India’s greatest match-winning batsman ever is…

For long, the Sunil Gavaskar versus Gundappa Viswanath debate has been firmly sealed, signed and delivered in favour of the latter’s style, selflessness, civility and above all, match-winning prowess. With his 32nd century in his 151th Test, has Rahul Dravid followed in the footsteps of his idol, making it 2-0 in the Bombay vs Karnataka battle?


Harsha Bhogle in the Indian Express:

“It is already fifteen years since a simple, elegant, studious and very likeable young man walked out to bat for India at Lords. It was an appropriate setting. Rahul Dravid is neatly turned out, plays the game correctly, likes the traditions associated with the game and is respectful of them. It is not difficult to see why the English would like him. In 1996 though he was significantly more humble and courteous than those I seemed to run into at the ground.

“Not much has changed since then. He is still as intense as ever, still unlikely to sport the ponytail he rejected in one of his earliest commercials, still deeply enamoured by the idea of playing for India, still very out of place in the Kingfisher jingle! That intensity is worth studying though for Dravid knows no other way of playing the game”

Suresh Menon in Tehelka:

“Dravid is the least obtrusive of players, he demands little mind space. He wears his passion on one sleeve, his intelligence on the other. It is a rare combination that evokes awe rather than love, admiration more than conviviality. He is the intelligent man’s guide to what a sportsman ought to be—modest, dependable, well educated, with the gift of grace under pressure and a perspective that is adult.

“While carving out a distinct cricketing personality despite performing alongside Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid ensured that the Indian team retained some of the old-fashioned values unique to cricket. For some years after that Kolkata partnership with V.V.S. Laxman, Dravid carried the Indian batting on his shoulders, saving Test matches in Port of Spain, Georgetown and Nottingham and playing the key role in victories in Headingley, Adelaide, Kandy and Rawalpindi. He had four centuries in successive innings, and four double centuries in a span of 15 Tests. He made an incredible 23 percent of the runs made by India in the 21 victories under Sourav Ganguly, at an average of 102.84.

“It is necessary to descend into statistics only to underline the fact that with Dravid it is never beauty without cruelty – he is a stylish batsman who makes it count, a do-gooder who is focussed on the result, a century-maker whose innings are not out of touch with team performance but an integral part of it. No ploughing the lonely furrow here, every part is a piece of the main.

“Tendulkar’s batting is a joy of straight lines and geometric precision; Dravid’s bat makes no angles to the wind but describes beautiful arcs. In this, he is the spiritual successor to Gundappa Vishwanath, whose secret of the ferocious square cut was passed on to him in that mysterious way cricketing genes jump from one generation to another. When he was selected for India, Dravid told a colleague, “I don’t want to be just another player. I want to be bracketed with Sunil Gavaskar and Vishwanath.” The schoolboy Dravid had photographs taken with his two heroes.

“In time he would dine at the high table with them. He played more strokes more consistently than Gavaskar and the more risky ones with greater safety than Vishwanath.”

Infographic: courtesy Hindustan Times

Also read: Who cries in Bangalore for Rahul Sharad Dravid?

Why some of us just love to hate Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar: the most petulant cricketer ever?

From Bhadravati, the Bhimsen Joshi of cricket

Gundappa Vishwanath: Once upon a time, idol worship of a chindi kind

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11 Responses to “India’s greatest match-winning batsman ever is…”

  1. Robin Says:

    Having seen Dravid growing as a WK – batsman,then as a batsman from as close as 22 yards, i was surprised when he was asked to prove his class against a touring NZ team 17 years ago.His hunger has not stopped from then on.He should play for at least 2 more years.

  2. Deepak Says:

    Thats a super post. It is a well-known fact that Sachin and Lara, however great they may, have a wee bit more concern for their personal records rather than team achievements. The records speak for themselves.

    Hats off to Dravid, who is a true gentleman in all respects. This bit of statistics coupled with his performance in Windies proves that he stands as tall as Sachin and Sunny, if not more.

  3. Deepak Rao Says:

    4 and only 4 of his 32 centuries have come against SA and AUS… that is not 4 each… it is 4 in total and 4 in total home and away

  4. esshridhar Says:

    Cricket was never meant to be a game of the riff-raffs. From good old times it was played by gentlemen in good spirit when money was not a main consideration. There were no betting scams.There are remnants of good order in the form of Dravids especially in South India. We should be glad about this.
    What is worrying is like medical sciences, performance in this game is evaluated based on some silly statistics

  5. Anand Says:

    I met Rahul Dravid once in Rex, Bengaluru in 1998. I walked up to him and told him that he made me and my friends very proud, and that I was thrilled to see him play for India. He clasped my hand and told me that he was just an entertainer, and that I was a real Indian, he also offered to get me a soft drink!

    He arrived a long time ago, he has long been a legend. I wish him and his family the very best.

  6. Vitlan Potli Says:

    …handsome is what handsome does.

  7. Faldo Says:

    Rahul Dravid deserves every bit of praise that he can get from the press and the public, as some of his major achievements have often been complemented by performances of fellow teammates in the same match and his role has gone unnoticed as a result. In a sense, he is the perfect teamplayer who does his job reliably and professionally with a minimum of fuss. The innings at Jamaica shows that he still retains the focus and the patience that he is known for.

    That said, I am not sure one should read too much in the above statistic in a team game like cricket. Just because a player has made a number of centuries for a losing cause, that cannot be held against him. It might just mean that he did much better than the rest of the team and took the fight to the enemy camp, while the other players capitulated.

  8. Amarnath Says:

    Absolutely. This is an eye opener for all who kept on arguing that Sachin is the Sky. With due respect to Sachin’s cricketing abilities, its clearly evident for all sensible cricket lovers that Dravid has given his blood and sweat to pull a victory.
    If Dravid had got a break like Sachin when he was just 16 or 17 years old, take it from me – Dravid would have had more runs and better average than Sachin in ODI’s.
    Sachin also had a bad patch in his career for almost an year and he got chances after chances. But when Dravid went out of form in a couple of ODI series, he was mercilessly removed.
    Million thanks to the writer of this article.
    Proud to be a Dravid fan..

  9. Jayashree Says:

    When Manoj Prabakar was playing for India, he has played in all the matches that India won during his time. Not Acting like some body!

  10. Jayashree Says:

    Rahul is the Ken Barrington of Indian cricket.

  11. Puneet Says:

    I might be a chauvinist, but it should be Bombay v/s Bengaluru battle.

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