Arguably one of India’s all-time greats, Rahul Sharad Dravid was the epitome of grit and determination, which helped him scale unprecedented heights in his long and illustrious career.
Especially in the longest format of the game, Dravid’s greatness was unmatched as he inspired India to many memorable victories both in and outside the country.
However, his remarkable achievements in the Tests have often overshadowed his ODI exploits.
But that cannot belittle the man’s impact in the format, in which he amassed 10889 runs at an average of 39.16. The only person, who has been involved in two 300-run partnerships in ODIs, played many incredible innings for the men in blue which largely remained unnoticed.
We tried to pick five such underrated ODI knocks of Rahul Dravid in which he proved his class. Everyone seems to remember the 145 or the 153 which he scored against Sri Lanka and New Zealand respectively, so we intentionally didn’t include them in the list and rather concentrated on finding the other invaluable knocks.
Here is the list.
5) 74 at Brisbane against Australia in 2004
India achieved a memorable ODI win over Australia in 2004 and one just cannot ignore Rahul Dravid’s contributions with the bat.
Dravid struck a well-made 74 off just 64 balls to provide the impetus that propelled India to a total of 303. Playing a typical ODI knock, Dravid ran well between the wickets and stitched an important partnership of 133 runs with VVS Laxman, who scored a ton in that game.
Amidst all the brouhaha over Laxman’s ton, everyone seemed to forget the fact Dravid’s strike rate of 115.62 was the highest amongst the batsmen (who played at least 10 balls) and that was critical to get the total past the psychological mark of 300.
India emerged victorious in that game and Dravid, like always, remained well behind the shadows.
4) 84 at Durban against South Africa in 1997
Playing under lights at Durban used to be a tricky proposition for the batsmen and the chasing teams often suffered because of that.
After only a year into international cricket, Dravid played one of his best ODI knocks at Durban against the likes of Shaun Pollock, Allan Donald and Lance Klusener in the final of the Standard Bank International One-Day Series.
Chasing 278, which was later revised to 251, India started well thanks to some brilliant batting by Sachin Tendulkar. After the departure of Tendulkar, who struck 45 off just 33 balls, Dravid and his skipper Azharuddin steadied the ship.
Dravid played the perfect role of a supporting batsman as he went about his job in the most efficient manner. However, the loss of wickets at regular intervals didn’t help Dravid’s cause as India eventually lost the game by 17 runs.
However, the right-hander won the man of the match award for his valiant 84.
3) 44 at Centurion against Pakistan in 2003
This famous World Cup clash between the archrivals will always be remembered for the heroics of Sachin Tendulkar who literally manhandled the Pakistan bowling with his blistering strokeplay. However, his efforts could have gone in vain had Dravid and Yuvraj not stepped in.
Yes, when Sachin departed for 98, India still needed 97 runs to win and in front of the likes of Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, and Waqar Younis; it surely didn’t look that easy.
But, the duo weathered the storm and Dravid being the senior pro, took the added responsibility of guiding the youngster Yuvraj Singh. He played balls on merit and never allowed Pakistan the chance to get back into the game.
He made a well-compiled 44 to guide India home and one just cannot ignore this man’s effort.
2) 92 at Bristol against England in 2007
This knock is special in many ways. In the 2nd ODI of the series between India and England in 2007, India started well thanks to their legendary opening duo of Tendulkar and Ganguly.
However, on a small ground like Bristol, they needed a score of well above 300 and required someone to provide the late fireworks.
In came the skipper, Rahul Dravid, who took the English bowlers apart with some delightful hitting and made 92 off just 63 balls. He helped India reach 329 and that proved decisive as India won the match by only 9 runs.
Known to be suited for the longest format, Dravid exhibited an entirely different style of batting which really pleased the large section of Indian fans that day.
1) 109 at Ahmedabad vs West Indies in 2002
We bet that most of you do not remember this particular game when India chased down a total of 324 against the West Indies in 2002.
In the 4th match of the 7-match ODI series between the countries, India and the West Indies locked horns at Ahmedabad and the away side put on a huge total of 324 on the board, thanks to Chris Gayle who made 140 off just 127 balls.
While chasing, India had the worst possible start as they lost Virender Sehwag in the very first over. However, the day belonged to India and especially to Rahul Dravid, who scored an unbeaten 109 to guide India home.
Playing under lights, Dravid displayed a calm head as he went about his job without making any fuss and kept the scoreboard ticking with ones and twos. The blitzkrieg of Sanjay Bangar helped in the end as India completed a memorable win at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera in Ahmedabad.