Rahul Dravid is considered to be one of the greatest test batsmen India has ever produced. He is arguably one of the best Number three batters too in the history of cricket. 


His grammar book pattern, complete dedication, and utmost class helped him to achieve the feat in world cricket. The gentleman who defines the game played 31,258 balls in 286 innings shows the amount of hard work that went into scoring 13,288 test runs.

Rahul Dravid is an easy choice while talking about favorite test batters but in case of one day internationals things are not the same. Rahul Dravid is not the one we like to see in a limited over team where strike rates matter. Amidst the one day greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid will not be a favourable pick. That’s understandable. A batsman who couldn’t reach double-digits in the first three ODI of his career certainly cannot be a limited over great.

But here’s the trick. He may not be an ODI legend, but he is certainly a hero who gave it all to overcome his limitations and came out as a warrior. Rahul Dravid scored 10889 runs in 344 ODIS with an average of 39.16 and a strike rate over 71. For a batsman once considered a test specialist, this limited over figure is certainly commendable. His 12 centuries and 83 fifties gave some of the best moments of Indian cricket. Rahul Dravid is the only Indian batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to score 10000 runs in both ODIs and Tests. Someone who was probably never sure about his selection in ODI team managed to play more than 300 one day internationals with such command.

Between 1999 and 2005, Dravid scored 10 of his 12 centuries. He won 9 out of the 14 Man of the Match awards during this period. In these seven years, he was among batsmen with at least 4000 one day runs with strike rate of 72 and the list included the big hitters like Jacques Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar,  Inzamam-Ul-Haq, Sourav Ganguly.  The world of cricket got to see the best of Rahul Dravid as ODI batsman during this time. He was involved in two triple-century partnerships- one with Sourav Ganguly against Sri Lanka in 1999 world cup and smashed 145 off 129 balls in 318 run partnership, another with Sachin Tendulkar in the same year when he contributed a glittering 153 against New Zealand.  These two are still one of the three highest partnerships for any wicket in one international cricket.

He began wicket keeping in 1999 but never let that affect his batting. In fact, the day he debuted as a wicketkeeper, scored one of the best one-day innings of his life (145 against Sri Lanka in Taunton). As a designated wicketkeeper he played 73 matches and scored 2300 runs at an average of 44 and a strike rate over 72. Rahul Dravid continued to establish himself in the biggest ICC events as well. In 1999 world cup he scored 461 runs at an average of 65.85 and produced 318 runs at 63.60 in 2003 world cup. He is among those few batsmen who scored more than 750 runs in the world cup at an average of 61.42.

Winning the matches is what matters the most. Apart from few memorable innings of 50 off 22 against New Zealand or the Taunton blast, Rahul Dravid rose at many occasions and emerged as the match-winning factor.

It is not possible to forget his stint of 81 runs against the best bowling attack of Pakistan at Sharjah in 1999. Another wonderful inning played by Rahul Dravid at Sharjah against Zimbabwe in 2000. He opened the innings, lost partners at regular intervals but kept his calm while accelerating the scoreboard at the same time.  His defense became the most significant factor for India’s innings. Rahul Dravid often worked as a great finisher of Indian innings. In a low scoring match against Pakistan at Multan in 2006 Rahul Dravid came to bat when India was 5 for 1. India needed just 162 runs to win the match but they kept losing wickets. Dravid’s partnership with Yuvraj (85) at this time worked as savior. He played the role of an anchor with 59 off 72.

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Playing at number 5, he was mostly expected to add some quick runs. But there were frequent times when India lost wickets and he had to build the innings coming at number 5. He did both. It was a match against West Indies at Toronto in 1999. Dravid walked in when India was struggling at 61 for 3. He scored a classy 77 off 87 balls and took the control of Indian innings. Thanks to him that India managed to score 225.  During 2003 World Cup while chasing 273 against Pakistan at Centurion Rahul scored an unbeaten 44 and put a crucial partnership with Yuvraj Singh to win the match. In 2004 India were chasing 293 against Pakistan at Lahore. It was 162 for 5 on the scoreboard and clearly, India seemed to lose the match by then. Rahul Dravid scored an unbeaten 76 off 92 balls and came up with a 132 run partnership with Mohammed Kaif. His 2663 with Yuvraj and 1960 with Kaif clearly shows his contribution as a finisher of the game.

His style is different but his numbers do not lie. Rahul Dravid may not feature in the ODI team but a Dravid is required whenever team struggles even in the limited over format of the game. Rahul Dravid with his classic batting style that has been criticized as slow, defensive and not appropriate for the format never stopped developing himself. He kept on growing and proving himself with each passing day. In fact, his only stint with Twenty 20 format also indicates the same. With the devastating 31 off just 21 balls with a strike rate of 147.61 once again proved his worth again and showed why he survived.

1 COMMENT

  1. Rahul Dravid started as an outsider and went on to become the best bridesmaid in limited over cricket. He scored a 22 ball 50 also. Only the second Indian Batsman to have 10,000 runs in both the forms of cricket. The respect and love for him grew after his retirement also. Lovely article.

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