Rahul Dravid – The Great “WALL” of India

This article is about Rahul Dravid, undoubtedly one of the greatest & finest ambassadors to have ever played the game of cricket. In this article I will take you through a complete journey of Dravid’s profile, family, his career as a cricketer, records & achievements.

Rahul Dravid is India's most experienced top order batsmen. He bats right handed and has played the role of wicketkeeper as well. He also bowls right arm off spin, but very rarely.
Popularly called "The Wall of Indian cricket", Rahul Dravid is regarded by most as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the game. For over a decade now he has been the backbone of the Indian cricket team.

Early Life & Family of Rahul Dravid

Rahul Sharad Dravid was born to a Maharashtra family living in Karnataka on 11th January 1973, in Indore, Madhya Pradesh and was raised in Bangalore. He has a younger brother named Vijay Dravid. His father, Sharad Dravid, worked for Kissan jams company and thus his teammates at St. Joseph's Boys' High School gave him the nickname 'Jammy'.

Rahul dravid's mother, Pushpa, was a professor of architecture at Bangalore University. He did his schooling form St Joseph Boy's High School and is a graduate in commerce from St Joseph College of Commerce, Bangalore.

At the age of 12 Dravid started playing cricket and represented the state under-15, under-17 and under-19 levels. Former cricketer Keki Tarapore who was a coach at a summer coaching camp at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, was the person who first discovered Dravid's talent. On his debut for his school team he scored a century. Along with the batting, was also a wicket keeper in his early days. But later, on advice from former Test players Gundappa Vishwanath, Roger Binny, Brijesh Patel and Keki Tarapore he stopped keeping wickets.

In February 1991, while still attending college, he made his Ranji Trophy debut against Maharashtra in Pune alongside Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath. In that match he batted at No. 7 position & scored 82 runs .The match ended in a draw.

Rahul Dravid married Vijeta Pendharkar On 4 May 2003. His wife is from Nagpur and is a surgeon by profession.They have two children-Samit and Anvay.

Cricketing Career of Indian Player Rahul Dravid

The Beginning of Rahul Dravid(1995-1998)

On April 3, 1996, Dravid made his International debut against Sri Lanka when he played his first One Day International in the Singer Cup in Singapore immediately after the 1996 World Cup in March, replacing Vinod Kambli. Coming in to bat at the No. 4 position, Dravid could scored only 3 runs that and was dismissed by Muttiah Muralitharan. India won that match by 12 runs. Dravid had a disappointing start to his career and subsequently he was dropped from the team, until he was picked again for the tour of England.

Dravid made his Test debut against England and scored 95 in his first test innings. Though he fell short by 5 runs but he sealed his place in the test squad for the future to come.

Then on June 20, 1996, along with Saurav Ganguly, he made his Test match debut in the Second Test against England when Sanjay Manjrekar got injured after the first Test match on that tour. He scored 95 runsin his first test innings, falling short of a century at debut by 5 runs. Though he fell short by 5 runs, he sealed his place in the test squad for the years to come.

After average performances in the home series against Australia and South Africa, Dravid's break-through performance came on the 1996–97 tour of South Africa. He batted at No. 3 in the 3rd Test match in Johannesburg where he scored his maiden test century scoring 148 runs. He also made 81 runs in the 2nd innings of that match and he was the top scorer in each innings of the match which earned him his first man of the match award. In his 10th ODI, he made his first ODI half century against Pakistan in the Sahara Cup in 1996, scoring 90 runs.

The following 18 months upto mid-1998, he scored 964 runs consistently, with at an average of 56.7 in the series against the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Australia, but he could not covert them into centuries.
In a one-off Test match in late 1998 against Zimbabwe , he scored his second century top-scoring in both innings with 148 and 44, but could not prevent the team from losing.
During the 1999 New Year's Test match against New Zealand Dravid scored centuries in both innings of a match making 190 and 103* in the match. After Vijay Hazare and Sunil Gavaskar he became the third Indian batsman to score centuries in both innings of a match.
Later in 1999, in a test match against Zimbabwe in Delhi he scored his first double century with 200 not out & also made 70* in the second innings and India won that match.

Success in 1999 World Cup of Rahul Dravid

Dravid achieved tremendous success in the 1999 world cup which probably him being recognized an an ODI player. He was the highest run getter in the series, scoring 461 runs in 8 innings at an average of 65.85 including 2 back to back centuries against Kenya & Sri Lanka. He is the only Indian to score two back to back centuries at the World Cup. He scored 110 vs Kenya and followed by a brilliant 145 against Sri Lanka.

Dravid's Records in World Cup 1999:

  • Involved in a World Record partnership for the 3rd wicket with Sachin Tendulkar against Kenya on May 23, 1999 at Bristol.
    Tendulkar (140 not out); Dravid (104 not out); Partnership (237 unbroken)

  • World Record partnership for any wicket and 2nd wicket with Saurav Ganguly against Sri Lanka on May 26, 1999 at Taunton.
    Ganguly (183); Dravid (145); Partnership (318)

  • Only the 2nd player after Mark Waugh to score consecutive World Cup centuries against Kenya and Sri Lanka at World Cup 1999.

  • Was the highest run-getter at World Cup '99.

  • The only Indian to feature in the World XI based on performances at World Cup 99.

  • Declared the Ceat Cricketer of the World Cup at World Cup '99.

  • Career Post 2000:

    Dravid's golden phase began, arguably, in the second test of the 3 match test series against Australia at Kolkata in 2001, with a supporting act, when he made 180 to supplement VVS Laxman's classic effort of 281 against Australia to produce one of the greatest comeback victories in the history of the game. In that match India were following on in the 2nd innings and Dravid-Laxman pair put on 376 runs for the 5th wicket.This innings remains one of his greatest performances till date, though he ended up second-best.

    It was in 2002 when Dravid started to come out of Tendulkar's shadow and established himself as India's most valuable player by saving many test match defeats & also helping India in win tests matches overseas.

    During the golden period of 2002-2004, he made four test centuries in successive innings, and hit four double-centuries in the space of 15 Tests both home and away, including in historic overseas test wins at Adelaide against Australia in 2003 and at Rawalpindi against Pakistan in 2004. In 2004 his batting average went past Sachin Tendulkar.

    He was vice captain during 2003 World cup where India reached the final, where he served the dual role of a batsman and wicket keeper to accommodate an additional batsman, a move that paid huge dividends for India.
    During the later part of the 2003-2004 season, in Ganguly's absence Dravid led India to its first test victory over Pakistan in Pakistan in the first test match at Multan.

    Some of Dravid's highlight performances during this period are:

  • In April 2002, against West Indies at Georgetown in first test match of the series, he scored a match saving unbeaten 144 in the first innings.

  • In August 2002, against England at Headingley , Leeds in the third test match of the series, he scored 148 in the first innings to set up a famous Indian win.

  • Dravid's aggregated 602 runs in that four match test series against England which earned him the man of the series award.

  • In 2003, against Australia at Adelaide in second match of the series, the batting pair of Dravid and Laxman put on 303 runs in the first innings with Dravid making 233. Dravid followed his 233 an unbeaten 72 in the second innings to set up a famous victory.

  • Dravid scored 619 runs in that four-match test series against Australia at an average of 103.16 and he won the man of the series award.

  • In 2003, against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in the third and the final match of the series Dravid made a brilliant 270 to take India to a historic first test series win over Pakistan in Pakistan.

  • Captaincy & Career Beyond:

    In October 2005, he was appointed captain the one-day side taking over from Sourav Ganguly following the Chapell-Ganguly controvery. He began his captaincy stint with a commanding 6-1 win over Sri Lanka in a home series, and soon was made captain of the Test team as well. During his captaincy stint, India broke the 14-match West Indies record for most consecutive successful run-chases in ODIs with a 17-match consecutive successful run-chases. For this 17-match run, Dravid was the captain for 15 games while Sourav Ganguly was captain for the other two. In 2006, it was announced that he would remain captain of the Indian team up to the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

    On 14 February 2007 against Sri Lanka in Goa, he became the sixth player overall and the third Indian (after Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly), to score 10,000 runs in ODI cricket.

    Though his captaincy stint started encouragingly with ODI victories against Pakistan and England, it soon nosedived with an embarrassing defeat against Bangladesh which led India to an early exit from the 2007 World Cup.
    Former skipper Sourav Ganguly also criticised Rahul Dravid for not opposing coach Greg Chappell during his stint as captain. Ganguly said that Dravid lacked the courage to oppose Chappel though he made so many mistakes which were not in the interest of the team.

    As a Test team, though, India had plenty to celebrate under Dravid, winning their first Test in South Africa and achieving two historic away series wins in the West Indies and England. Dravid stepped down from the captaincy after the 2007 England tour due to personal reasons thus ending his two-year stint at the top after replacing Sourav Ganguly. Mahendra Singh Dhoni succeeded him in ODI and Anil Kumble in tests.

    In 2007 a poor run in the one-day series against Australia at home saw Dravid dropped from the subsequent ODI series against Pakistan. Dravid went back to play the Ranji Trophy for Karnataka notched up two centuries, including a double century, in consecutive matches.
    In the 2008 tour of Australia, he made 93 in the first innings of the 3rd test in Perth, the highest score of the match, which helped India win the match and make the series 1–2. However, he was ignored by selectors for the subsequent one-day tri-series.

    After a barren run in Test matches in 2008, Dravid came under increasing media pressure to retire or be dropped. In the Second Test against England in Mohali, he scored 136, putting on a triple-century stand with Gautam Gambhir.

    On March 29, 2008, in the first test against South Africa at Chennai Dravid scored his 10000th test run and joined joined two other Indians - Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar in the list. After reaching the milestone, he was quoted saying, "It's a proud moment for sure. For me, growing up, I dreamt of playing for India. When I look back, I probably exceeded my expectations with what I have done over the last 10 to 12 years. I never had an ambition to do it because I never believed – it is just a reflection of my longevity in the game."

    Dravid is also one of the two batsmen to score 10,000 runs at a single batting position and is now the second highest run getter in Test Cricket next to Sachin Tendulkar.

    Dravid was the India's lone warrior in the disastrous tour of England in 2011 where only he stood up and hit 3 fighting centuries as India tumbled. India lost the series 4-0 and also costed India the top rankings in test cricket.
    Following his brilliant batting form in the tests he got a surprise call to play in the T20 & ODI series against England. Following this recall to ODIs, on August 7, 2011, he declared his retirement from One Day Internationals and T20.

    Ironically, he is the only player to announce his retirement before playing his first T20I match. He had the distinction of playing his last international match on his debut match in a T20I. In his T20 dabut he scored 31 off 21 balls at Old Trafford which included memorable 3 sixes off 3 balls.
    On 16 September 2011, Dravid played his last ODI innings against England at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. He scored a crucial 69 runs from 79 balls and was bowled by Graeme Swann.

    On November 24, 2011, in the 3rd test against West Indies in Mumbai he became the second international player to reach 13,000 runs in Test Cricket only after Sachin Tendulkar.

    On December 14, 2011, he became the first non-Australian cricketer to address at the Bradman Oration in Canberra.

    Cricketing Achievements & Records:

  • Second cricketer to reach 13000 runs in Test Cricket after Sachin Tendulkar.

  • Equals Sachin Tendulkar record of most half centuries by and Indian Batsmen in Test.

  • Highest run scorer in the 4th inning in test.

  • Second longest streak of consecutive test matches since debut (94).

  • First and only batsman to score a century in all ten Test playing nations.

  • Scored centuries in both the innings of the test twice. Sunil Gavaskar is the only Indian to achieve this feat thrice.

  • Top run scorer in the 1999 World Cup.

  • Only Indian player to score consecutive World Cup centuries.

  • Only the second non-English cricketer to have hit 3 or more centuries in a two different test series in England, the other being Donald Bradman.

  • Became only the third Indian batsmen to remain unbeten throughout a completed inning in test.

  • Most deliveries faced in the history of test cricket .

  • Highest number of runs by a No. 3 batsmen.

  • Holds the world record for most number of catches in Test cricket.

  • The first player to score 10000-run at No.3 position
  • .
  • His highest knock of 270 runs is the longest innings played by an Indian batsmen in terms of minutes.

  • He holds a record for not being dismissed on a duck for 120 innings consecutive one-day matches.

  • Holds the world record of being involved in most century partnerships (87) in test.

  • With Sachin Tendulkar holds the world record of most century partnerships (19) in test.

  • Fourth in the list of number of centuries (36) in tests behind Ponting (39), Kallis (40) and Sachin (51).

  • Sixth player overall and the third Indian to score 10,000 runs in ODI cricket history.

  • Involved in highest partnership made away from home for any wicket for India Virender Sehwag of 410 runs vs Pakistan at Lahore in 2006. It is also, the highest partnership between a captain and the vice captain.

  • Captained India to a world record 17-match consecutive successful run-chases.

  • One among the only three batsmen to hit Test centuries in four consecutive innings.

  • Has the distinction of announcing his retirement before playing his first T20I match.

  • Awards & Honours:

    Dravid has won many awards both in cricket life and personal life. Some of them are:
  • Arjuna award in 1998.

  • Ceat Cricketer of the 1999 World Cup.

  • Honoured as one of the top-five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 2000.

  • Inaugural ICC Test Player of the year in 2004.

  • Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy Winner for ICC Player of the year in 2004.v
  • Padma Shri in 2004.

  • MTV Youth Icon of the Year 2004.

  • Captain of the ICC's Test Team in 2006.

  • NDTV Indian of the Year's Lifetime Achievement Award with Dev Anand in 2011.

  • Special Achievement Award for the most number of catches in Test cricket.

  • Polly Umrigar Award for India's best cricketer of the 2010-11 season.

  • Rahul Dravid's Biographies:

    Two biographies have been written on his career:
  • "Rahul Dravid – A Biography" written by Vedam Jaishankar . It was published in January 2004.

  • "The Nice Guy Who Finished First" written by Devendra Prabhudesai. It was published in November 2005.

  • D3

    Rahul Dravid is probably one of the last classical Test match batsmen. His progress to the top has been steady and methodical. He is a cricketer who blends an old-world classicism with a new-age professionalism. For a man who was stereotyped as one-paced and one-dimensional, showed the world that he too could stroke the ball around when the mood struck him.

    When Dravid began playing Test cricket, he was quickly stereotyped as a technically correct player capable of standing strong against the best attacks. As the years went by, though, Dravid, a sincere batsman who brought humility and a deep intelligence to his study of the game, grew in stature, finally reaching full blossom under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy. As a New India emerged, so did a new Dravid.

    Dravid's amazing run was no triumph of substance over style, though, for he has plenty of both. A classical strokeplayer who plays every shot in the book, he often outscores team-mates like Tendulkar and Laxman in the course of partnerships with them, and while his pulling and cover-driving is especially breathtaking, he has every other shot in the book as well.

    His batting style was regarded slow for the ODI's and many thought he was not made to play ODI cricket initially but with his imaginative placing of the ball & innovative strokes and will power he went on to become one of the greatest ODI players of all time. When he retired from ODI cricket Wisden appropriately decribed Dravid as "The Misfit Who Fit In"

    Rahul Dravid has been one of the main pillars of the Indian batting with his blend of technical proficiency & stylish strokes. His strokes are so perfect technically that he is considered as the "wall" of the Indian Team and he has emerged most dependable batsman in world cricket and might even be considered one of the best ever by the time his career is done.

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