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The Fall of the great Wall ?

Tendulkar may be the most loved Indian Cricketer and Ganguly may be the most adored one, but certainly Rahul Dravid is the most respected batsman in modern day Cricket. A cricketer par excellence who played a major role in each of the Country?s overseas test victory has failed miserably in the last two visits to the Lankan land.

Tendulkar may be the most loved Indian Cricketer and Ganguly may be the most adored one, but certainly Rahul Dravid is the most respected batsman in modern day Cricket. A cricketer par excellence who played a major role in each of the Country’s overseas test victory has failed miserably in the last two visits to the Lankan land.

Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid

95 runs in 5 innings without a 50 is not something we associate Dravid with. He averages a paltry 33 this year, thanks to the unbeaten ton in Bangladesh. It would be bizarre if we write off Rahul Dravid because of his lack of form this year. After all, in 2009, he had atleast one score of 50 or above in each of the test matches. Unsurprisingly, he averaged 83 last year. But 2009 was a year when we toured New Zealand in conditions pretty much comfortable for batting and we played yet another test series against Sri Lanka at home.  Not the toughest of conditions for a champion like Dravid.

2008 was an interesting year. India toured Australia and Sri Lanka, two of the toughest places to tour and also played against South Africa, Australia and England at home. These are the conditions and oppositions which will test the best and will separate the men from the boys. In those 15 matches, Dravid made a couple of centuries in the placid tracks of Chennai and Mohali in two tame draws. He managed to score one 50 in the 6 innings in Sri Lanka with an average of 24. His average in 2008 was 30.

For a man who is called the Wall for his consistency, a sampling space of 3 or 5 matches may not be enough to gauge his performance. An interesting observation is that, since Dravid resigned from captaincy, he averages 40. In the same period, his middle order companions Sachin and Laxman average more than 60 and so is the case with the Delhi openers Sehwag and Gambhir. The man who led the Indian side for a victory in West Indies with his exquisite batting in Sabina Park must be a lone man in the dressing room. The victory is Sabina Park (2006) is very special but sadly that was the last time Rahul Dravid won a man of the match award.

The Number 1 ranking is mainly because of the hard work of the Fab 4 and test victories in every part of the world. The man who was part of every victory is now just a shadow of his own. The timid boy from Bangalore may need no other motivation than his teammates. He was the first one to jump in joy when the winning runs were scored at P sara, Oval. There cannot be many team-players than Rahul Dravid but he would certainly be feeling the pinch now. It is tough on the part of the players who play only test matches. You get to play very few matches and your failures are being scanned with magnifying glasses. But a winner like Dravid will never give up.

I just cannot stop myself from comparing Dravid with Ganguly. They made their debut in the same match and Ganguly failed miserably in the last series to Sri Lanka. He came back for the series against Australia and quit. We have an upcoming series against Australia, hope Rahul doesn’t follow suit.

It has been a couple of years since Ganguly left but still the space is up for the grabs. Rahul Dravid holding the most important place in the side and being the most valuable player in the line-up will leave a legacy which may be unfilled for a long long time.

For the fans and critics, it is one more occasion to support the man who has given his heart and soul for Indian Cricket. The nice guy who finished first still has a lot to offer for Indian Cricket and let us hope that he once again sparks that magic which he unveiled in England in 2002 against the visiting Australians this year.

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