Opinion: Rahul Dravid – the Wall that the Hall of Fame deserves

Written By: Pankaj Agrawal
Delhi, India Published: Jul 04, 2018, 01:47 PM(IST)

Rahul Dravid Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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Rahul Dravid – The Great Wall of India. You truly are a Hall of Famer and tons of gratitude for bringing innumerous moments of happiness and pride to the frenzy fans of game like me.

I fondly remember something very interesting about Rahul Dravid today as I peep in the past. It was after that iconic Test series between India and Australia during 2003-04, in which India thrashed Australia at Adelaide after coming back from the edge the series though ended in a draw. That was the last Test series of legendary Australian Steve Waugh as a player and captain. Waugh was vying to leave the game in style and at a high note by thrashing India in the Test series but he could barely save series for his side.
 
After Waugh somehow saved the last Test at Sydney, one meme went viral on emails (remember it was not WhatsApp/Facebook era). In this meme, dejected Steve Waugh and Rahul Dravid were shown together, with Waugh purportedly saying something to Dravid, and the caption was “Mate, you have just spoiled my retirement”. 
 
So when Rahul Dravid was included in ICC Hall of Fame, much ahead of his decorated peers, a Dravid fan within me is getting nostalgic, remembering those golden years and those endless anecdotes (like the one mentioned above) after the onset of new millennium, when king Dravid was ruling the roost and standing at the front for the national service like a dedicated soldier.
 
Statistics has its own tales to narrate about Rahul Dravid: 

  • He scored more than thirteen thousand Test runs, and is highest run getter in Test Cricket for India after Sachin Tendulkar 
  • Dravid holds the world record of maximum number of catches in Test matches
  • Dravid aggregated 13,288 runs in 164 Tests with 36 centuries

 The list is long but sorry to say all these statistics are insignificant. Rahul Dravid is the bloke, whose worth and greatness cannot be gauged by these number its way, way beyond.
  
For those who are wondering on his inclusion in the coveted “Hall of Fame” list ahead of legends like Sachin Tendulkar, here is this pure and unadulterated fact – Dravid spearheaded three most famous and greatest Indian Test victories in the recent times -- Kolkata 2001, Adelaide 2003 and Perth 2008. 

Need we say more?
 
Indian Cricket had a seminal turning point in 2000, when Sourav Ganguly took over the rein. During 2000-2005, Indian Cricket evolved to a different level altogether and one man who undisputedly and unequivocally deserves most of the credit for this process of revamping was Rahul Dravid. There is data for those who love statistics – during dream run under Sourav Ganguly, Dravid alone scored more than 20% of the total runs scored by team India.

He was a silent killer, away from glitters and hubris and was busy in just playing his part to the clinical precision. You ask him to for challenges, and he used to be up for the grab. He kept wickets in 2003 World Cup which allow the team to include one extra batsman in lineup. Dravid had to open with Sehwag in Test in Pakistan in 2006, he returned with a partnership of 410 runs for the opening wicket.

For those who believe that Dravid was not a clean hitter as his other peers were, India – Sri Lanka encounter in 1999 World Cup is a glaring example. The match was played at Taunton in England. Dravid and Sourav Ganguly built a record partnership of 318 runs for the second wicket. Dravid scored 145. Though in the end, Sourav with the knock of 183 took the majority of applause but, it was Dravid who started showing aggression during the partnership and set the tone for such mammoth partnership.

Taunton is home ground for Somerset County. There was a time when legendary Viv Richards and Ian Botham used to play for Somerset and this ground witnessed some superb attacking batting by them. After this India – Sri Lanka match, next day many newspapers in England wrote that the partnership between Sourav-Dravid was reminiscent to those good old days of supremacy of Richards-Botham at this ground.

Once in 1997 in an ODI, Allen Donald (the fiery South African pacer) was trying to play a psychological game with Dravid with his intimidating body language Dravid smashed him for a massive six. Donald ebbed.

All through his career, he was the true gentleman and a great ambassador of the game. He timed his farewell quite well. Dravid scored three centuries during the 2011 Test series in England, though Indians were subjected to whitewash with a score line of 4-0. He called it a day in 2011-12 - an era had come to an end.

Post retirement also he remains the same as he was as the player, a silent crusader. Recently, he mentored the boys who lifted U-19 World Cup.

Rahul Dravid – The Great Wall of India. You truly are a Hall of Famer and tons of gratitude for bringing innumerous moments of happiness and pride to the frenzy fans of game like me.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)

 

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