Friday, March 9, 2012

Rahul Dravid - 'the wall' set to retire


Apart from enjoying one’s own performance, it is highly motivating to participate in the very special process of taking the team to another level.  Very often, when you are doing well, there is an opportunity to contribute to someone else’s success, and experience the pride of seeing your teammate grow as a person – good team players view success very differently from the rest.

-         it was a nice summation on the power of winning.

Touted as the nice guy, he played his last international match on his debut – yes it was  Rahul Sharad Dravid who played in first, last and only T20 International vs England at Old Trafford on 31st Aug 2011 – he hit 3 sixes off 3 off Samit Patel; earlier he had announced his retirement from One dayers and  played his last ODI innings against England at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Friday, 16 September 2011. He scored a crucial 69 runs from 79 balls before eventually being bowled by Graeme Swann.  Dravid was born on Jan 11, 1973 at Indore, Madhya Pradesh but played for Karnataka throughout.

You may not remember his One day debut – his test debut at Lords was memorable.  The other debutant was Sourav Ganguly, who made a century on his debut.  Dravid made a compact 95 announcing his arrival on the scene, going on to become most dependable batsmen for the country.  That was in 1996 and more than a decade and a half since, this elegant batsmen has been most liked whenever he went to occupy the crease.  For all these years he has maintained the same intensity and appetite for scoring runs – patience has been his virtue and his strong technique complemented his compact defence earning him the nick name of ‘the wall’.  Only recently, the wall was breached fewer times bowling him through the gate, hastening his decision to quit. 

Speculation is rife that Rahul Dravid will announce his retirement from international cricket today, ending a glorious career.  Dravid, 39, has called a press conference in Bangalore that will also be attended by N Srinivasan, the BCCI president.  Perhaps he stands first in the line which would be followed by Laxman and then Sachin….  He had a poor tour of Australia but a very prolific year 2011 -  scoring five centuries - including four in the Caribbean and England.  He would captain Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming IPL season.  The first public tribute came from Tendulkar, who said no tribute was enough for the "one and only" Dravid. "There was and is only one Rahul Dravid. There can be no other. I will miss Rahul in the dressing room and out in the middle," he said.

He scored 13,288 Test runs - behind only Tendulkar - in 164 matches, with 36 hundreds at an average of 52.31. His ODI career, which effectively ended in 2008 with a brief reprisal in 2011, was scarcely less successful - it yielded more than 10,000 runs and 12 centuries. He also has 210 catches, a Test record, in addition to 196 catches in ODIs.  He averages more than 60 abroad, 11 of his 17 hundreds have come away from home, and since 2000 he has averaged more than 60 with ten hundreds. What statistics might never reveal is that some point he was even considered a liability in ODI but most dependable by some, went on to keep wickets more as an adjustment for accommodating the extra batsmen and was part of that winning combination formation. 
He will be remembered as one of the best with great organized technique and willingness to bat through difficult circumstances.  His dour defence was so enjoyable – it was not about hitting a good delivery for a four but more of correctly playing a good delivery capable of dislodging most other batsmen. 

As a captain Dravid had mixed success; he led India in 25 Tests, winning eight and losing six. Under him India cemented a newly won reputation for being good travellers, winning Test series in Pakistan in 2003-04 - he captained in two out of three Tests - West Indies in 2006 and in England in 2007. His captaincy coincided with Greg Chappell's controversial term as coach – again many say that  Dravid was clearly uncomfortable with the role.

His speech at Bradman Oration in Dec 2011 was top class showcasing his talent as a great thinker of the game.

His ODI debut was in the Singer Cup at Padang on 3rd Apr 1996 – India won that match. Dravid made 3 – getting out to Muralitharan.  One of the most debated decision under his captaincy was the declaration in Mar 2004 when Sachin was 194 not out with 16 overs to go.

India will certainly miss ‘the wall’ for long – Well Played Rahul Dravid

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

PS :  the opening para is extracted from Rahul Dravid’s last word in ‘The Winning Way’ 0f Anita & Harsha Bhogle

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