Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid have been the long standing pillars of Indian Cricket. Both chose to end their limited over career together and what better place to do it than the CLT20 finals. Both Sachin and Dravid had nothing but praise for one another.
While Sachin described Dravid as “someone he would look up to during difficult times”, Dravid looked up to Sachin as an “inspiration”.
Dravid remarked interestingly that, though only 7 months elder in age, Sachin was 7 years older in experience than him. Ending their limited over batting careers in an unorthodox but a similar way by being bowled out, the crowd gave the duo a thunderous applause as they exited the ground. Ten years ago no one would’ve imagined that these two greats will play their last limited overs game together that too against each other!
Before the start of the game, both were given the Guard of Honor by their respective team mates. Sharing the dressing room for a whopping 17 years, they have had some incredible moments together like the great 331 run ODI partnership between them.
Great partnerships, on-field and off-field controversies, have all surrounded their relationship.
Here are my favourite four Tendulkar-Dravid moments:
1. Great partnerships:
The two have come to the rescue of the Indian Team since decades. They have stitched together innumerable partnerships to take India over the winning lines. They have had an amazing stand against every test playing nation, the best one being Australia.
Some of them are:
The 331 run partnership vs New Zealand at Hyderabad, 8th Nov 1999:
Rahul Dravid (153, 153 balls) and Sachin Tendulkar (186, 150 balls) amassed a 331 run partnership against the likes of Vettori, Cairns, Styris and Nathan Astle.
Tendulkar being the aggressive of the two, helped the team grab some momentum, while Dravid supported him on the other end by a run a ball 153. Both went on to notch their then highest individual ODI scores. The partnership is still the highest ever for any wicket in One Day Internationals.
113 against Australia, 1998: Sachin (155*), Dravid (56):
Helped Indian team win the game by a huge margin of 179 runs after trailing by 70 runs in the first innings.
140 against Australia, 1998: Sachin (79), Dravid (86):
Helped India win by an innings and 219 runs. The other partnerships in this game took this one as a solid base to take off.
229 against New Zealand, 1999: Sachin (126*), Dravid (144):
The match went on to be a draw.
241* against Zimbabwe, 2000: Sachin (201*), Dravid (162)
Second Double century Partnership between the two, within a week!
169 against Australia, 2001: Sachin (126), Dravid (81):
After a draw in the first two tests of the series, a win in the third test sealed victory for India against the Aussies.
150 against England, 2002: Sachin (193), Dravid (148):
Helped India level the series on English Soil.
122 against Pakistan, 2005: Sachin (52), Dravid (110):
India won the game by a huge margin of 195 runs.
139 against Australia, 2008: Sachin (93), Dravid (71):
India set a target of 413 runs for Australia to win. Australia folded up at 340 runs to hand over India a famous win.
222* against Bangladesh, 2010: Sachin (143*), Dravid (111 retired hurt):
Battling a cheek fracture, Dravid led India to a convincing win in the game and the series.
104 against New Zealand, 2010: Sachin (61), Dravid (191):
India won the game satisfactorily. Dravid’s classiness, was as always, praised by everyone.
117 against Australia, 2011: Sachin (68*), Dravid (73):
Last one of their century partnerships. The partnership got India in a good position to go further into the game.
2. The Multan Test declaration, March 2004:
Rahul Dravid was the stand-in captain in place of injured Saurav Ganguly during the 2004 test series. Tendulkar was just 6 runs short of a double century when the 6th batsman, Yuvraj Singh ran himself out, Rahul immediately called for declaration as the team’s score was at 676/6 leaving Tendulkar stranded on 194. The controversy was one of the most heavily debated topics, till things were sorted out later by John Wright.
3. 2007 World Cup failure:
Another round of controversies surrounded the two batting greats after the Indian Team’s Failure in the 2007 World Cup. Captain Dravid was blamed for pushing Tendulkar down to No. 4 which was an unusual position for the little master. His push down the order was blamed for the maestro’s terrible failure in the cup.
4. Felicitation ambiguity:
When Dravid retired from all forms of cricket recently, Sachin Tendulkar stayed adrift of the felicitation function to go to London to attend to a toe injury. Also, Dravid did not mention anything about Tendulkar during his Final speech. The incident sparked discussions and debates on whether all was well between the batting greats.
Their Contribution to not only to Indian cricket but the sport of cricket as a whole is immense. The cricketing world salutes the two batting greats as they exit the center stage.
Years later, we would be telling our children, “Look Kid, That is what legends look like.”