RAHUL DRAVID – THE WALL
It was tough to leave “the life I have lived for 16 years and, before that, five years of first class cricket. It [cricket] is all I have known all my grown life … it wasn’t a difficult decision for me because I just knew in my heart that the time was right, and I was very happy and comfortable in what I had achieved and what I had done. You just know deep down that it is time to move on and let the next generation take over.” – Rahul Dravid announcing his retirement in a crowded press conference in a room at M. Chinnasamy stadium in 2012.
“Indian people love to give their heroes a nickname. As these things to, Rahul Dravid being known as ‘The Wall’ is pretty much spot on. ‘The fortress’ could also describe Rahul. Because once, Dravid was set, you needed the bowling equivalent of a dozen cannon firing all at once to blast him down “ – Legendary Spinner Shane Warne.
Rahul Sharad Dravid, who’s celebrating his 48th birthday today (11th Jan) is affectionately called as “The Wall” . With over 24,000 international runs and next only to Sachin Tendulkar for India, he was India’s prolific run scorer.
504 International matches
146 half centuries
Wisden Cricketer of the year 2000
ICC Test Player of the year 2004
ICC Player of the year 2004Rahul Dravid
In 2018 Inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame
Padma shri and Padma Bhushan Awards
In December 2011, he became the first non-Australian cricketer to deliver the Bradman Oration in Canberra.
Born in a Marathi family in Indore, his family moved to Bengaluru, where he was raised and studied there. He played cricket at the young age of 12 and represented Under-15, 17 & 19 for Karnataka and was making steady progress. While studying in college itself he made debut in Ranji Trophy alongside Javgal Srinath and Anil Kumble. With his consistent performance in domestic circuits, he was selected for national duties in ODI in 1996
DEBUT IN TEST
Sandip Patil, Coach of Indian team in 1996 recalls “ When Sanjay Manjrekar failed the fitness Test just before 10 minutes of the Lord’s Test, I informed Rahul Dravid that he was making debut at Lord’s , Dravid’s face was bright “. He went on to make 95 runs . He debuted along with Ganguly, who hit a century on Debut.
In a test career spanning over 286 innings, he faced most number of balls in the world 31,248 deliveries that put his grafting of runs. In terms of dedication of craft and working on perfection Dravid is second to none which fetched him many runs in his test career. He was the first Test player to score a century against all Test playing nations of the time. Incidentally, he is the second highest run getter next only to Sachin Tendulkar of the country.
Consistency is synonymous with Dravid. In his first ten series , he averaged 40+ in seven series. He was in great form during 2002-2006 when he amassed runs in all countries including 16 centuries and also helped the country to win more matches in away series , especially in 2002 when he scored centuries in consecutive innings in England including a double century scoring 602 runs in England with an average of 75+. All his away centuries were scored in tough conditions that led to Indian wins abroad including series wins. Seldom It was achieved like this for India with an astronomical average of 77.
The Bondage between V.V.S. Laxman & Dravid started at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2001 in an epic battle. As India were asked to follow-on by the Aussies Captain Steve Waugh , the odds were against India to win this test. But ultimately it turned out to be a much talked about match of the decade. The Aussies began their 3 test series campaign well as they steamrolled In Mumbai in the first test, and India were pushed to the wall in the 2nd test at Eden Gardens. India had a herculean task on their hands when they were asked to follow-on. And they began their 2nd innings steadily losing first 3 wickets within 100 runs, including that of Sachin tendulkar. Then VVS Laxman, the hero of the match, who was asked to bat at No.3 ahead of Dravid, built 117 runs partnership with the Captain Ganguly for the 4th wicket. Then came the mammoth partnership of 376 runs for the 5th wicket between Laxman and Dravid. It was a leather hunt against the mighty Aussies. They were ruthless against all bowlers including McGrath, Shane Warne, Gillespie and Kasprowicz who for the first time conceded 100+ runs in a Test. And after India put up a mammoth 657 runs for 7 declared , it was the turn of the indian spinners led by Harbhajan to guide victory for India.
In 2002 series against England in their own backyard started disastrously for India as they lost the first test at Lord’s and of course in the second test at Nottingham they held on to a draw thanks to Dravid’s century in the second innings. The third test at Headingly, Leeds was one of the watershed moments for India as they handed a humiliating Innings defeat to the hosts for the first time in their own den. It was again Dravid who stitched century partnerships with Sanjay Bangar & Sachin Tendulkar as India amassed 628 runs. England after scoring 270 runs in the first innings were asked to follow-on and despite a brilliant hundred by Naser Hussain were dismissed for 312 runs and India romped home handsomely. Dravid was declared the Player of the match for his strenuous innings. And this win ensured India to square the 4 test series with 1-1.
At Adelaide in 2003-04 it was again the pair of Dravid and Laxman who were showing signs of maturity put up a great fight into the enemy camp. After Australia hammered Indian bowling and scored 556 runs, India lost 4 wickets within 100 runs including Sachin and captain Ganguly. Then came the mammoth partnership of 303 runs for the 5th wicket in the first innings and Dravid made useful partnership with late order batsmen and he was the last man to get out after a marathon 233 runs. Then Ajit Agarkar’s sensational seam bowling (6/42) helped India to restrict the Aussies 196 runs and India had to chase 233 runs and again there were some nervous moments in the chase and Dravid remained unbeaten in the second innings and saw India winning by 4 wickets and India ended the series with 1-1 labelled as a great series.
The traditional rival battle began in the Pakistan tour of 2004 and billed as the most turbulent series. The 3rd Test at Rawalpindi aroused interest as both the teams won a game each. Pakistan were dismissed for 224 runs in the first innings and India began badly losing schewag for a duck. Then Rahul Dravid took the centre stage and stitched century partnerships with Parthiv patel and Laxman again and with captain Ganguly and 98 runs partnership with Yuvraj singh and he played a marathon innings scoring 270 runs his career best and a tight bowling by Anil Kumble helped India to inflict a humiliating innings and 131 runs defeat , a heaviest defeat and also won the series for the first time in Pakistan with 2-1 margin.
The captain’s defining moment came at Kingston in West Indies in 2006 . Rahul Dravid’s captaincy came to the fore during this 4 match series. The first 3 tests ended in tame draws. So, the focus was on this test. Rahul batted brilliantly scoring 81 & 68 runs in this test and he added a crucial 93 runs partnership for the 7th wicket with Anil Kumble. India won this test and along with it the Series 1-0. This was the first time in 35 years for an Asian captain to win a series in the West Indies.
An innings-by-innings breakdown of Dravid’s Test match batting career, showing runs scored (red bars with purple bars for not out) and the average of the last ten innings (blue line).
Source : wikipedia.com
After reaching 10,000 Test runs, he said , “ It’s a proud moment for sure. For me, growing up, I dreamt of playing for India. When I look back, I probably exceeded my expectations with what I have done over the last 10 to 12 years. I never had an ambition to do it because I never believed-it is just a reflection of my longevity in the game”.
. “When I look back at myself as a 23-year-old when I played for India, and when I look at the talent on show now, I just know that I was nowhere near as talented as some of these kids.
“Just being talented doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a successful Test career. There are a lot of things that go with it, how you face the challenges and deal with things that are more internal than external. I think it will be interesting and really fun for me, as I sit back on my couch, to watch some of these young players try to establish themselves over the next two to three years.”
In ODIs also, he contributed handsomely for India’s win.
Dravid often kept wickets for India in ODIs.
Dravid was involved in two of the largest partnerships in ODIs: a 318-run partnership with Sourav Ganguly, the first pair to combine for a 300-run partnership, and then a 331-run partnership with Sachin Tendulkar, which is a world record. He also holds the record for the greatest number of innings played since debut before being dismissed for a duck. His highest score in ODIs is 153.
Though primarily a defensive batsman, Dravid scored 50 runs not out in 22 balls (a strike rate of 227.27) against New Zealand in Hyderabad on 15 November 2003, the second fastest 50 among Indian batsmen. Only Ajit Agarkar‘s 67 runs off 21 balls is faster than that of Dravid.
He played 344 ODIs and scored 10,889 runs with 12 centuries and 83 fifties and also took 4 wickets.
Though T20 cricket was not his cup of tea, he played in IPL for RCB and RR and captained both of them for some seasons. He played 109 IPL matches.
After his retirement from international cricket, he held various positions at the national level. Dravid’s dedication towards the game, which he played and loved, took him to the next level of grooming youngsters to the national level. He was the Coach for India’s U-19 and India A teams. Under his mentorship the Indian colts won the U-19 World cup. Now he heads the National Cricket Academy, Bengaluru.