Rahul in the box
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At the top of the order, Virender Sehwag was being Vintage Viru. At Number 3, Cheteshwar Pujara, with his correctness repeatedly brought to mind Rahul Dravid, now in the commentary box, giving the insight only an insider can. With Sourav Ganguly, a post-IPL retiree like Dravid, also on air, Day One of the long-awaited India-England Test series had a whiff of freshness on both sides of the boundary ropes.
In the commentary box, musty cliches and hackneyed tales narrated by ancient voices didn't clog the lines. Players from the 1980s have monopolised the mike for over two decades but the recent spate of high-profile retirements has rearranged the broadcasters' hierarchy. The old boys, who seemed to have lost connect with the changing Indian dressing room and even with the evolving game, are looking out of touch. Dravid and Ganguly, together in a commentary box for the first time during a Test series, were telling cricket-watchers what they always wanted to know but didn't know whom to ask. Sanjay Manjrekar asked what Sehwag's mindset would have been on the morning of this crucial match, and Dravid indulgently replied, "He would have been whistling a Hindi movie number." Another revelation was about that particular Sachin Tendulkar shot that is the early indicator of the batsman being in prime touch. No it isn't the straight drive, as we have been told for ages, but the flick to square leg off the ball heading for the stumps.
Dravid sounded convincing even when he spoke about the youngsters. Having mentored the likes of Pujara and Virat Kohli while playing for Team India and the IPL, unlike a few others around him, he didn't have to bank on his amateurish body language-reading skills to understand Gen Next cricketers. On the field and off it too, these are interesting times of transition in cricket.
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