When Rahul Dravid turned out for Scotland in 2003
Right from 1996, when a thin, lean youngster got overshadowed by the weight of a century scored by a fellow debutant at the hallowed Lord’s Cricket Ground in England, Rahul Dravid, it has been said, has had to live in the shadows of his famed counterparts.
Failing to garner flashy newspaper headlines in a nation obsessing over run machine Sachin Tendulkar or Sourav Ganguly, who introduced in India a style of cricket that had never been tried on before, Dravid went about his way in a silent tranquil manner, often exuding a feel-good calmness every time he took the field.
With the world searching for players who countered Australian cricket’s aggressive and at times unsporting brand of cricket as the years rolled by, Dravid emerged as a cricketer who would go on to epitomise humility and teamwork, practicing grace and poignancy even when the surroundings portrayed otherwise.
How Dravid went on to play for Scotland
By 2003, the 30-year-old Dravid was already seen as an individual who would carry the baton of Indian cricket forward, courtesy a number of match-winning knocks, both in India and abroad.
After a gruelling World Cup earlier in 2003, where the Men in Blue performed beyond expectations to reach the finals, only to receive a drubbing at the hands of Australia, the Indian squad had the luxury of an extended off-season, following which the team would host New Zealand, before embarking on challenging tours to Australia and Pakistan.
Dravid, Ganguly’s deputy in the national team, who had earned his right to enjoy the comforts of a rare four-month break which would involve spending adequate time with his newlywed bride Vijeta, received an offer from then India coach John Wright to represent Scotland Saltires in the county circuit for a period of 3 months.
Making their debut in the One Day format, Scotland were admitted into the National Cricket League for a three-year trial period and were desperately seeking an Indian international player, who would infuse his work ethics onto the team, motivating and encouraging the young Scottish players to realise their dream of playing in a World Cup as early as 2007.
Gwynne Jones, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Cricket Union, harboured hopes of having Tendulkar play for his side, an offer turned down by Wright, who was convinced that if indeed an Indian player had to go on board, it would be none other than ‘Jammie’ Dravid.
“The person who is really going to do things for you, on and off the field, is Rahul Dravid.” The coach’s words to Jones, more than anything, highlighted the Indian’s ability and skill at motivational speech and the impact his presence would have a bunch of talented cricketers, who were looking to fulfil a dream.
Even though 2003 had been a mentally and physically tough phase for Dravid, in his own words, the challenge of rubbing shoulders with youngsters, passing on his invaluable experiences and memories to a pool of people, made him commit to this cause.
Pledging that he would play with as much honesty and sincerity as he as he did while playing for the national colours, Dravid embarked on a three-month tour to Scotland, wherein he devoted as much time in honing the skills of the avid kids as he did in scouting for the traditional Scottish kilts, with wife in tow.
The matches played by Dravid for Scotland
Dravid signed up to play 11 county games for Scotland in the National Cricket League as well as a one-off tour game against Pakistan. His intent and dedication was in full display on all occasions as ended his stint as the highest run-scorer for his team - notching up 600 runs at an average of 66.66, far ahead of second-placed South African Jon Kent, who had 469 runs in 16 games.
Scotland vs Hampshire
Hampshire won by 7 wickets
Dravid got off to a low-key start for Scotland, managing only 25 runs from 41 balls. His frustration after Alan Mullally dismissed him highlighted the commitment on offer by an India regular. Scotland notched up only 201 runs, which was overhauled by Hampshire with 2 overs remaining.
Scotland vs Somerset
Somerset won by 1 wicket
Dravid proved his mettle by notching up a brilliant 120 not out in 97 deliveries, laced with 10 boundaries and 3 sixes, which helped Scotland to a commanding position of 296/4. The inexperienced bowling attack could, however, not ward off Somerset from registering a win with 5 balls to spare.
Scotland vs Middlesex
Middlesex won by 112 runs
A one-sided encounter after Scotland were reduced to 36/5 chasing Middlesex’s 255. Dravid was dismissed for six, caught plumb leg before by Ashley Noffke.
Scotland vs Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire won by 4 wickets
After a disastrous start by Scotland, Dravid steadied the ship with a crafty innings of 129 not out, hitting 14 boundaries and 4 sixes. On a pitch that assisted the faster bowlers, Dravid’s sublime knock was a far cry from his teammates’ meek surrender. Scotland ended with 222 on board, but could not avoid another defeat.
Scotland vs Durham
Durham won by 114 runs
Unable to escape the menace on offer by Shoaib Akhtar, Scotland were reduced to a sorry 6/5 chasing 268, with Dravid managing 5.
Scotland vs Lancashire
Lancashire won by 10 wickets
The losing streak continued as Scotland made 168 runs in their allotted 39 overs, with Dravid making 26 in 30 deliveries. Lancashire faced no hiccups in their chase, as they reached home with 10 overs to spare.
Scotland vs Essex
Scotland won by 6 wickets
After a disastrous start to their campaign, Scotland finally had a win under their belt. Chasing 270 for a win, Kent and Dravid stitched together 167 runs for the fifth wicket to take their team to a historic ODI triumph. Dravid was out for 69, scored in 79 balls.
Scotland vs Hampshire
Hampshire won by 7 wickets
After a historic win, the county was back to its losing ways as they failed to defend 225 in 45 overs. Dravid, supported by Kent, added 103 for the fifth wicket with the Indian making a fluent 81 in 99 deliveries.
Scotland vs Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire won by 75 runs
Once again, Dravid was the lone warrior for his team as he notched up his third hundred of the season, a knock of 114 runs, with eight boundaries and a six. Chasing a massive 320 for a win, none of the other players rallied around Dravid and the result was yet another loss by 75 runs.
Scotland vs Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire won by 8 wickets
Yet another disappointing outing for Scotland, as they were skittled out for a mere 119 runs, with Dravid scoring 24 in 45 deliveries. The opponent had no difficulty in easing to an 8-wicket win.
Scotland vs Sussex
Sussex won by 1 wicket
His last county game for Scotland, wherein he scored a solitary run, capped off an excellent season for Dravid personally, even though Scotland could not stay away from another loss.
Besides these 11 games, the Bangalorean turned out for Scotland in a tour game on June 7 against Pakistan. Away from the humdrum that would have otherwise surrounded a Pakistan game, Dravid took the field, scoring a first ball duck, caught behind off Shabbir Ahmed’s bowling. Pakistan, true to their character, made a mess of the run chase, managing to emerge triumphant by a whisker while chasing 170.
In the United Kingdom, Dravid brought to the table all his experience, as he became the most successful player from his county side in the particular season. However, the quality of his teammates ensured that more often than not, his efforts were in a fruitless cause, as Scotland managed only a win from the 12 games he participated in.