Monday, March 12, 2012

The one and only one Rahul

SreeNair | 12:11 AM |

Rahul Dravid who fortified the frontiers of Indian Cricket for the last 16 years has finally called it a day.The cricket legend ,the most successful No. 3 willow announced his retirement from his international career on Thursday .

A gentleman to the core-a consummate gentility in the gentle mans game-a savant in all the editions of the game-one who vowed the game before self -the embodiment of patience ,perseverance and determination-a soft-spoken and passionate towards team mates - a man who wielded respect even in the opposition camps -the epithets are unending. The vacuum his absence creates is not facile to fill.

“His biggest assets,”Rahul's father reminded, “were concentration and commitment. Till today, his commitment has been the same. That’s why he has come so far.”

Times Of India wrote "In cricket, it is said a player is only as good as his last innings, and so much the pity that Dravid couldn't finish his career on a high, though the tour of Australia in no way diminishes his stature as one of the modern greats."

Rahul took success and failure with courage and equanimity.He saw glimpses of success in every failure.

"I didn't make this decision based on one series (in Australia). It's a combination of a lot of other things. I needed to be sure I was playing the game for the right reasons. "Dravid proclaims in his farewell speech.

He together with Sachin and Laxman collectively called as the triumvirate has scripted many a unparalleled triumphs to Indian cricket at home and at oversees. Dravid was the embodiment of romantic cricket in India and one of the insatiable and most prolific run getter on all verities of the turf-fast and bouncy pitches, slow and turning tracks and against spin as well.

"The world's most respected cricketer over the last 20 yrs," Vaughan wrote.

"Rahul Dravid-legend!! Plain & simple," said Pietersen. "India will miss The Wall."

Cricket is the test target on partnerships.The maverick has put on record 88 century partnerships.He amassed 8920 runs spanning through 219 innings along with Sachin Thendulkar.

Dravid quit one day cricket last year to concentrate more on his more-friendly test edition.

Truly he was a legend.

Dravid rose above his constraints with sheer toil and perfected the batting techniques and remained central to the espirit-de-corps in the team which alone has shored it from disasters.The man fondly christened as" the wall" has more than 10,000 runs each in both the classic formats of the game.

A natural choice and the toast of test cricket he finishes as the second-highest run-scorer in Test cricket- his first love , next only to his compatriot Sachin.

His one-day tally stood at 10,889 runs from 344 matches at an average of 39.16 with 12 centuries while he was chaffed with incompetence to the one day patterns.

He captained India to winning streaks in the West Indies and England to end the years of long droughts, and played decisive role in some of Indian cricket's most famous overseas victories.

Rahul Dravid made his debut century in a foreign soil-Johanasburg in South Africa with 148 runs.There after 35 more centuries flowed from his bat.In the recent English tour when the Indian players went in droves to the pavilion with drooped heads in quick succession ,Dravid stood in the middle unfazed with head raised majestically to make 3 centuries in 4 tests -a feet which is hard to forget.

Dravid's runs were indispensable in many Indian victories abroad.He made 1577 victory runs in his 5131 made at overseas. He was man of the match 11 times in foreign soil ,5 of them contributed in the winning spree.

The carrier graph of Dravid saw crusts and troughs.He scored at an average of 40 runs in the first 7 of the 10 test series. It contained 9 centuries and 24 half centuries.Of the 16 tests series played between 2002-2006 he made an average of 49 runs in 13 series.It includes 9 series in which the average was more than 75 runs.He made 14 centuries and 22 half centuries during the period.This was the period when India showed to the world that the Indians can win outside the peninsula.Dravids batting strength was critical in these tests.

In cricket getting runs is every thing.It is the only sign that you are there. 2006 to 2008 were the years when skids were put under his wheels. Clamours were raised for the blood of this monolith.Bile's and brickbats came in as pandemic from past big-shots in the game.When the smear campaign peaked ,In a rare show of resilience ,without bothering to detraction he lumped together 10 centuries and 10 half centuries in the year that followed to shut the mouths of the critiques.

"When you play international sport, you have to learn to deal with praise and criticism which are two sides of the same coin. For me, it was about doing my best at all times," Dravid said on Friday.

Dravid was the first batsman to score a century in all test-playing countries, the first batsman to score 10,000 runs at No. 3, the batsman to face the most deliveries in Test cricket. He batted 173 consecutive innings in international cricket (Tests and ODIs) without a duck between 2000 and 2004 .

"I believe Rahul should have retired after the England series and not wait for the Australian tour. In any case this is a right decision and I saw it coming," Ganguly told reporters at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium on Friday. Asked to pick a favourite Dravid inning, Ganguly said, "180 at Calcutta against Australia tops my list. 148 at Headingly was also good but the situation in Calcutta was far more difficult."

As for Dravids father,his prodigies debut at Lord’s in 1996 was his proudest moment.He said “He might have played many great knocks but that was the most memorable moment. Though he missed a century by just five runs, his Lord’s debut was the best thing to have happened…”

The vacuum he leaves is up for somebody to fill and we have no dearth of talents of his pedigree.

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He brings a serenity to the crease that is so good for the nerves in the dressing-room. He also helps ease the tension away by the way he plays. He then proceeds to make the fastest of bowlers look easy to bat against. His economy of movement and the preciseness of his footwork gets him into position quickly, and so, the bowlers look quite clueless. The fastest of deliveries is played as if it's done every day and with minimum fuss.
Sunil Gavaskar


 

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