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Profile of Rahul Dravid - The Great Wall of Indian Cricket
Rahul Dravid era has come to an end, one of the best batsman of all time who stood as a backbone to Indian cricket team for around sixteen years. This article gives a brief description about Rahul Dravid's personal life, career records and statistics and the service that he did to Indian team.
Indian cricket team had produced many legendary batsmen like Sunil Gavasakar, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav, Azharuddin, Mohindar Amarnath and many more. All these people have some special innings against their name. There is one person who stood as wall for Indian cricket for around 16 years and played many memorable knocks and every innings he played is a very special innings. I think by this time you should guess the name of the person, yes his none other than "The Great Wall of Indian Cricket- Rahul Dravid."
How Rahul Dravid started his career?
Rahul Dravid was born on 11th January 1973 and did his schooling in St Joseph Boy's High School and later on graduated in the field of commerce from St Joseph College of Commerce. He started his cricket career by playing for Karnataka in Ranji Trophy and made his way into Duleep Trophy by playing for South Zone. With his remarkable performance in domestic level selectors knocked his door by selecting for England tour in 1996. He made his international debut in ODI's on April 3, 1996 against Sri Lanka and test match debut against England on June 20, 1996. On the same day even Saurav Ganguly made his debut and Rahul played remarkable knock with Saurav by scoring 95 on debut match. With his impressive knock in the very first match he made his place confirm in the Indian test side and didn't look back since then.
Initially he was criticized by many people saying that his unfit for ODI's can't play attaching game like Sachin & Saurav. He took all the comments in a positive way and never tried to change his style but stood onto his own technique which made him one of the most recognized batsmen in world cricket. Nearly after 4 to 5 years people realized that if Sachin, Saurav, VVS are playing attacking game means it was only because of Rahul standing on the other end and he never tried to compete with them to play attacking game. His entire test career has only 15 sixes say what sort of player he was.
Rahul Dravid's 16 years of International cricket:
It's difficult to maintain fitness for 10 years and in this case Rahul has played for India for around 16 years with very few injuries. All though he had many ups and downs in his career, he fought with his career and was always a nightmare for bowlers with his defensive type batting. People also say that it was drawback for him to play in the era of Sachin Tendulkar and didn't get the reorganization that he really deserves.
Let's see how his career went on, we usually call an all-rounder if he can bat and bowl, but what should we say to Rahul Dravid who had played in many different roles like defensive batsman, attacking batsman, as an opener, wicket-keeper, specialist 1 down batsman, batted in all the slots from opener to No 7. Let's see all of his roles in detail,
As a 1 down batsman: We all know how crucial is this position for any team, many great batsmen like Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara have played in this position and Dravid stays on top of them at this position. The reason for is that he can play all the shorts present in the cricket dictionary. He is a professional to send the ball to square leg and play shorts like pull and straight drive. This position has something to do with dual role as when a wicket fells he need to face the new ball and play as if like a opener. India didn't have a good opening pair for many years prior to arrival of Sehwag – Gambhir combination, and Rahul was successful at this role. On the other hand if the openers play a long innings then the 1 down batsman need to play an anchor role by defending the wicket and building partnership with middle order batsman.
Opening role: There was a time where India badly suffered with openers, though Sehwag was there at one end there is no one to accompany him at the other end. Prior to the arrival of Gambhir many openers came but no one was able to sustain their place in the side at that time Rahul came up to open the innings and was even successful over there.
4 to 7 down batsman: He was stood always in front for the sake of team and never hesitated to come at any slot from number 4 to number 7 slots.
Wicket-keeper: This is another great role that he fulfilled. After the retirement of Nayan Mongia and prior to arrival of Dohni, India faced lot of difficulties in finding a genuine wicket keeper who can even bat. With his outstanding fielding skills, he even anchored the role of wicket-keeping under the captaincy of Ganguly. This role played a crucial thing in taking India to 2003 world cup finals.
As a Captain: There was time when Ganguly was suspended for few ODI's and was out of form. He took up the responsibility of captaining the side and was successful in it also.
All these things show what sort of role he played in the Indian lineup and the team is going to truly miss his service. It is quite evident that with his support at one end other batsmen like Sachin, Ganguly, VVS and many more have scored their runs on the other end.
Rahul Dravid's Career Records:
Rahul Dravid has a bunch of records under his belt, and there is no end if we keep discussing on his remarkable knocks. Here are some of his career best records.
• Has scored 13,288 runs in test match standing second in the table of leading run scorer in test matches after Sachin Tendulkar.
• With 36 centuries and 63 half centuries, he stand 4th and 2nd in the table of highest century and half century makers respectively.
• Highest catches taken by any player in test matches – 210 catches.
• Has a world record of involving in 88 century partnerships, the only player to involve in more than 10 century partnerships with 4 different players they are Sachin, Sehwag, Ganguly and Laxman. He has the world record of involving in20 century partnerships with Sachin Tendulkar.
• Only player to score century in all test playing nations.
• Has a record of scoring century in both the innings of test match for twice. Only Sunil Gavasakar and Ricky Ponting have achieved this feet for 3 times.
• With 10,524 runs at 1 down holds the world record of scoring highest runs as a 1 down batsman.
• Rahul also holds the world record of getting the highest runs in fourth innings of 1597.
• With facing 31258 balls at an average of 123 balls per innings holds the world record of facing highest number of balls in test cricket.
• Only batsman to play 94 consecutive matches since debut.
Rahul Dravid's Career Statistics:
At an average of 52.62 in in 163 test matches he scored 13,288 runs with a career best of 270. It also includes 36 centuries and 63 half centuries. In ODI's he scored 10,889 in in 344 matches at an average of 39.16. It also includes 12 centuries and 83 half centuries.
Some of the memorable performances of Rahul Dravid:
For a player like Rahul every innings is a special innings as his role is to anchor the innings. He stood like a backbone for Indian cricket for around 16 years. Played remarkable knocks and involved in many big wins. We can see Rahul's hand in many memorable wins. He played a crucial role in Kolkatta's test against Australia in 2001. With his knock of 233&72 not out in Australia, led India to in Australia against Australia nearly after two decades. Since he always played an anchor role his innings were covered of by other batsmen.
In between 2002-06 he was in his career best form, he played around 16 series during this time with an average of 68.4. His records are even better when he plays away from home which is very rare to see in any player. He scored 7690 runs at an average of 53.03 when he played away from home.
Rahul Dravid's Retirement to International Cricket:
On 9th March 2012, in his home ground, Rahul has announced his retirement from international cricket. An era has come to an end and it's difficult to find a replacement for a person like Rahul Dravid. He announced his retirement in front of his local people in the presence of BCCI President Srinivasan and Legendary spin bowler Anil Kumble. He thanked all his family members, various coaches, selectors, all the captains under whom he played and his fellow teammates for standing as support to him and his sixteen years of international career. He proudly declared his retirement and said that for the past 1 year he was analyzing his batting after every series. As he couldn't meet to his expectations in Australia series he said that its time for him to say good-bye to international career. When the press asked him that are you going to play in Ranji? He replied saying that they are many talented youngsters in Karnataka and if he continues to play in Ranji it's like a hindrance to youngsters – a true quality of a gentleman and many should learn a lot from him.
Can India find a replacement for Rahul Dravid?
This is the question that is going on in the mind of BCCI selectors, Indian fans and many former players. The answer for this at this time is probably "No" as its difficult for the current youngsters to maintain such tremendous patience and record. However they are few names going on like Virat Kohli, who just made his test debut and has lot to prove. He showed his talent in ODI's but a lot to be proved in test matches. The second name that is taken into consideration is Chatteswar Pujara, who is also another talented youngster. Came into lights of selectors by playing a 72 run knock against Australia few years back but was dropped later on due to injury. Third name that can be considered is Rohit Sharama, a very talented player with good techniques. Suits very aptly for traditional form of cricket but due to his lack of consistency his stilling waiting to make his test debut.
The question that I leave to you is can Virat Kohli, Pujara, Rohit Sharama or any other players replace Rahul Dravid?
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