Rahul Dravid – It's always the most difficult task to write about this genius who has been the most respected cricketer throughout his career. Someone who has Justified a tag of Greatness like No other. Indian Test cricket history is incomplete without this an astute reader of a game. He was not given the farewell match or series which shows how the boards of our cricket treat the player like Rahul Dravid.
More often Dravid comes in the underrated cricketers frame as many of his match-Winning performances never gets the ovation for what he deserved. With over 10,000 runs in ODI and Test cricket it's enough to say him the batsman of once in an era.
"Even if my grandchildren don’t remember the fact that I scored 10,000 runs in Test and ODI cricket, I am confident that they will remember that Sachin Tendulkar used to be my team-mate." ~ Rahul Dravid
And with such great words the respect for him is even double. Rahul Dravid was a part of the Golden Era in a Indian cricket history 2000- 2011.. Team India was through the transition phase when Rahul Dravid came into the picture.
Rahul Dravid was Involved in the most number of partnerships in the history of cricket by any batsman – 700. Second batsman in the history of cricket after Kumar Sangakara to have more than 10000 runs while batting at No.3 in test cricket.
With such great records under his cap let us take a look at the most underrated innings in Rahul Dravid's career:
1. Rahul Dravid 128 Vs Pakistan, Lahore Test, 2006:
The first Test match of 3-match series. Although the match was completely dominated by the batsman of both sides. After winning the toss the host went onto post 699 in their first innings and declared their innings while their four batsmen smashed the centuries and Younis Khan missed his double century by just one run.
In response to this Indian openers Virender Sehwag (254) and Rahul Dravid 128* with absolute carnage put on the record partnership for the first wicket of 410 runs and just missed out the 50 year old record of 413 runs for the first wicket.
In the record partnership there were some top-level batting and classical cover drives, pull shots and fiery cut shots. The match ended in a draw due to the rain interrupting the play.
The news headlines was the second fastest double century in the history from the Swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag in 181 balls and the fine century from Rahul Dravid in record partnership was completely overshadowed by the double century.
Must Read | 5 Best Innings of Virender Sehwag
2. Rahul Dravid 145 Vs Sri Lanka, World Cup, 1999:
First world of Rahul Dravid. The century in the early days of his career was overshadowed by the flamboyant left handed batsman Sourav Ganguly of innings of 183 runs. After winning the toss Sri Lanka decided the bowl and forced team India to bat.
With 6/1 team India was in trouble then walked in the Dark knight of team India Rahul Dravid to stop further dents into the team line-up.
Rahul Dravid (145) along with Sourav Ganguly (183) put on the record partnership for the 2nd second wicket of 318 runs and ended up posting 373 on the board. In reply to this Sri Lanka crumbled down to 216 runs and lost the match.
With two match winning knocks from the greatest batsman in the Indian cricket history. Although Sourav Ganguly was adjudged with man of match award for his career best 183 run knock. Another knock from the once in a lifetime batsman was overshadowed.
3. Rahul Dravid 153 Vs New Zealand, Hyderabad, 1999:
Rahul Dravid is only batsman in the history to be involved in two 300 plus partnerships in ODIs. This was the innings from the young Karnataka player that “Rahul Dravid Era Had Begun” – statement to the world with his clinical cover drives – I am here to stay. After trailing by 1-0 in the series moving into the 2nd game of the series the pressure was on team India.
With 10/1 the team in trouble and when the team in trouble only name comes in the mind The Wall Rahul Dravid walked in once again to stunned the world with classical pull shots and those cover drives. Dravid (153) along with the Sachin Tendulkar (186* put on the match winning partnership of 331 runs for the second wicket to go onto post 376/2 in their allocated 50 overs.
The tourists were nowhere in the match from the start as they managed to score 202 runs and lost the match by 174 runs. Sachin Tendulkar was adjudged with man of the match award for his unbeaten 186 run knock. Although the highlight of the match was that record partnership and century from Sachin Tendulkar which again overshadowed the innings of Rahul Dravid.
4. Rahul Dravid 180 Vs Australia, Kolkata, 2001:
In the last two decades if there was the innings then would be considered as underrated then it was this knock from the Mr Wall of Indian cricket team Rahul Dravid 180 runs against Australia in 2001 at Kolkata during the 2nd test match of the series.
The series is often regarded as a turnaround in the Indian cricket history which has changed the dynamics of team India. The team winning after follow on is very difficult or next to impossible. But this test match was the fine example of how to win the test match after the follow on. Batting first the tourists have posted 445 in their first innings and looked confident to clinch the series after such a score.
The history was about made. Team India started their first innings and as always nowhere near the class of Australian best bowling attack and bundled out at 174 in their first innings. With 274 runs lead in the first innings. Audience were guessing will Australia bat again or enforced the follow on? But Australia enforced their follow on. With 232-4 in the second innings team India the audience in the ground were starting to leave the ground.
But it was the transition phase from which team India was going and everyone was some major change in cricket as we have moved into the 2000s era. The two young players who have been into the spotlight earlier but couldn't get recognition as much as they deserved. But this time they have raised the bar through the performance to stunned the world cricket – statement to the world. Team India has arrived. Rahul Dravid (180) and VVS Laxman (281) put on 376 run partnership for the 5th wicket and set the target of 384 runs to chase in the final innings of the match.
It was unsure and the first prediction was Australia will easily draw the test match or win it on the easy note. But the boy from Punjab Harbhajan Singh shell shocked the world with a match winning spell of picking 6 wickets in the second innings and helped team India to win the match by 171 runs.
The headlines were all about two poster boys Harbhajan Singh and VVS Laxman but without that well consolidated knock from Rahul Dravid this match was incomplete and one more time he didn't get the credit for his valuable contribution.