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Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid is a former Indian cricketer, widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket. In an age where batsmen were innovating and tweaking the norm as the game evolved, Dravid struck by the methods that he was blooded with. He is regarded as one of the most technically sound batsmen of his time. Armed with an orthodox technique, Dravid seemed like he was born out of a batting manual with a strikingly ‘textbook’ technique.

Owning to his long and steady at the crease, Dravid is sometimes referred to as “The Wall” by Indian media and fans. His greatest contribution to India has been his performances in away-series, where he has been the principal architect of several Indian wins. Never a natural athlete, he compensated with sheer hard work and powers of concentration that were almost yogic. At Adelaide, when India won a Test in Australia for the first time in a generation, he batted 835 minutes over two innings.

Dravid is the fourth-highest run scorer in Test cricket, and is only the second Indian cricketer, after Sachin Tendulkar to score over 10,000 runs both in Tests as well as in ODIs. He holds the record of being the only batsman to score a century in all ten Test playing nations. Also, he has grabbed the biggest number of catches in the history of Test cricket.

Born in a Marathi family, he started playing cricket at the age of 12 and later represented the Karnataka at the under-15, under-17 and under-19 levels. Dravid made his Test debut at Lord’s on 20 June 1996 against England and scored flawless 95, an inning that was eclipsed by a century from fellow debutant Saurav Ganguly.

Dravid made his debut in One Day International against Sri Lanka on 3rd April 1996. While he grew in stature and confidence on the Test arena, he struggled in the limited-over format. He retooled his game over the years to become an adept middle-order finisher. He upped his strike rate, learned to rotate the strike and pierce the gaps better.

Dravid continued to dominate the Test cricket with his strong defensive technique, delivering his one of the best performance against New Zealand by scoring a century each in both the innings of the Test match. He also got India its first Test match victory over Pakistan in Pakistan in the year 2003-04. He notably played a vital supporting role to VVS Laxman in India’s historic defeat of an all-conquering Australian in 2001.

From 2002, he established himself at the wickets that was most prized by the opponents, even ahead of Tendulkar. He was the single largest factor in India over-turning its abysmal away record, with the result that the team won more matches outside India in the 2000s decade then it had in its entire Test match playing history from 1934 to 1999. There also had been a lengthy phase where he donned the wicket keeping gloves, helping the team to find the balance that was crucial in the run to the World Cup final in 2003.

A two-year stint as captain, following Ganguly’s axing, was less successful. It also affected his ODI form and after a poor 2007 Cricket World Cup he relinquished the armband to focus on his batting. Still his position in the classical format remained untouched. Dravid showed his class once again in the tour to England in 2011 by scoring 461 runs, including three hundreds against a high-quality pace attack, where India were completely outplayed and none of their other batsmen scored more than 275 runs.

In his overall Test career, Rahul Dravid has played 164 Test matches till March 2012. In these matches, he has scored 13,288 runs with an average of 52.31runs and the highest score of 270 runs. While in ODI Cricket, he has made 10, 889 runs in 344 appearances with an average of 39.17.

A poor Australia tour forced him to quit the game and he announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket on 9th March 2012, bringing the curtains down to a legendary career.

Dravid was awarded the ICC Player of the Year and the Test Player of the Year in 2004. He has also been honoured with the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan award, India’s fourth and third highest civilian awards. In December 2011, he became the first non-Australian cricketer to deliver the Bradman Oration in Canberra.