In a long-driven talked-about battle for the “Who-is-the-best” podium between ‘Mr. 360’ and ‘The Wall’, one still gets fascinated by the softer and tender touch of defense by the former Indian skipper and the Head of Cricket at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Rahul Dravid.
Fans always have their dexterous biggies for “the-wolf-who-lived-for-the-pack” as remarked by Harsha Bhogle, but the cricket legends starting from “Little Master” Sachin Tendulkar to Steve Waugh and Kapil Dev surging “The Wall” more than his aura on and off the crease and between the wickets is something that the cricket fraternity longs to look for and eye at Dravid walking into the ground with his pads and gloves and helmet on.
And as it goes further in the community of the red-ball matches, the Test legend, and the only 400-run record-setter, Brian Lara too, steps in to uphold the greatness of Dravid and his batting skills as he goes on to say, “If I have to put anyone to bat for my life, it’ll be Kallis or Dravid.”
Rahul Dravid and AB de Villiers are totally two different worlds of cricket
With the inclusion and invention of the shorter format of cricket i.e. the T20I or tournaments like The Hundred, fans now have totally been shifted to a furious set of batting performances to be sought and seek through the games.
AB has resigned from the game on a tougher note for the cricket fraternity but this is admissible that fans have now been given the standard of mounting run rates – a standard of aura set by Mr. 360 who was awarded this nickname for his excellence with his bat throughout all the corners of the ground.
But yes, even in this batting world of AB de Villiers, there is still a convincing account of getting-to-go-gaga fans of the ‘Classical Rahul Dravid’ who even today when the run rate runs faster than the game and time, love to admire and watch the highlights of Dravid standing like a wall between the world-best furious bowling attacks, again and again, and it never fades away to get old.
But what makes Dravid ‘The Wall’? Of course, there are thousands and thousands of fact-backed reverts but what masters the maestro is the ability to stand still and firm till the last moment. The hand-eye coordination has also put the thrust in his greatness all over. But what he makes the most out of himself is the self-determination to get the game going from one end along with coordinating the other.
Undoubtedly, M.S. Dhoni is considered to be the coolest captain in the history of cricket, but when it comes to Dravid, the game does stoop too, to uphold the legacy of the former skipper. One can easily shrug the Cred advertisement where he slays with his bat and waves it once again but this time on the arena of a street with an aggressive skin put on him but the life that Dravid has been into while playing for India has been more of a cool-tempered, smoothly silent but spearing character shown out of a player.
And here comes the intent of the reason why Dravid cuts it better than almost all other batsmen and popular hard-hitters including A.B. de Villiers. In a newer world of cricket when almost every batsman extends himself or herself (the kinds of Shafali Verma) to an atmosphere of hammering every next ball hard as the T20 and even T10 formats have pushed them into that heated environment, the classical Rahul Dravid still makes the upper hand inched higher than ever. And it is not for the classics that he has been into once, but the psychological fortitude, the supreme intense towards the game, the urge for a horn-lock with his back against the wall makes him all differently brilliant more than mere pinch-hitting than many other new-gen batsmen.
Rahul Dravid Classics Remain Classics!
The quintessential Dravid has left an entire generation behind with a tracking stretch of footsteps (although in an all-new avatar of coaching national and domestic teams) into today’s cricket. The champion has his own artistry of making it into the shortest format.
And who can forget the hammering Dravid in the IPL (Indian Premier League) that left the cricket world go gaga at times? T20 for the first time perhaps had received such definition of a kind of the game (cricket) which, despite the usual momentums of the format, was being treated so swiftly and smoothly by Dravid, without hitting it much harshly. This is perhaps the aura of Dravid and that’s what Dravid is.
The 1996-debutant is as simple as he is on the wickets, off the ground, in the life. He is believed to be an embodiment of humbleness with a fine cut of an artistic batsman not trying to hit hard at every next ball but waiting for the loosest of the balls to turn them into boundaries. And even if he didn’t get to score much of the biggies like a boundary or a maximum, he would still look confidently contended to get over with the singles and doubles amid the unfavorable(s).
Let’s trace back to the debut knock of 95 at one of the most valuable expenses of 267 balls thus cementing the position of his team well in the first innings of the Lord’s-hosted test match as India pushed through the 400-run mark with his classically elegant cover drives, stylish back-lifts, the textbook techniques and tender flicks off the pads.
One might get amazed to know that the entire 267-balls 95’s knock consisted of just six boundaries in all and the rest turned out to be singles, doubles, and triples. And here ‘Dravid – The Wall’ was made! It was this 1996 Lord’s test match against England where Dravid for the first time walked into the arena of international cricket, giving the entire cricket fraternity, the world, and the fans of his cricket the slightest of glimpse of what the steadily heading future would hold for the Indian cricket.
It’s contextual and equally debatable that A.B.D. has got his calmness too while hitting highs into the skies and has always created an environment around himself every time he stepped in to bat, but for Dravid, he has made an entire era that still entails even in the second edition of his career, be it while playing for India as a batsman turning into a wicketkeeper-batsman or a fine acceptance of coaching the Indian team for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup and now most recently, India Team-B.
There would hardly be instances of Dravid getting moved from his deliberate measures for the game and turn into a much-heated chap against sledding or any such stand-offs but one against Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar is something that never gets old.
As Akhtar was in fine touch on a lifeless pitch of the first Test in 2006, it was the Dravid-Sehwag duo that resisted the high-paced bouncing deliveries of the Rawalpindi Express. And it was Dravid, one step further who reciprocated each of the attacks by the Pakistan pacers, especially Akhtar.
And then came the historic instance when Akhtar stared at Dravid and evoked reactions to which The Wall, as stern as he uses to be, didn’t even flinch a bit and stared in the same slaying eyes back at the pacer without batting his eyelids even for a microsecond.
Such was his valor on the crease!
This is quite obvious that Mr. 360 is an outstanding player who has been dared to step in and hit the balls in almost every direction possible and leave his fans and their eyeballs restless as they keep rolling from one corner to another side but to be ‘The Wall’ one really needs the classically cemented chivalry with the slightest touch of smooth-and-sober embodiment that fascinates a fan even a decade after his retirement.
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