Dravid’s eminence amongst the game’s greats is not so much a story about talent as it is about a youngster striving to overcome the limitations of his game. Often criticised in the initial years of his career for his sluggish scoring rate in ODIs, Dravid is one of only a handful of players to have crossed the 10,000 run mark in both Tests and ODIs.
Dravid made his first Test appearance for India at Lord’s in 1996 (in the same match as Sourav Ganguly) and fell four short of what would have been a magnificent century on debut. He first batted at No. 3 in the Ahmedabad Test against South Africa in November 1996, but it was with his innings of 148 and 81 in the Johannesburg Test of the 1996-97 tour of South Africa that Dravid established himself at that position. Yet, when India were made to follow-on at Kolkata against Australia in 2001, Dravid, with an innings of 180, scripted that remarkable turnaround with VVS Laxman (376-run partnership) while batting at No. 6.
It is no coincidence that with Dravid in peak form, overseas victories became more than just wishful thinking for the Indian team. Whether it was his innings of 148 at Leeds in 2002, or 233 at Adelaide in 2003, 270 at Rawalpindi in 2004, or a match aggregate of 149 runs on a difficult Sabina Park wicket in 2006, Dravid was often the fulcrum around which India registered its most memorable wins at in the late ‘90s.
Ever the team man, Dravid also played a vital role in India’s dream run at the 2003 ICC World Cup. Picked to play in the makeshift role of a wicketkeeper-batsman, Dravid’s satisfactory glove-work gave the Indian squad the required balance that took them all the way to the final.
A member of modern cricketing royalty, Dravid owns a host of batting records and is also the player with the most number of catches in Test cricket. But the only real way to view his legacy is by acknowledging the fact that playing alongside Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting for a large part of his career, Dravid still remains the most technically accomplished batsman of his time.
|Test debut||v England, Lord's, Jun 20, 1996|
|ODI debut||v Sri Lanka, Singapore, Apr 03, 1996|
|T20I debut||v England, Manchester, Aug 31, 2011|
|IPL debut||Royal Challengers Bangalore v Kolkata Knight Riders, Bangalore, Apr 18, 2008|
|CLT20 debut||Royal Challengers Bangalore v Cape Cobras, Bangalore, Oct 08, 2009|