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Friday, June 24, 2011

Rahul Dravid: A champion match winner

Dibyasundar Nayak @ SportsKeeda
Another match India won after a classy innings by Rahul Dravid. A champion match winner whose batting career is full with instances of trials and tribulations, Rahul Dravid has carved his own name even if he had to bat in the same era which saw genius Sachin Tendulkar. Some even rate Rahul above Sachin when it comes to match winning capabilities. We won’t go into those comparison stuff. After 15 years of constant service, what matters is that Dravid is still playing, scoring runs, piling centuries and above all winning matches for India. A batsman who made batting an art, Rahul is still the idol of thousands of budding cricketers all over the country. The new age fast forward cricket fans may not prefer the arty batting which is Rahul’s forte, but the importance of his skills and abilities is noticed when he single handedly wins matches for the team like he did the other day in the test match against the west indies. Someone pointed it very correctly, “His superb innings at Sabina Park, Jamaica is the testimony to his batting genius. He unleashed a majestic innings of 112, when the next highest individual score was just 28.”
The batting department already depleted because of injury and rest of the experts, Rahul had to score well as well as steer the young batsmen along with him. He did that very well and helped the team to post enough on the board to win the match convincingly at the end. A batsman like him who always loves and enjoys challenges, this was nothing new. After all, he has been doing this for last 15 years of his life reminding everyone why he is called the ‘great wall of India’.
India’s most reliable batsman has covered a long path from a simple, young batsman in 1996 to a mature, solid batting mainstay of India in 2011. In the 15 year long career, he has captained the team India, has seen ups and downs of the team and has bettered his own game. Evolving his own style of playing with times has been the reason behind his successful career. Padma shri, Wisden player of the year, ICC player of the year and ICC Test player of the year, 3 man of the series and 11 man of the match in tests and 14 man of the matches in ODIs are a few awards that came during his career acknowledging his contributions to cricket. Dravid has more than 10000 runs in each format of the game.
A fascinating aspect of Dravid’s career has been his contributions to team’s victories. The list of Dravid’s 32 centuries show that whenever Rahul scored a century India either won or drew that match (except one match vs Zimbabwe back in 1998). No wonder West Indies captain Darren Sammy couldn’t sleep for one night after he dropped Dravid on 6 and Rahul capitalized on the chance to go on scoring a century in the last match in Jamaica.
Rahul Dravid’s 32 centuries
Score Vs Country Innings Venue Year Result          (for India)
148 South Africa 1st Johannesburg 1997 Draw
118 Zimbabwe 2nd Harare 1998 Loss
190 New Zealand 2nd Hamilton 1999 Draw
103* New Zealand 4th Hamilton 1999 Draw
107 Sri Lanka 1st Colombo 1999 Draw
144 New Zealand 3rd Chandigarh 1999 Draw
200* Zimbabwe 2nd Delhi 2000 Win
162 Zimbabwe 2nd Nagpur 2000 Win
180 Australia 3rd Kolkata 2001 Win
144* West Indies 2nd Guyana 2002 Draw
115 England 3rd Nottingham 2002 Draw
148 England 1st Leeds 2002 Win
217 England 2nd London 2002 Draw
100* West Indies 1st Bombay 2002 Win
222 New Zealand 1st Ahmadabad 2003 Draw
233 Australia 2nd Adelaide 2003 Win
270 Pakistan 2nd Rawalpindi 2004 Win
160 Bangladesh 1st Chittagong 2004 Win
110 Pakistan 1st Kolkata 2005 Win
135 Pakistan 3rd Kolkata 2005 Win
127 Pakistan 2nd Lahore 2006 Draw
103 Pakistan 2nd Faisalabad 2006 Draw
146 West Indies 1st St. Lucia 2006 Draw
129 Bangladesh 1st Mirpur 2007 Win
111 South Africa 2nd Chennai 2008 Draw
136 England 1st Chandigarh 2008 Draw
177 Sri Lanka 1st Ahmadabad 2009 Draw
144 Sri Lanka 1st Kanpur 2009 Win
111* Bangladesh 2nd Dhaka 2010 Win
104 New Zealand 1st Ahmadabad 2010 Draw
191 New Zealand 2nd Nagpur 2010 Win
112 West Indies 3rd Jamaica 2011 Win
Soft spoken and a true gentleman, Rahul Dravid has always made India proud with not just on-field performances but off-field decent behavior. Being 38, he may not play more than one and a half year, but he will always remain a legend of the game of cricket. His name will always be regarded synonymous to batting techniques. His domination over the bowlers will always be remembered with a feeling of awe.


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