Rahul Dravid – The Pole Star
When Rahul Dravid stepped out for one last time in the colored clothing of our national team, emotions bowled every one over. But for Dravid, it was just yet another day in the office.
Speaking about Dravid in tests is easier than the Dravid in ODI’s as his title ‘The Wall’ sums up all. Given an option, even Dravid might think about his partnership with ODIs. And when you ask an ardent fan of Dravid, he might be able to tell only that “Dravid is one cricketer who has notched up 10,000+ runs in both forms of cricket”; another might say “Dravid’s born in the wrong era“. Of course, that’s a bitter truth. But Dravid did a ‘Nole in Fedex era’ during 1999 (1,761 runs), especially in world cup. Didn’t he?
Dravid’s played under 5 different captains in ODI’s. So what? England are currently working under 3 captains simultaneously. What difference a captain is going to make on an individual? Well… Dravid under Azharuddin was a debutant who failed to impress for a permanent place until his knock in NZ which earned him 1999 world cup berth; Dravid under Jadeja was a sorrow state where he struggled with the likes of Ganguly and Tendulkar around, with team facing match fixing charges; Dravid under Tendulkar was just a makeshift person who carried out his plans and got that maturity to learn to play ODIs; Dravid under Ganguly was the stage where his talent got recognized at one down with additional responsibility of wicket keeping; Dravid under Dhoni (to whom Dravid lost his ODI spot) was more of a test savior and under whom he got that surprise callback only to announce his retirement to not prolong that surprise for his fans. Added to all these, he himself was a captain who faced the best (beating England in England) and the worst (2007 world cup).
Dravid was an unsung one-day hero. Dravid was made or rather compelled to perform in every ODI series (atleast until 2006). Dravid was never considered a finisher nor as one who accelerates the innings. He always had tough competition from next generation players like Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif.
Dravid was never (even now) considered as a man for the limited over’s (avg 39.16) and yet he has played 344 ODIs (second behind Tendulkar for India) and has to his credit 12 centuries and 83 half centuries with highest being 153; Dravid’s batting style never suited one day internationals but yet he has managed 10889 runs (seventh among all-time ODI run getters) facing 15284 deliveries; Dravid is the one who plays text-book like shots and not the one who clears the boundary often but yet scored 4052 runs via boundaries; Dravid was a good fielder but not an athlete and yet he kept wickets in 73 ODIs; Dravid by nature was never a great leader but yet he led India in 79 ODIs and won 42.
One day career highlights
Apr 3 1996 – ODI Debut against SL at Singapore. Scored 3(4) at No.4 position
Apr 3 1996 – First Catch – against Sri Lanka at Singapore. The batsman was Aravinda de Silva
Sep 17 1996 – First half century – against Pakistan at Toronto. Scored 90(114)
May 21 1997 – First century – against Pakistan at Chennai. Scored 107(116)
May 21 1997 – 1000 ODI runs – against Pakistan at Chennai. Scored 107(116)
1998 – Arjuna Award
Apr 9 1999 – First Catch as wicket keeper – against England at Sharjah. The batsman was Neil Fairbrother
Apr 9 1999 – First stumping – against England at Sharjah. The batsman was Graeme Hick
Mar 24 1999 – First Wicket – against Pakistan at Jaipur. The batsman was Saeed Anwar
Nov 8 1999 – Highest ODI score –against New Zealand at Hyderabad. Scored 153(153)
1999 – Scored 6 centuries – most in that Calendar year with back-to-back hundreds in the world cup
Mar 15 2000 – Last Wicket – against South Africa at Faridabad. The batsman was Shaun Pollock
2000 – First ever Wisden cricketer
Oct 10 2001 – 5000 ODI runs – against South Africa at Centurion. Scored 54(79)
Aug 1 2004 – Last Stumping – against Sri Lanka at Colombo. The batsman was Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Nov 13 2004 – Last catch as wicket keeper – against Pakistan at Kolkata. The batsman was Yousuf Youhana
2004 – Padma Shri
May 18 2006 – Last Century – against West Indies at Kingston. Scored 105(102) as an opener.
Feb 14 2007 – 10000 ODI runs – against Sri Lanka at Margoa. Scored 66(82)
Sep 30 2009 – Last catch – against West Indies at Johannesburg. The batsman was David Bernard
Sep 30 2009 – Previous last ODI – against WI at Johannesburg. Scored 4(2)
Sep 16 2011 – Last ODI – against England at Cardiff. Scored 69(79)
Rahul Dravid is just like a pole star. He will be there even when others leave, he will be there to guide others who look up to him and he will always be there even during bad times. Dravid has now officially distanced himself from limited over’s game but he has now become more powerful in tests, just like the black hole.