one has become accustomed to expect from him.

But for me personally, the piece that really stood out was a short three and a half page story from a name most Indians would be unfamiliar with - Ed Smith, who batted at no.4 for Kent, one spot behind Dravid during the Indian's solitary experience of County cricket. Smith quotes a line from Dravid which will remain engrained in my memory forever, with which I will now associate the champion batsman. Dravid had stated, "I was given a talent to play cricket. I don't why I was given it. But I was. I owe it to all those who wish it has been (given to) them to give my best, every day."

Dravid's ability to see his God given talent in a light that no one else could, and then put in the hard miles necessary to make the most of it is what separates the great from the good, and that for me sets him apart from everyone else. For in a country like India there is no shortage of players either with talent or those who would work tirelessly to achieve their dreams, but it is the combination of the two that makes a player a champion.

But enough about Dravid and back to the book. Its best quality no doubt is the fact that you can pick it up and open any page and just grab a quick read from there. Chances are you'll walk away feeling a little better connected to Rahul, and with a smile on your face.