Just before the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League was to start, one of my colleagues motivated me to have my own fantasy team. While I always wanted to have one, the thought of the technicalities often made me skip the idea. But that’s the advantage of working with a team which has sports fanatics. We work as a team, and we make sure that everybody else in the team is a part of an activity. So one afternoon when I reached office, I saw my team-mates keenly building their own fantasy teams. I thought it was a good idea and within half an hour, I had my own star-studded IPL fantasy team. The advantage of playing fantasy cricket is that it helps you to keep a check on the players’ performance and the fun part is obvious.
A fantasy team is a game where cricket fans select a team comprising players they feel would fetch them maximum points. Every wicket, half-century, hat-trick, catch gets you points, which might differ on different websites. T20 specialists are in big demand and thus it is a must for every team owner to have the likes of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Brad Hodge and Suresh Raina in their respective teams. All-rounders like Dwayne Bravo, Kevon Cooper, Thisara Perera also prove to be very handy.
The ongoing IPL matches became even more interesting as I started cheering players from all across the world and not just Indian players. For instance, I found myself cheering for Azhar Mahmood some days back and was one of the happiest cricket fans when the all-rounder claimed a three-wicket haul. When you have a fantasy team, you want ‘your’ players to do well, and even if an Indian player goes on to score a century, you aren’t happy if he isn’t in your team. Having said that, I must admit that there is one player who is probably not a part of anybody’s IPL fantasy team, but still you want him to score big – Rahul Dravid.
Dravid leads Rajasthan Royals, a side which has the likes of Shane Watson, Brad Hodge and Kevon Cooper who can send the bowlers for a leather hunt all day. And thus to inspire such players to do well, it’s extremely pleasant to watch the amount of hard work ‘The Wall’ puts in each and every innings.
IPL is all about power-hitting and playing unorthodox shots. But Dravid shows how one can score runs, at pace, even in the shortest format of the game with a sound technique. Dravid played a captain’s knock against Delhi Daredevils in their first game (65 from 51). He was dismissed for just 17 in the second match against Kolkata Knight Riders but he bounced back and slammed another half-century against Pune Warriors India. It was the same match where he pulled off a blinder to dismiss Robin Uthappa.
Nobody would have imagined Dravid being in the list of highest run getters for IPL 6. At a time when his contemporaries like Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar are struggling to meet expectations, it is really pleasing to watch Dravid make an impact, both as a skipper and as a batsman in the latest edition of IPL. He puts in a few extra hours than everybody else to make sure he makes his team and the fans proud.
Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard will continue to be the favourites in fantasy cricket and would produce several points for cricket fans all across the world. But no one can replace Dravid in terms of dignity and respect that he commands. Dravid doesn’t need an IPL or for that matter fantasy cricket to prove what a legend he has been for world cricket.