The Wall


For nearly 16 years, starting from the time when his exploits across the 22 yard pitch as a teenager announced to the world that he was a cricket exponent of remarkable ability Rahul Sharad Dravid has repeatedly proved his worth.

Whenever the Indian Cricket Team found itself on a sticky wicket, he put his hand up. Whether it was opening the innings in the twilight of his career in England last year or slipping on the wicketkeeper’s gloves so that one more batsman could be accommodated for the 2003 World Cup, Dravid was “The Wall of Indian Cricket”.  

He truly was the Wall of all seasons.  He was a player who showed nerves in the decisive games for India and a player who always put the team first.  Dravid holds multiple cricketing records and the numbers reveal the magnificence of his innings.

  • Rahul Dravid is only the second player, after Sachin Tendulkar, to reach 13,000 runs in Test cricket, with 36 hundreds and an average of 52.31.
  • On 14 February 2007, he became the sixth player overall and the third Indian (after Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly), to score 10,000 runs in ODI cricket in cricketing history.
  • He is the first and only batsman to score a century in all ten Test Cricket playing nations.
  • Dravid currently holds the world record for the most number of catches in Test cricket with more than 200 catches.
  • Dravid has also been involved in more than 80 century partnerships with 18 different partners and has been involved in 19 century partnerships with Sachin Tendulkar – a world record.

But it has been one of the oddities that Dravid’s finest hours were persistently overshadowed by another event.

Rahul made his debut in 1996 in the Second Test against England at the Lord’s along with Sourav Ganguly, when Sanjay Manjrekar got injured after the first Test match. Dravid made a luminous 96 but was upstaged by Sourav’s century (Sourav’s 131 still remains the highest by any batsman on his debut at the Lord’s). And in 2001 during that staggering fight back against the Australians at Eden Gardens, his majestic 180 always stood in comparison with the epic 281 scored by VVS Laxman.

As cricket crazy India celebrated our cricketing maestros, it looked like the quiet man of Indian cricket Rahul Dravid always got less than his due. But a careful analysis of the Lords innings and the Eden Garden innings will reveal why Rahul Dravid is called ‘the Wall’ by his team mates. In both these Test matches Rahul provided the momentum for both Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman to capitalize on enroute to their epic milestone.  And the master of the measured aesthetic, never complained and keeping the interest of team in mind, silently scripted many a sporting victories for Team India.

On 14 December 2011, he became the first non-Australian cricketer to address at the Bradman Memorial lecture in Canberra.  It was here he revealed his genius through a precious well thought out blueprint: drawn from a beautiful mind in a beautiful game.

His farewell to cricket was also a stroke in his own terms. On 9 March 2012, announced his retirement from international and first class cricket. Dravid made the announcement with the BCCI president, N Srinivasan and former captain and friend Anil Kumble at a press conference in Bangalore. And it was much like the man himself, unassuming and yet taking full cognisance of the big cricket picture. In his own words, “I felt it was the right time for me to move on, for a next generation of cricketers to play and make a new history.” No soaring metaphor, no grand flourish.

Although Dravid’s retirement has been on the cards, it had been expected that he would be given a farewell match as was done in the cases of fellow greats Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly. But with no Test match scheduled until September, it must go down as yet another instance of the quiet man of Indian cricket getting less than his due.

But many regard Rahul Dravid as one of the greatest Test batsmen in the history of the game. And for cricket enthusiasts he will remain “THE WALL”

Photo Courtesy: santabanta.com

Advertisements
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: