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The Most UnderApplauded Batsman

The Wall / Mr Dependable - Rahul Dravid

The Wall / Mr Dependable

UnderApplauded… Is that even a word? Even if it is not, I have coined it now, and its suits perfectly for someone who is also known as “The Wall”, Rahul Dravid!! Now let me explain why I say so… BECAUSE

  • He is the player who has faced ball after ball over the last 14 years with levels of concentration not many can match. You need to see him sweat during a match to understand his concentration levels. Right in the beginning of his career, he batted 541 minutes in the first innings of this match and followed it with another knock in second innings while the rest struggled to put bat to ball.
  • He is the player who have been criticized by viewers and critics everytime he has got out cheaply but he has never used his mouth to answer them. Neither does he need to, as his bat is enough. Not many people have hit centuries in both innings of a test match, and he has done it twice. (vs Pakistan and New Zealand) Only Gavaskar has done it thrice.
  • He is the player who has stood alone on bouncing tracks alone while all his distinguished mates have struggled and got out. Still he is never acknowledged for the numerous matches he has won and SAVED India. I can never forget the second innings of this match where his 27 not out is not less than a century (on that wicket). Or see this match at the Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica where he stood as a rock in both innings and made sure India won a series (first overseas series victory in 20 years) in West Indies. A match-winning captain’s hand in the second-innings of a historic away-series deciding Test on a minefield. Now beat that!!
  • In many pitches that appeared to have landmines buried on a good length, Rahul Dravid has waged a war. Ducking, weaving, blocking, watching partners come and go, jabbing, leaving, ducking, weaving… Not many have batted for more than 600 minutes (like here when he scored a double when all others struggled to get even a fifty.
  • He is the player who has formed the platform around which many big names have hit knocks of a lifetime. May it be Sehwag’s triple century , or Laxman’s 280, or during many of Sachin’s tons, he was the player at the other end. Cricket is a game of partnerships, and he has shared 19 century partnerships with Sachin (a world record), 11 with Laxman, 10 with Ganguly and 10 with Sehwag. If you compare the accolades all of these players have got and compare it to Dravid’s, you will know why I call him the most UnderApplauded batsman..
World Record century partnerships between Sachin & Dravid

World Record century partnerships between Sachin & Dravid

  • He is perhaps the only player who averages more abroad than at home (55 to 50), yet he is never credited for the numerous matches India have started winning abroad over the last 15 years. Ask any bowler and he will name Dravid in the top 3 of “most difficult to dismiss” players, and yet he is the first to be dismissed by the viewers and critics!!
  • He is the only player left who is a classical batsman. Perhaps the most complete batsman playing the game today, and perhaps the last. He is the person who you would want to watch if you need a definition of batting. Yet he is measured by his strike rate more than the runs his partners have scored in his company.
  • He is the player who has totally transformed his game for one-day cricket and T20 cricket, yet he is pulled by critics for playing slow. Ask his teammates what freedom and confidence they have in playing their shots just knowing that Rahul Dravid is standing at the other end! He has kept wickets in ODIs to maintain the team balance, been the vice-captain of the team at the same time, scored runs consistently and yet never have expressed himself or demanded any attention. Without anybody noticing, he has amassed more than 10,000 runs in ODIs too.
His shots define how it should be played

His shots define how they should be played

  • While many people still believe he was never suited for ODI’s,  he has 11 century partnerships with each of Sachin and Ganguly. Then why do we regard Sachin and Ganguly as the best one day players ever to play for India, and totally forget Dravid’s contribution in that.
  • If Ganguly, Sachin, Sehwag and Laxman have a natural talent and genius, Dravid has compensated for it with sheer hard work and levels of concentration that are almost yogic. Not many can bat for 835 minutes (its not a typo) like he did in this epic match in Adelaide, or when he batted for 12 hours for his 270 in this match. Not to mention the Adelaide victory was the first for India in a generation and the Pakistan series ended up being India’s first ever series win there.

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  1. Consider that talent,hard work,stats, strike rate – all this has nothing to do with applauds. Consider that you need to be a hero/ a star to win applauds. May be Dravid never aspired for applauds and therefor may be we should not be concerned about him being ‘underapplauded’ .
    ?

  2. The most selfless professional you can ever expect to find. Took up the keeper’s gloves when the team wanted to accommodate an extra batsman. Volunteered to open in tests for the greater cause of the team, although it did his own average no good at all. Yet, he has always been the unsung hero – content in playing the second fiddle always. Hats off to the man.