RAHUL DRAVID- A "misfit" totally fitted in.
Rahul Sharad Dravid, a test specialist, is captaining an IPL team this year. IPL, meaning 20-20 cricket which ends as soon as it starts. How he wind up here?
Today, as the man would captain his first match in this IPL, I would like to put light on what an asset he has been to his franchises all through out.
IPL 2008, the first edition of this glittery league. Dravid capped as the captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore. For a man grilled to be a test player all through out his childhood, this was just adjusting to the fast paced format. Even then, he made scores like 75(36) when the team’s total was 132\9, 66(51) when the team was 126 all out and 47(39) when the team ended up at 126\8. He made 371 runs on the season with a decent strike rate of 124.4 and a good looking average of 28. He was the highest scorer for RCB that year. Unfortunately, his team ended the season being second last in the points table. Every accusation was thrown at him, even the owner did not think twice before bashing his tactics and team selections in public.
IPL 2009, adding insult to injury, Dravid was made to step down from the captaincy as Kumble took up the role, and to his credit, did an excellent job at it. Dravid was named the man of the match in the first game itself. His score, 66(48). The team reached the finals and lost by 6 runs. The man made a total of 271 with scores like 48(27) in that season and was the second highest scorer for his team even after missing some matches and being sent lower down the order many times.
IPL 2010. Expectations from the team were high. Dravid did not get to bat in 5 of the first 8 matches of the team, his position being changed every match. He made respectable scores like 26(25), 52(35) and 49(35) in the next three consecutive matches. All of a sudden, he was sent to open the innings shifting him from his no.6 spot yet again against Mumbai Indians in the Semi Finals. He made a good start of 23(22) but was run out at the wrong time. He was 35* in the last match of 30 balls in which RCB gained the 3rd spot to fix a place in the Champion’s trophy. With 256 runs at an average of 28, the guy again did a good job and was the 4th highest run getter for his team that year.
He played a tremendous hand at the Champion’s trophy if 2009 as well as 2010 with scores like 32(26), 28(24), 71(58) and 33(26) with an incredible average of 39.
He batted at no.7 thrice, no.6 6 times, no.5 7 times, no.4 11 times no.3 6 times, and as an opener 4 times in the three seasons of the tournament. In spite of this, he scored 898 in total and was second highest for the team overall. Even after this tremendous effort from a “misfit” in the format, the team decided not to retain him. He was sent to the Royal camp of Rajasthan.
IPL 2011. Rajasthan Royals is the team in which he finally got stability in the batting order and he opened for all the matches in the league. With scores of 28, 38, 35, 44, 66, 37 and 43 he ended up being the highest run scorer for RR in that season with a total of 343 runs and an average of 31.
IPL 2012. The franchise respectfully made him the captain of the team, after the legendary Warne’s exit. Golden IPL for him certainly. He made scored 58(42), 40(38), 57(43) and 46(39) consecutively in four matches. He had created a special record of making more than 25 runs in more than 8 matches in one season as a captain. No other captain in the IPL till today has been that consistent. His opening stand with Rahane became the talk of the season and he became the 7th highest run getter in the overall tournament with a mammoth 462 runs at an average of 28, and that too by playing only the league stage. Not only this, his discipline as a captain shone when his team won the fair play award that year.
Overall the man has 1703 at an average of 28 runs standing as the 10th highest run getter of the IPL and as 5th in the list of maximum no. of fours hit.
All of this being sidelined, he is a man with excellent pair of hands. The tournament started in his late thirties and the man has a total of 15 catches till now in the IPL out of which 5 have been awarded with the karbon kamaal catch award. A stunning one handed running catch that he took in the second edition of the IPL stands as one of the best in its history.
People love criticizing. Maybe that is why RD is still a misfit for some even after such dazzling displays in the IPL. When a illustrious player like Pollard has just four 30+ scores in the IPL, Rahul Dravid has 23 50+ scores. This defines the sheer class of the man. His being in the team itself is a huge motivation to the players. A player like Watson proclaims himself to be lucky to be playing alongside this Legend. People may continue criticizing, but the Wall will always stand tall, what ever be the format.
Let us all wish him great luck in this season of the tournament.