Alongside superstars Tendulkar, Laxman, Sehwag
and Ganguly, Dravid was an integral part of the galaxy of batting talent
that has graced contemporary Indian cricket
New Delhi:Classy, conventional, cool in a crisis and
controversy-free, Rahul Dravid is an idol and superstar of Indian
cricket as well as a gentlemanly competitor revered by opponents the
The top-order batsman, who has anchored India's
national team for the last decade and a half, was only the second Indian
after Sachin Tendulkar to have completed 10,000 runs in both Tests
(13,288) and one-dayers (10,889).
Known as "The Wall" for his
solid defence and unflappable temperament - a tag he never liked himself
- he was renowned for his elegant stroke-play and ability to grind down
opponents while withstanding the most intense match-day pressures.
decision to call it a day came with the realisation that his
once-formidable reflexes were beginning to crumble after he managed just
194 runs in eight innings in the recent Test series in Australia.
series average of 24.25 was unacceptable for the 39-year-old
perfectionist with a career average of 52.31 in 164 Tests with the help
of 36 centuries.
Dravid had quit as skipper following his
below-par performances in South Africa in 2006-2007 and in England in
2007 when he felt captaincy had been a burden that hindered his pursuit
Alongside superstars Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman,
Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly, Dravid was an integral part of the
galaxy of batting talent that has graced contemporary Indian cricket.
was not an explosive stroke-maker like Tendulkar or Sehwag, but was
second to none when it came to building an innings under pressure with
judicious shot-selection and immense concentration.
was set, you needed the bowling equivalent of a dozen cannon firing all
at once to blast him down," Australian spin legend Shane Warne wrote in
his book "Shane Warne's Century."
"True, he is not a batsman to
destroy you in a mad half-hour like a Lara or a Gilchrist, but he can
grind you down and test your patience bit by bit until you lose your
concentration and forget your plan."
Dravid, a safe slip fielder
with a world record 210 Test catches, was an ideal number-three batsman
as he had the technique to cope with quality pace as well as spin.
burst into the national team in 1996 when he made a solid 95 on his
Test debut against England at Lord's and played many match-winning
innings in testing conditions.
Dravid was in the middle when
India did the unthinkable against Steve Waugh's Australians in the
second Test at Kolkata in 2001, conjuring up a fairy-tale win after
being forced to follow on.
He compiled a composed 180 in a
massive 376-run stand for the fifth wicket with Laxman (281) to
eventually help his team end Australia's amazing 16-match winning
Dravid was on song in 2002 when he hammered centuries in
four successive Tests -- three in England and one against the West
Indies at home. He continued to contribute in away Test wins, with a
hundred against England at Leeds in 2002, a double-century against
Australia at Adelaide in 2003 and a pair of half-centuries against the
West Indies on a difficult pitch in Kingston in 2006.
recently, he cracked three Test hundreds in England last year when his
team-mates were floundering against a sharp, disciplined pace attack.
His last century came in November last year when he scored a brilliant
119 against the West Indies at the famous Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
feels that I am in some good form. I have hit a good patch and I am in a
good space with my game, so I am really trying to make it count," said
He led India to rare Test series wins in the
West Indies in 2006, the first in 35 years, and then in England in 2007,
the first in 21 years.
"A great thing about Rahul is that he has
always loved to work hard, always trying to stay a step ahead of the
game," Tendulkar once said. "He is the perfect team man."