Rahul Dravid- “The Wall” served Indian cricket for over 16 years with utmost dignity and composure. He is widely regarded as one of the best batsmen to have ever played cricket. Since his retirement many players have been compared to Dravid; be it because of their similarity in batting to Dravid or for their calm approach towards cricket like Dravid. Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are among some of the players who have been called as the next Rahul Dravid. However, the people should not get carried away and give some thought before calling a youngster as the next Rahul Dravid. Here are some of the reasons
- He was the first player to score a century against all test playing nations in the world.
- He holds a unique record of never getting out for a Golden duck in the 286 Test innings which he has played for India. Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane have already been dismissed for a Golden duck.
- When India was in dire straits of a wicket keeper and were looking to draft in an extra bowler in the misfiring Indian bowling lineup, Dravid stepped up and kept wickets for India. This was another example of his selfless attitude. As a wicket keeper, Dravid scored 2,300 runs in 73 ODIs, second only to M. S. Dhoni. He kept wickets for India in around 70 ODIs.
- Dravid was rock solid in his batting and was a technically sound player and was a consistent performer in the rather inconsistent Indian batting order in the late 1990s. Ever-since he made his debut in 1996 for Indian Test team, he played 94 tests on the trot and missed his match for the first time in 2005 due to gastroenteritis. No other Indian player has played consecutively for so long.
- Rahul Dravid had a unique ability to play in any position for the team and he was largely successful in all positions that he played. According to him team always came first rather than his personal interests.
- Indian batsmen aren’t really comfortable playing overseas especially in the bouncy pitches. However, among all the Indian batsmen who have scored more than 1,000 runs overseas Dravid has the highest overseas (outside the Indian sub-continent) batting average-54.58 among all Indian batsmen who have scored more than 1,000 runs. In addition to this all his 4 man-of the series awards in tests came overseas.
- Rahul Dravid’s name was doing the rounds to be the coach of the Indian team but he politely declined.
- Dravid is the only Indian cricketer to score a hundred in 4 consecutive innings in test cricket.
- Dravid holds the record of facing more deliveries than any other batsman in test cricket. In his 16 year long career, Dravid has faced 31,258 balls-which is a world record.
- Dravid has always been a team player and looked to build partnerships to steady the ship. He has been involved in more than 88 century partnerships!
Though Dravid did not possess flamboyance of Sehwag, greatness of Sachin, flair of VVS Laxman or aggressiveness of Ganguly, he craved a niche for himself with sheer grit and determination. It was sad to see that Dravid did not even receive a proper farewell for his unparalleled service towards Indian cricket. But the gentleman that he is, he moved on with it and now coaches the Indian U-19 team and hopes to nurture them and make them technically sound. Thank you for your everthing Jammy!