Dravid a role model: Sharad Pawar

A TRIO OF TITANS: Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble were felicitated on behalf of the Board of Control for Cricket in India by its president Sharad Pawar on Saturday for reaching historic career landmarks. Kumble became the first Indian bowler to reach the 500-wicket mark at Mohali recently. Tendulkar became India's most capped Test cricketer (132 Tests) on the opening day of the third Test against England in Mumbai, a match that also happens to be Dravid's 100th Test.   | Photo Credit: Photo: S. Subramanium

He joins elite band of Indian cricketers who have played 100 or more Tests

Mumbai: Sharad Pawar, president, Board of Control for Cricket in India, on Saturday said captain Rahul Dravid's discipline, commitment and focus made him a perfect role model for the younger generation.

Mr. Pawar's praise came on a day when he joined an elite band of Indian cricketers who played 100 or more Tests and also in the backdrop of comments made by Bharatiya Janata Party chief Rajnath Singh that cricketers such as Sourav Ganguly and Dravid could not be role models for youngsters. ``I am sure that the younger generation in this country looks up to you as a role model, particularly to adopt your determination to do well and your work ethics,'' Mr. Pawar said in a statement.

Before the start of play in the third and final Test against England here, the board felicitated Dravid, along with Anil Kumble (for having taken 500 Test wickets) and Sachin Tendulkar (for becoming the most capped Indian player with his 132nd Test appearance). Appreciating Dravid's outstanding contribution since his debut at Lord's in 1996, Mr. Pawar said the 33-year-old player had quietly worked his way to become one of the world's best batsmen.

``With every Test you played, you matured and exhibited in abundance the qualities of discipline, commitment and focus, which have helped you carve out a niche for yourself as one of the world's best batsmen.''

Describing Dravid as ``a perfect ambassador for India and the game of cricket,'' he said the recent honour the United Nations bestowed on the skipper was ``another feather in your cap."

``You have always given your best to the Indian team, whether it was playing as a wicket-keeper batsman in one-day internationals or helping the Indian team recover from early setbacks while batting.''

Pointing out that Dravid had been in excellent form over the last few seasons, as reflected in his batting averages, Mr. Pawar said: ``You were rightfully adjudged the Test Player of the Year and Player of the Year by the ICC in 2004.''

On behalf of the Indian team, Dravid and Tendulkar were honoured by coach Greg Chappell and former paceman Javagal Srinath.

The players were also felicitated by the Mumbai Cricket Association headed by Mr. Pawar and bouquets sent to them by Maharashtra Governor S. M. Krishna. PTI