Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, are the trio that shaped Indian cricket. While Sachin and Ganguly get praised for their batting performances and captaincy, Dravid remains unsung although he has done volumes for the growth of cricket in India. A calm and composed player who was selfless throughout his career.
A player like Dravid who has given everything for the betterment of Indian cricket deserves to be celebrated much more. Unfortunately, he wasn’t even given a farewell match which was really unfair to him. Dravid who was highly underrated during his career has played numerous innings which deserves much more praise than it garnered.
We list you 5 such underrated innings of Dravid.
#1 153 vs New Zealand, 2nd ODI, Hyderabad 1999
After being defeated by New Zealand in the first ODI at Rajkot, the Ganguly-led team was forced to deliver and this match was a perfect comeback for the team. Although this match will be remembered for Sachin’s 186* which remained his best till 2010, Dravid’s knock of 153 was equally good. Winning the toss, Ganguly elected to bat but the captain had an off day as he was dismissed for just 4 runs and the scorecard read 10-1. Yet another wicket falling would have strengthened New Zealand's stronghold but that didn’t happen as Dravid stitched a match-winning partnership of 331 with Sachin.
Both the batsmen crafted the innings very well and gradually accelerated the innings. After being silent for the initial overs, the duo smashed boundaries after crossing the 100-run mark. In fact, it was Dravid who outscored Sachin with boundaries across the ground. Dravid’s knock of 153 came in as many balls with 15 fours and 2 sixes. India scored a mammoth 376/2 at the end of their 50 overs. In reply, New Zealand was bowled out for 202 thus losing to India by 174 runs.
#2 145 vs Srilanka, 21st match World Cup, Taunton 1999
Sourav Ganguly hit a match-winning knock of 183 which shall stand as an identity for this match. Rahul Dravid also had an outstanding knock as smashed 145 runs off just 129 balls. Sri Lanka won the toss and asked India to bat first. One of the openers Ramesh returned to the pavilion in the very first over, thus leaving India in a state of worry. Dravid was once again the rescuer along with the Captain.
While Ganguly was hitting sixes at will, Dravid took upon the anchor's role. Dravid’s 145 was a sensible innings which had 17 boundaries and 1 sixes. Dravid was run-out by Muralitharan which ended his fine knock. India posted a humongous 373/6 on the board. Sri Lanka was all out for 216 as Robin Singh added 5 scalps to his name. Though Sourav Ganguly made this match his own with an astounding knock of 183, Dravid’s 145 was really an entertaining and an amazing innings which was a class act from the class player.
#3 180 vs Australia, 2nd Test, Kolkata 2001
Have you ever thought of a team winning after following-on? The answers would be no more often than not. This match is one such match though that stood out for India's comeback. A better recognition to this match could be VVS Laxman’s 281. This innings of VVS Laxman should be inscribed in history for sure as it is a one-of-its kind innings in cricketing history. Though Laxman deserves all praise, the role of Rahul Dravid in this innings is really invaluable, as he hit an amazing 180 runs while partnering with Laxman for more than 100 overs.
Australia posted 445 runs on the board in their first innings and India were bundled out for just 171 runs. With 274 runs behind, hardly anyone would have guessed that India would win this match. It was pure brilliance from Laxman and Dravid who made this a memorable match for the Indians. Dravid’s contribution was much more important as it came at the time when the middle order were succumbing to yet another fall.
India were reeling at 232-4 at one stage before Dravid and Laxman added 376 runs for the fifth wicket. Dravid’s knock of 180 came in 353 balls with 20 fours. Australia had to survive 75 overs on the final day to draw or chase 384 to win. Neither of them happened as Harbhajan’s 6-wicket haul helped team India to defeat them by 171 runs.
Though Laxman and Harbhajan deserve the praise they get, one should not forget Dravid’s knock without whom this sensational victory wouldn’t have happened.
#4 128 vs Pakistan, 1st Test, Lahore 2006
This innings of Dravid was highly overshadowed by Sehwag’s onslaught. The rain-curtailed match was a high scoring affair which ultimately ended in a draw. Almost 2 days were spoilt by rain. 4 batsmen from Pakistan went on to hit a century while Sehwag outscored with his knock of 254 which came in just 247 balls. Although Dravid’s innings of 128 might be viewed as just another century with the match already seeing 4 tons, Dravid’s innings was really a splendid one.
Pakistan declared at 679-7 as they battled for nearly 3 days. Their innings saw 4 centuries from Younis Khan, Mohammed Yousuf, Shahid Afridi, and Kamran Akmal. Younis Khan was unfortunate as he missed his double century by just 1 run. The reply from India was no less daunting as Sehwag and Dravid outplayed Pakistan with their commanding stroke plays. The only wicket to fall was Sehwag's who scored a mammoth 254 runs which contained 47 fours and a single six.
Though Dravid’s knock was a calm and composed one like always, his innings was really a treat to our eyes. Dravid’s 128 came in 233 balls with 19 of them rolling across the rope.