of a lifetime
When young Rahul Dravid met his
Sri Lankan heroes
By S.R. Pathiravithana
Seven year-old Anand was playing cricket with his friend Rahul in
their back yard and what annoyed Anand the most was that he could
never get his friend out in a hurry. One day Anand had news for
his friend. He said " Rahul! my father's friends are Sri Lankan
cricketers and they will be coming to his place today and my father
said that I could join him and I asked him if you also could join
us and he said yes, isn't it great?", and they were on their
way to R. Ram's place.
years ago Ram was in Hotel management, but, his first love was and
still is cricket. In 1976 Ram was the manager of an Indian Xl which
toured Sri Lanka for the christening of the new Bloomfield ground
which was relocated at Reid Avenue from its original Campbell Park.
The tour was organised through the friendship between former Indian
captain Ajit Wadekar and the doyen of Bloomfield C and AC Shelly
made the most of it. During this tour he made friends with most
of the Sri Lankan cricketers whom he met and has kept that friendship
going up to now. But, this particular episode took place when Sri
Lanka toured Sri Lanka as an official Test playing nation under
the leadership of Bandula Warnapura in 1981.
they had a break from cricket while playing their game in Bangalore
Warnapura and some of his teammates went to see their friend Ram
to his residence. Taking this chance Anand brought his friend Rahul
along with him and they did not forget to bring their autograph
books along with them. The two kids had a whale of a time. They
not only talked to the hero's, but also posed for some pictures
with them. From this point onwards the two kids never missed the
trip to uncle Ram's house whenever the Sri Lankan cricketers visited
went by and Anand found better things to do in life and forgot about
his childhood friend for while until he found out that now Rahul
was a member of the state Ranji trophy team. This he told Ram who
was his friend now and one day they went to see this Rahul Dravid
playing in a game. What follwed that is known history.
former Sri Lankan vice-captain Roy Dias who was a graceful batsman
as good as Dravid now is took time off from his coaching stint in
Nepal and was visiting Bangalore. During this visit Roy did not
forget to visit his old friend Ram. At Ram's place Roy met Ram friend
Rahul and soon they were walking down memory lane as with the pictures
of Rahul standing besides Roy and company way back in 1981.
at the pictures Roy said "It may have been a great thing for
you Rahul at that time, but, today I do not mind standing with you
and posing for a photograph".
Warnapura who accompanied his old friend Ram to The Sunday Times
office could not remember this incident in particular but, looking
at the pictures he said "At that time we did not know he was
going to be the man he is now. It shows that this boy was keen and
interested in the game from a very young age and that dedication
has brought him this far'.