Blogs & Opinion


Mike Atherton:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

The Wall of fame

Dravid deserves his place as a modern-day great, says Athers

Mike Atherton - Michael Atherton Posted 9th March 2012 view comments

Rahul Dravid was an outstanding player, one of the best of the modern era.

A very technically-gifted batsman, his style was of a type that is becoming increasingly rare; his game was based on a rock-solid defence, whereas most players coming through now tend to base their game on attack.

Opening shot: Dravid on the drive during his Test debut at Lord's, in 1996

Opening shot: Dravid on the drive during his Test debut at Lord's, in 1996

That solidity allowed him to thrive in all conditions and was the basis of his longevity in Test cricket. There aren't many Indian batsmen who have played abroad as well as Dravid.

He was an outstanding role-model, too, highly-respected the world over. I've certainly never heard anyone say a bad word about him. All in all, he was a fine player and a good man.

Excellence

While his ability to stay at the wicket earned him the nickname 'the Wall', like all top-class players Dravid had a full-range of strokes.

If you're facing a top-class attack on a pitch that is doing a bit and you had to pick the batsman who is most likely to get you critical runs, I'd put Dravid ahead of anybody in that Indian team.

Mike Atherton
Quotes of the week

For me his name is right up there with the great players in the modern era: Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar.

To some extent he will always be remembered in Tendulkar's shadow, but to my mind there is precious little between them as batsmen.

Tendulkar might be a slightly better all-round player, but you are talking about a hair's breadth. For that reason I've always felt that Dravid hasn't quite been given his due.

If you're facing a top-class attack on a pitch that is doing a bit and you had to pick the batsman who is most likely to get you critical runs, I'd put Dravid ahead of anybody in that Indian team.

For that very reason his performance on India's last tour of England stood out; he was a beacon of excellence in an otherwise shambolic side.

He may have been coming towards the end of his career, but he showed all of his technical skill and determination in a bid to shore up a sinking ship.

You often find out a lot about players when they are part of a team that is struggling. He scored 461 runs in four Tests - almost 200 more than Tendulkar - while his average of 78.83 was twice that of any other player.

That series came four years after he successfully lead India to their first win in England since 1986; a momentous achievement in its own right.

Studious

You have to go back considerably further to trace the start of Dravid's Test career.

I'd seen a little bit of him in county cricket before he made his debut against us at Lord's in 1996 and remember him coming to chat to me at length about batting.

He was always a studious and earnest individual, someone who was always looking to learn more and develop his game.

He came in down the order at seven and together with Sourav Ganguly and the tail helped India earn a first-innings lead in a match that was eventually drawn.

The 95 runs he scored back then were the first of his 13,288 in Test cricket and they gave us an indication of the way he would thwart and grind down teams throughout his career.

In the next Test, the third of the series, he weighed in with 85 to indicate again that he had no intention of staying at seven for long!

Sixteen years later the time has come to move on.

The way India played in their last two series illustrated the need for the team to evolve and when you've got young players like Virat Kohli coming through, those guys need to be given a decent run.

Change has to come and it's time for the selectors to be more proactive in encouraging their best talent by passing Dravid's responsibilities onto them.

back to top

Other Cricket Experts:

Latest Posts in Cricket:

Latest News RSS feeds

Australia v England live

Over-by-over commentary from the Tri-Series Final in Perth

Johnson to return for final

Mitchell Johnson is set to return for Australia in the Carlton Mid Tri-Series final against England in Perth on Sunday.

Weather hampers England Lions

England Lions were unable to seal a series win as their third one-dayer against South Africa A was abandoned due to rain.

Clarke denies rift after return

Australia captain Michael Clarke has denied there is a rift in the squad after making his return to action from hamstring surgery.

New Zealand ease to victory

New Zealand eased to a seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in the first one-day international in Wellington.

Features

Lloyd on World Cup

Lloyd on World Cup

In the first of our new series, two-time winning captain Clive Lloyd tells us why he loves the Cricket World Cup.

World Cup Flashback

World Cup Flashback

Andy Bichel’s 7-20 and 34no destroyed England in 2003. Has there been a better all-round display?

World Cup Classics: West Indies implode against Australia in 1996

World Cup Classics: West Indies implode against Australia in 1996

Richie Richardson’s hopes of bowing out of one-day cricket as a World Cup-winning skipper were thwarted as the West Indies imploded against Australia to suffer their first ever semi-final defeat.