Bangalore, Mar 22: Rahul Dravid, who retired from international cricket recently, said he was inspired by former Australia captain Steve Waugh.
"I saw in Steve Waugh my road map to build my career. I couldn't model my game on the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara as I couldn't play attacking shots as they did. Steve appeared to relish the big occasion, seemed to thrive in such situations and I always respected him for that," Dravid said at a function organised by Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) to felicitate him at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.
The 39-year-old said he admired Waugh's determination as a cricketer.
Waugh, in a video message to Dravid during the function, paid rich tributes to "The Wall."
It is worth mentioning that Dravid wrote the foreward for Waugh's autobiography "Out of my comfort zone."
This is what Dravid wrote of Waught in the book's foreward: "I was 14 years old –sweating at the nets and dreaming, like schoolboys do, of playing for my country – when I first saw Steve Waugh. It was the 1987 World Cup in India, which Australia won, and while Steve was in his early twenties he had already caught my eye. This was not merely because of his ability with bat and ball (his slower deliveries bowled with various actions would soon be replicated in nets around India), but also for his grit under pressure.
"Steve appeared to relish the big occasion, seemed to thrive in such situations, but I had no idea back then that it would be this characteristic that would become his signature or that years later I would be privileged to see it first hand. Greatness is a label easily bestowed in these 'exaggerated' times, but Steve earned such high praise. History will remember him as one of the game’s finest practitioners."
"He is someone who valued his wicket," Dravid said of Waugh.
"The Wall" admitted that he used imitate Waugh's mannerisms on the field.
"Steve appeared to relish the big occasion, seemed to thrive in such situations," he said.
Apart from Waugh, Dravid said he had so many people to look up to. "So many people I have looked up to. GR Viswanath, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev from that era. Sachin, Ganguly, Laxman, Kumble from when I started playing. Also there are so many players from around the world like Steve Waugh, Brian Lara, Vivian Richards, Jacques Kallis etc," he said.
Talking about his special partnership with VVS Laxman, Dravid said: "We knew each other very well right from the junior days playing for South Zone. We only spoke of supporting each other when playing together for the country."