The Overshadowed “Wall” – Dravid

 

in history and sometimes even in
mythology, there have always been
great warriors or performers who had
to live in the shadows of a superior
performer who happened to be alive at
the same time. Each one of their
performances on any given day at two
separate occasions would have
qualified as par excellence, but since
they are viewed together one gets
ignored more often than the other
sadly.

Dravid in his early days
Dravid in his early days

Yet such performers have done their
jobs quietly well giving their due to
their superstar contemporary.
Kumbhakarna with Ravana. Bheema
with Arjuna. Patel with Nehru, Paul
Allen with Bill Gates, Asha ji with Lata
Mangeshkar so on and so forth.
Cricket too had its share of such quiet
second best performers. Greenidge
with Richards, Thompson with Lillee,
Sarfraz with Imran etc. There is none
other than Rahul Dravid who fits into
this role more aptly.

Having played 164 Tests with more
than 13288 runs Dravid would any day
beat many of the so called greats
heralded in many other countries
hands down on sheer record
performances, yet always his
performance was overshadowed by
another star performer on a given day
who hogged the limelight.

 


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Right from his debut in 1996 in England when he scored big, it was Sourav’s back to back centuries which were noticed more.

Once again in that 1999 world
cup match against SriLanka it was
Sourav’s century which got more
applause than Dravid’s.
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So was his crucial double century in the 2001 Kolkata test against Australia where VVS Laxman scored 281, or in

the 2005 Test in Pakistan when he opened with Sehwag for the first time,
Sehwag’s huge score is what got
attention. Even in that series the
match winning century under difficult
circumstances that he scored in the
last Test went un-noticed among the
glitter of other super star
performances. And, through-out his
career he had to be in the shadow of
the No:4 even though he was one of
the best No:3s who ever played cricket
in the whole world.

 

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I remember Dravid when used to come
to play at No:3 in onedayers during
the late 90s immediately after the fall
of a Tendulkar’s wicket or Ganguly’s,
people used to switch off TVs and
many matches he had saved or won
playing the sheet-anchor role to
perfection. Yet I thought that one six
he hit off Alan Donald that changed his
game and made him come out of the
closet and be a more noticeable player
in the onedayers and did not go the
Sanjay Manjrekar way – to be a slave
and victim to your technical perfection
and then to lose sight of the game
itself. Following that he almost won us
the match in Chennai in 1997 or 98 in a
onedayer against Pakistan when Saeed
Anwar scored 194 and Pakistan posed
a big total. When all the big names of
Indian cricket got out early in that
chase, Dravid scoring quick singles
and maintaining 6 runs an over
average without hitting big like Anwar
almost took us close to the winning
target and chased a 300+ score for the
first time. Well almost, yet on that
given day it was Saeed Anwar who got
more noticed than Dravid.

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Another significant move he did was
when he agreed to don the gloves as a
wicket-keeper which allowed the
Indian team to add one extra batsman
or bowler whenever we wanted. It was
not easy for a No:3 batsman to keep
wickets and then come back to bat on
the fall of an early wicket, yet Dravid
would go ahead and do the job as
though nothing mattered. That’s what
Dravid is all about. When it comes to
playing for his country, nothing else
mattered. Not even captaincy,
Advertisement revenues or sharing the
limelight….just cricket and pure
cricket.

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Today when the Great Wall of Indian
cricket is retired, he is
leaving a legacy as monumental as the
Great Wall itself which had shielded
the Indian cricket many a times from
the barrage of attack from the pace
and spin bowlers overseas and took
Indian cricket to its greatest heights
quietly yet was subdued and over-
shadowed by the more starry
performers. When he became the
highest run getter in the fourth innings
of Test surpassing Lara’s record, an
index that proves the usefulness of a
Test batsmen than any other indices in
cricket, he truly lived upto his
reputation of being the second fiddle
player or the second innings man.
There won’t be another Rahul Dravid
for sure….

~ TFI

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Mukul Pathak

Mukul Pathak

Witty, Sarcastic, ComicaFAN, Innovative, Maniac. Co-founder, Pikapost Twitter - @iamMukulP Instagram - mukulified

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