The greatness of Rahul Dravid

 
Rahul Dravid Rahul Dravid was nicknamed The Wall

Related Stories

The late Peter Roebuck, one of the world's greatest cricket writers, once exclaimed that removing Rahul Dravid from the crease would possibly need gelignite, an explosive material invented by Alfred Nobel.

Roebuck was observing Dravid withstand a fearsome Australian pace attack with his trademark fortitude, attrition and immense powers of concentration.

He wrote: "Only the most resourceful players can withstand such an intense Australian attack for a long period of time. Dravid is such a man. Something more than attrition is is needed to remove him. Gelignite is the most obvious alternative but the match referee might baulk at that. Australia searched for a weakness as a dentist does for holes and could find none. Thereafter, it was a matter of waiting for a mistake. It was a long time coming."

The decision to retire from international cricket didn't require that long. Dravid said on Thursday that he had been mulling over it for a while, and thought this was the right time to depart and make way for a new generation of Indian batsmen.

It will be difficult to replace the legendary batsman, for whom, in the words of my friend and cricket writer, Rohit Brijnath, "decency and determination were not conflicting virtues". Something which many of the talented and brash young cricketers would do well to remember.

On Friday, Dravid said he never took the media's nickname for the patient batsman, 'The Wall', seriously. The Wall conjures up images of a frustratingly impenetrable obstacle, but Dravid was much more than that.

Nobody describes it better than Roebuck again, writing on a carefully crafted 332-minute-long Dravid innings.

"Somewhat to his chagrin, Dravid has been described as the "wall' of Indian batting, a tribute to the sense of permanence to be found in his batting. Certainly, there is something eternal about his work in the middle. Moreover, his innings are constructed brick by brick," he wrote.

"But to regard India's first drop merely as an obstacle is to underestimate his abilities. Dravid is a batsman of the highest class whose form in recent years indicates that he deserves to be included in the ranks of the major batsmen of the period. He has scored runs against all sorts of bowling on all kinds of pitches."

As the innings continued, Roebuck summed up David's qualities as a true Test virtuoso.

"Dravid has a simple game founded upon straight lines. Reasoning that runs cannot be scored in the pavilion, he sets out to protect his wicket. Curiously, this thought does not seem to occur to many batsmen, a point many a long-suffering coach could confirm," he wrote.

"He defends his stumps with skill and strength of mind. Australia's fast bowlers tried to upset him and might as well have been attacking a tank with a slingshot. Attempts to test his patience were no more effective. Dravid reads long books and does not expect a man to be shot upon every page."

Another time, another place, another cricket writer of repute and Dravid's skills are again put into perspective.

It's the epochal 2004 India tour of Pakistan, Dravid is walking to the crease in Karachi, and writer Rahul Bhattacharya is in the press box.

"The innings was entrusted now to Dravid, who had emerged as the one man in the world who could be trusted with any situation," wrote Bhattacharya. "He accepted with customary poise; urgent, but still mindful of the fate befalling Tolstoy's peasant, who ran all day for land but died at sundown."

Dravid departed one short of a hundred in the 48th over. He had scored 99 of India's 349 runs. India won the match by five runs.

 
Soutik Biswas Article written by Soutik Biswas Soutik Biswas Delhi correspondent

India's Mars mission: Picture that spoke 1,000 words

One image from the day India put its Mars probe in orbit ended up trending on Twitter and sparked debate about tradition and modernity, says Soutik Biswas.

Read full article

More on This Story

Related Stories

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 27.

    It aleway7s have been pleasure watching Rahul. Especially on TV since commentators pointed out his skills and technique and we could appreciate more. Rahul will be remembered for his modesty and humbleness too.

    Sautic this article is under graduate' s incompetence, if in journalism. Do you have anything to say other then wasting our time reading quotes.
    Cheers

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 26.

    truely a great crickeketer and a man of great poise and manners. Will be sorely missed by all cricketing fans. A real legend who will be remembered by all fans.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 25.

    Being a lifelong England fan, I can only say that he was an inspiration to watch both as a youngster and throughout his career to become with Tendulkar an icon of global cricket, not just India. He will be sorely missed not only for his outstanding ability, but also for his respect and decency - a true gent if every there was one. A shining example for all to follow.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 24.

    Indian Cricket History will remember Rahul Dravid until the end of days. Rahul Dravid brought a stability and charm to indian cricket. I hope new bees will fillin his place.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 23.

    Cricket is the greatest game in the world because it is played by sportsmen who maintain the tradition that cricket is more important than any one team or country or player,. Rahul Dravid is the epitome of cricket.

 

Comments 5 of 27

 

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.