Michael Jeh December 15, 2008

Defending The Wall

As soon as a player loses the ability to win a Test match I suspect the modern game will spit him out
45



I write this piece on the morning of the last day of an absorbing Test in Chennai. Rahul Dravid, the focus of this essay, is not out overnight and possibly facing the last great challenge in an admirable career. The scene is set for a Dravid epic – obdurate, unflinching and the perfect time to live up to his nickname of The Wall.

I have to wonder though if the modern game will allow someone like Dravid the opportunity to defend his way back into form. With high scoring rates and an expectation that batsmen will always play shots, Dravid may not have the arsenal to be able to fight back with a big score at this late stage of his career. His game is largely built around a rock solid defensive technique and the ability to concentrate for long periods of time, wearing down opposition bowlers. He may not have the luxury of time to resurrect his career unless the selectors can see beyond the strokemakers and recognise an old fashioned jewel in the new Indian crown.

When Dravid really shone in the 2003/04 series in Australia, he did that by being much more aggressive than the Aussies expected him to be. All of a sudden, the longer he remained at the crease, not only was he occupying time but the scoreboard was scooting along too. With Sehwag, Tendulkar and Laxman at the other end, Dravid’s batting was now a real threat because the bowlers could not block up one end by bowling short of a length to him.

On the other side of the world, Matthew Hayden faces a similar minor slump. His style of batting though seems more likely to emerge from that low period for the simple reason that he has the capacity to play big shots. Which brings me to my question: is it easier to hit your way out of a form slump in the modern game (Hayden) than to graft (Dravid)?

For what it’s worth, I don’t think international cricket will allow someone like Dravid to find form again with a slow, painstaking century. He will need to play shots and be bold if he is to survive this series. Even if he saves this Test in Chennai!

Virender Sehwag epitomises this modern trend of hitting your way back into form. Left out of the Indian side 12 months ago, he is again arguably the most feared opening batsman in world cricket because of his ability to score runs quickly. Most batsmen who resurrect their careers in contemporary cricket are almost forced to do it in an aggressive fashion. Justin Langer’s second coming was a far cry from his early days as a tough, no-nonsense accumulator. Langer Mark II often out-scored Hayden in those opening partnerships.

Mahela Jayawardene had a dreadful period during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa but he crafted his renaissance on getting big scores and getting them quickly. Saurav Ganguly and VVS Laxman fought their way back into the Indian team by backing their attacking instincts. Andrew Symonds, on the verge of being dropped when the South Africans were here last, launched a spectacular counter-offensive (in partnership with Hayden) to hang on to his spot, a feat he repeated a year later against England when his form was again a bit patchy, once more in partnership with Hayden. In contrast, Andrew Strauss seems to have saved his career by sticking to his steady game plan, accumulating rather than thrashing away frenetically.

Ironically Hayden himself adopted a much more conservative, disciplined approach when he saved his career in the Oval Test of the 2005 Ashes Series but he soon returned to his swashbuckling best once the axe had stopped hovering. I can’t see him repeating this conservatism against South Africa though – if he goes down, it will be in flames!

I’ve always been a big fan of Dravid, not just for his perfect batting technique but also for the absolute gentleman that he has always been throughout a long career. Here is a cricketer who has developed a reputation for being tough without having to resort to being boorish. I daresay he is widely respected and well-liked by most of his opponents. Whether he is now feared by them, in a cricketing sense, I doubt.

As soon as a player loses the ability to win a Test match and relies on being selected solely for his ability to save one, I suspect the modern game will spit him out. I hope Dravid can find an extra gear today and play the sort of innings that will convince the selectors that this Rolls Royce is not yet ready for the museum. Sadly, I can’t see it happening.

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mohsin Khan on December 24, 2008, 7:36 GMT

    The best defensive player of this century is Dravid and the beauty of his game is that he is more effective at opponents' homes as compare to his country. He scored 10 centuries in his country as well it means that he is also effective at his home too. He has such a major slump in his career and now he is recovering from it. He has a problem of form only otherwise his reflexes are ok even at this age where players are thinking of retirement. In my opinion he has two more years left in him and he is one of the best batsman among his contemporaries like Lara, Tendulkar, Ponting and others. He should try to reach 30 centuries in test matches for which he needs only four more hundreds. He can easily score 12000 or more runs in test cricket as currently he has scored 10509 runs. This year he has scored more than 800 runs which is also good but not according to his class. One more record that he has in test cricket is that he has scored double hundreds against five different test countries.

  • Omair Siddiqui on December 19, 2008, 12:07 GMT

    Today he has scored another fifty after this major slump in his career. His class is permanent, no doubt about it as his defense is marvellous. He scored 50 or more 79th times in his career it shows that he is consistent batsman. We may easily include him in the best five batsmen of this decade. Although his average was near to 60 and it is now just more than 50, but still he has a potential to prove himself in test cricket. I think he has two or more years remaining in him for this big version. Their batting line comprises of Tendulkar, Sehwag, Laxman and also Dravid make them best batting line among all others team in recent years. Emerging of Gambhir in test is also another plus point for them. Dravid is defensive player and Sehwag is aggressive and Tendulkar according to situation build variation (different talents in same team) in their batting.

  • Nikhil Sud on December 19, 2008, 10:59 GMT

    Interesting to read all above. Most who have commented negetively -- it seems don't know first hand what batting at No:3 is all about and what Rahul brings to Indian team. Sure all detractors have been proved wrong with his 1st innings at Mohali . But world as it is today with media whipping up emotions and silly politics alike Rahuls fans and cricket connosuiers alike will always be proud of a gentleman and perfect cricketer to have graced our team and look forward to more from his bat. Hopefully likes of former chairman of selectors Vengsarkar and his friends will regret speaking about such great cricketers too early. Else they can take shelter saying media forced them to say it.

  • Zeeshan Ahmed on December 19, 2008, 6:02 GMT

    At this stage of his career, he has such a major slump in it as his batting average is decreasing day by day from 58.75 to 52.12. Among his contempraries, he is one of the best batsman. He is one of the best defensive player as he played near to 25000 balls in test cricket. His first class career is also excellent as he scored near to 20,000 with batting average 55.21. His team is very lucky as they have Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag and Laxman in their batting line and now one more addition of Gambhir as well. Only three Asian players have scored 10,000 or more in test cricket and he is also included in them. His overall performance against all test playing nation is very good like his combine average against West Indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh is 75.9 and against S. Africa only little bit soft that is 36.51 which is even not bad. He should take rest for few months and try to regain his form and then come back to build any massive inning for his full confidence.

  • Zara Khan on December 18, 2008, 11:48 GMT

    I think he should take some rest and regain his form in first class cricket and then come back to big version. He is out of form but his class is permanent as form is temporary. In Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Dravid who is the no. 1 batsmen of them. It is a question which mostly people ask. In my opinion, no. 1 is Gavaskar then Tendulkar and then Dravid. Gavaskar is classical batsman with perfect front foot as well as back foot. He scored 13 centuries against W. Indies and also his batting average is near to 60 in 4th inning with highest score 221. Any how give some rest to Dravid as he has only scored 25 century yet now and I think that he should score 30 century in test matches with eight double hundreds. His batting average is more at opponents' homes as compare to his own country that is 56.62 as compare to 46.78. One more solution is that take rest and then re-start again any weak team so that he can improve his confidence by building any massive inning against them.

  • mahesh on December 18, 2008, 2:00 GMT

    In test or ODI number 3 spot is so crutial. If first wicket falls early, it is responsibility of one down batsman to stabilise the innings but not to take off the momentum of the innings. In any form of cricket top three positions are important. In the first innings of chennai test we see the batting collapsed when first wicket fall early. It would be better an inform batsman like laxman or dhoni or perhaps sachin can come in one down. The pressure mounts when first wicket falls early and a batman like dravid is in the crease running poor form. Perhaps he can come at 5 0r 6th spot.

  • Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqui on December 17, 2008, 21:31 GMT

    I think give two or three more series to him before his retirement as he one of the best player of his time. If again he will not perform then he should take rest for four to five months and after that then re-start. He batting average is still more than 50 but it is decreasing day by day. Only four players in the world score more than 10,000 runs in both form of cricket and he is also included in them. He has also scored near to 20,000 runs in first class cricket as well with batting average more than 55 and more than 50 hundreds and with more than 100 half centuries. He is one of the best defensive player that we have ever seen. He is like a wall. In previous years, he achieved too much that's why he is now not performing well. From last two years, his performance is not good as he proved in previous years. He scored 8553 runs in 100 test matches and Tendulkar scored 8405 runs in same test matches. At that time mostly people were thinking that he is even better than Tendulkar.

  • Sandeep D. on December 17, 2008, 18:45 GMT

    It is easy to get lost in the batting carnage that Shewag, Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh regularly put up on the Indian pitches. Batting certainly looks easy. Dravid IS and will always be a rock in this Indian team. Overseas, in conditions where you do require a very good technique and patience is a great virtue to have, batsmen like Dravid are priceless. Definately he is going through a slump right now but I dont' believe agression is the answer. Any Batsman has to rely on the basics that makes up his batting. Gavaskar always had the hook shot in his armour it is just that he decided to use it against the Windies. Shewag always has been an agressive cricketer. I am sure there are other cricketers who got out of their slump in a normal way. You have to rely on the shots that make up your batting. Spending as much time as possible in the middle without putting pressure on oneself is one answer. Maybe taking some time off and re-discovering the fun part of playing Cricket is another option.

  • mahesh on December 17, 2008, 12:09 GMT

    Whenever it is the right moment for a right decision, hero worship and emotionalism interfers in loads in India. Why is dravid having to open a big sacrifice? Sehwag had never opened before, when he took up test opening and flourished. If dravid is the greatest, why is it a burden for him? And what pressure is he in at no.3 now? the daredevils have been giving india solid starts innings after innings ..100+ at 5+ RR ..what pressure is he walking into at no.3 ??????

  • mahesh on December 17, 2008, 12:02 GMT

    For a batsman defence and attack are two weapons like. Both are essential to survive as a batsman. dravid too much relies on defence, even when it is not working for him. Perhaps he should try to attack the ball a bit which surely gets him confidence. The batting order even is not suiting him. He is playing in one down where a batsman needs to attack a bit. He is allowing the opposition bowlers to get on top with his "negative" approach. I can see the batsman at the other end also feel pressure when he bats.

    He can come down the order where the batsmen can take time to frustrate the bowlers. He needs to play a bit more attacking cricket when he plays 1 down. It is not worth to stick around with his dismal form. If there is any cricket left in him, he should come up with a good knock. Otherwise he has to loose his place in the team.

  • Mohsin Khan on December 24, 2008, 7:36 GMT

    The best defensive player of this century is Dravid and the beauty of his game is that he is more effective at opponents' homes as compare to his country. He scored 10 centuries in his country as well it means that he is also effective at his home too. He has such a major slump in his career and now he is recovering from it. He has a problem of form only otherwise his reflexes are ok even at this age where players are thinking of retirement. In my opinion he has two more years left in him and he is one of the best batsman among his contemporaries like Lara, Tendulkar, Ponting and others. He should try to reach 30 centuries in test matches for which he needs only four more hundreds. He can easily score 12000 or more runs in test cricket as currently he has scored 10509 runs. This year he has scored more than 800 runs which is also good but not according to his class. One more record that he has in test cricket is that he has scored double hundreds against five different test countries.

  • Omair Siddiqui on December 19, 2008, 12:07 GMT

    Today he has scored another fifty after this major slump in his career. His class is permanent, no doubt about it as his defense is marvellous. He scored 50 or more 79th times in his career it shows that he is consistent batsman. We may easily include him in the best five batsmen of this decade. Although his average was near to 60 and it is now just more than 50, but still he has a potential to prove himself in test cricket. I think he has two or more years remaining in him for this big version. Their batting line comprises of Tendulkar, Sehwag, Laxman and also Dravid make them best batting line among all others team in recent years. Emerging of Gambhir in test is also another plus point for them. Dravid is defensive player and Sehwag is aggressive and Tendulkar according to situation build variation (different talents in same team) in their batting.

  • Nikhil Sud on December 19, 2008, 10:59 GMT

    Interesting to read all above. Most who have commented negetively -- it seems don't know first hand what batting at No:3 is all about and what Rahul brings to Indian team. Sure all detractors have been proved wrong with his 1st innings at Mohali . But world as it is today with media whipping up emotions and silly politics alike Rahuls fans and cricket connosuiers alike will always be proud of a gentleman and perfect cricketer to have graced our team and look forward to more from his bat. Hopefully likes of former chairman of selectors Vengsarkar and his friends will regret speaking about such great cricketers too early. Else they can take shelter saying media forced them to say it.

  • Zeeshan Ahmed on December 19, 2008, 6:02 GMT

    At this stage of his career, he has such a major slump in it as his batting average is decreasing day by day from 58.75 to 52.12. Among his contempraries, he is one of the best batsman. He is one of the best defensive player as he played near to 25000 balls in test cricket. His first class career is also excellent as he scored near to 20,000 with batting average 55.21. His team is very lucky as they have Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag and Laxman in their batting line and now one more addition of Gambhir as well. Only three Asian players have scored 10,000 or more in test cricket and he is also included in them. His overall performance against all test playing nation is very good like his combine average against West Indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh is 75.9 and against S. Africa only little bit soft that is 36.51 which is even not bad. He should take rest for few months and try to regain his form and then come back to build any massive inning for his full confidence.

  • Zara Khan on December 18, 2008, 11:48 GMT

    I think he should take some rest and regain his form in first class cricket and then come back to big version. He is out of form but his class is permanent as form is temporary. In Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Dravid who is the no. 1 batsmen of them. It is a question which mostly people ask. In my opinion, no. 1 is Gavaskar then Tendulkar and then Dravid. Gavaskar is classical batsman with perfect front foot as well as back foot. He scored 13 centuries against W. Indies and also his batting average is near to 60 in 4th inning with highest score 221. Any how give some rest to Dravid as he has only scored 25 century yet now and I think that he should score 30 century in test matches with eight double hundreds. His batting average is more at opponents' homes as compare to his own country that is 56.62 as compare to 46.78. One more solution is that take rest and then re-start again any weak team so that he can improve his confidence by building any massive inning against them.

  • mahesh on December 18, 2008, 2:00 GMT

    In test or ODI number 3 spot is so crutial. If first wicket falls early, it is responsibility of one down batsman to stabilise the innings but not to take off the momentum of the innings. In any form of cricket top three positions are important. In the first innings of chennai test we see the batting collapsed when first wicket fall early. It would be better an inform batsman like laxman or dhoni or perhaps sachin can come in one down. The pressure mounts when first wicket falls early and a batman like dravid is in the crease running poor form. Perhaps he can come at 5 0r 6th spot.

  • Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqui on December 17, 2008, 21:31 GMT

    I think give two or three more series to him before his retirement as he one of the best player of his time. If again he will not perform then he should take rest for four to five months and after that then re-start. He batting average is still more than 50 but it is decreasing day by day. Only four players in the world score more than 10,000 runs in both form of cricket and he is also included in them. He has also scored near to 20,000 runs in first class cricket as well with batting average more than 55 and more than 50 hundreds and with more than 100 half centuries. He is one of the best defensive player that we have ever seen. He is like a wall. In previous years, he achieved too much that's why he is now not performing well. From last two years, his performance is not good as he proved in previous years. He scored 8553 runs in 100 test matches and Tendulkar scored 8405 runs in same test matches. At that time mostly people were thinking that he is even better than Tendulkar.

  • Sandeep D. on December 17, 2008, 18:45 GMT

    It is easy to get lost in the batting carnage that Shewag, Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh regularly put up on the Indian pitches. Batting certainly looks easy. Dravid IS and will always be a rock in this Indian team. Overseas, in conditions where you do require a very good technique and patience is a great virtue to have, batsmen like Dravid are priceless. Definately he is going through a slump right now but I dont' believe agression is the answer. Any Batsman has to rely on the basics that makes up his batting. Gavaskar always had the hook shot in his armour it is just that he decided to use it against the Windies. Shewag always has been an agressive cricketer. I am sure there are other cricketers who got out of their slump in a normal way. You have to rely on the shots that make up your batting. Spending as much time as possible in the middle without putting pressure on oneself is one answer. Maybe taking some time off and re-discovering the fun part of playing Cricket is another option.

  • mahesh on December 17, 2008, 12:09 GMT

    Whenever it is the right moment for a right decision, hero worship and emotionalism interfers in loads in India. Why is dravid having to open a big sacrifice? Sehwag had never opened before, when he took up test opening and flourished. If dravid is the greatest, why is it a burden for him? And what pressure is he in at no.3 now? the daredevils have been giving india solid starts innings after innings ..100+ at 5+ RR ..what pressure is he walking into at no.3 ??????

  • mahesh on December 17, 2008, 12:02 GMT

    For a batsman defence and attack are two weapons like. Both are essential to survive as a batsman. dravid too much relies on defence, even when it is not working for him. Perhaps he should try to attack the ball a bit which surely gets him confidence. The batting order even is not suiting him. He is playing in one down where a batsman needs to attack a bit. He is allowing the opposition bowlers to get on top with his "negative" approach. I can see the batsman at the other end also feel pressure when he bats.

    He can come down the order where the batsmen can take time to frustrate the bowlers. He needs to play a bit more attacking cricket when he plays 1 down. It is not worth to stick around with his dismal form. If there is any cricket left in him, he should come up with a good knock. Otherwise he has to loose his place in the team.

  • Madan on December 17, 2008, 8:40 GMT

    If this is your defence, it is at best sentimental...Rahul is one of our modern greats, so give him time till infinity to recover his form...by which time hopefully he will retire! No individual is greater than the game, Michael. And Dravid's slump has nothing to do with the modern game punishing his old school ways...remember, he adapted very successfully to ODI cricket. He is jut not batting with any confidence. Did you see Ponting get out to Ntini today...pushing tentatively at a half volley that was there to be hit? That's what Dravid's going through, he is unsure about his shot selection to the point that he neither occupies the crease for long periods nor gets runs during his stay. He made a brisk 93 earlier this year in Perth and if he can only persuade himself to bat like that all the time, he will be alright. And if he can't do that sooner than later, he must make way for the new order. It should not be said of Dravid that he stood in the way of deserving talent.

  • Ritadhi Chakravarti on December 17, 2008, 6:46 GMT

    I think it is essential that Rahul Dravid bats at No. 5 or 6 in the forthcoming Mohali Test. I think the troubled times with Greg Chappell, the slump of ODI form from the West Indies tour (India failed to make it to 2006 Champions Trophy semis) and the 2007 World Cup debacle took a serious mental toll of Dravid. Even so, he has been the one taken on the hard responsibilities and even went out to open in Australia (which I think made matters worse) to have Yuvraj in the side. I think it is high time the Indian team supports this great servant of Indian cricket by allowing him to bat on a 320/4 platform with recognised batsman to follow and take the pressure off him, allowing him to bat with greater freedom. We basically need a repeat of Gavaskar's century in Delhi, 1984, where he came out of a slump hooking against Marshall and co. Dravid needs to play freely without a thought and it is here Captain Dhoni and the rest of the team needs to rally behind this great player.

  • Abhijit on December 17, 2008, 6:25 GMT

    I think its now the responsibility of Gary Kirsten to solve Dravid's problem. He as a coach has to take up this situation as a challenge and work hard on Rahul Dravid. If he fails, people are going to blame Dravid anyway. But if he succeeds, he will be known as a special coach who has actually made a difference to the team and its players.

  • Praveen on December 17, 2008, 0:21 GMT

    Dravid has been struggling for close to 2 years. He will be 36 next month. Even if he had been in good form over the past couple of years it would have been good bye time for him. He has achieved a lot and has nothing left to prove. Sure, he wants to prove that he still has it to play at the highest level, but unfortunately his form has totally deserted him. The silver lining in all this is that now there is no dilemma of "what will happen when Dravid retires?". A couple of years ago it was unfathomable to think of an Indian test team without Dravid. Now Dravid is a mere passenger being carried by the rest of the batting line up. Dravid and his fans must be comforted that if he leaves now, he will be leaving with the Indian team in the best shape that it has been. There is no void to fill if leaves now. Regardless of what he does hereafter and when he leaves, Dravid will be remembered as one of the modern day greats of the game.

  • Madan on December 16, 2008, 21:33 GMT

    I have followed Rahul's career right from his Under 19,Ranji trophy days to the current "lean" patch he is going through. Over the last few years, we have seen Mr.Consistent score runs all over the world and have taken it for granted that it will continue forever. Suddenly, the reality( he is human after all and is bound to fail at some time)is hard to believe or even come to terms with for many of us.In fact,even against Australia, his dismissals were un-Dravid like. So the question is: " Is it all in the mind for the "mentally toughest" (as described by Steve Waugh)cricketer in the world?.I for one feel it is a combination of some"loose" cricket from Dravid,pressure from all quarters and his own high standards set over a decade. I feel that irrespective of where he bats, at 3 or 5, it is all in the mind of this great batsman.

    I believe that he will come back strong at Mohali and will probably go out on a high. He for one deserves to go out on his terms rather than being pushed out.

  • Michael Jeh on December 16, 2008, 3:13 GMT

    Reading the comments above, I get this real sense of affection and genuine love for Rahul Dravid from his Indian fans. Rest assured though thaat it's not just Indians who admire him. I've always enjoyed his elegant technique but most of all, I have always felt that he is a man of immense stature and character. Like Kumble, here is a gentleman in the true sense of the word - hard as nails but gentle too. Sport needs more people with these qualities so I hope that when Dravid eventually goes, his legacy will live on. On a cricketing front though, if he does get another chance in Mohali, he needs to shed his inhibitions and play with freedom. No point just stonewalling until a good ball gets him - he needs to change momentum by attacking the bowling and forcing the bowlers to think again. At the moment, he is trapped on the crease and just waiting for that inevitable good ball to get him.

  • Dorwin on December 16, 2008, 3:07 GMT

    Dravid is one of the finest cricketers ever produced by India. As far as his form is concerned, Rahul knows exactly how he has been performing over the past few months. Every cricketer goes through a lean patch but we all know rahuls potential. I wouldn't be suprised if he came back in this very series. As for retirement, it's a decision that should be left to him. I see another couple of years of cricket for dravid as there is no player in our current line-up to replace him. I wish him the best of luck!

  • C. K. Rajendran on December 16, 2008, 0:47 GMT

    Rahul's stars failed him from the day he abandoned captaincy in England. What is left is announcing retirement before the selection commitee discard him. Thank you rahul for the entertainment u gave me with bat, gloves n words at meetings.

  • C. K. Rajendran on December 16, 2008, 0:47 GMT

    Rahul's stars failed him from the day he abandoned captaincy in England. What is left is announcing retirement before the selection commitee discard him. Thank you rahul for the entertainment u gave me with bat, gloves n words at meetings.

  • C. K. Rajendran on December 16, 2008, 0:42 GMT

    Every good thing has an end, Rahul Dravid's cricket too. We Indians blame stars for that. When Rahul began thinking about abadoning captaincy in England, it started and he never ever recovered. There are guys to take over but, lets give this guy who gave us honour and pride with his bat, gloves and captaincy be ther till an honourable sent off is possible preferably by announcing retirement self.

  • C. K. Rajendran on December 16, 2008, 0:41 GMT

    Every good thing has an end, Rahul Dravid's cricket too. We Indians blame stars for that. When Rahul began thinking about abadoning captaincy in England, it started and he never ever recovered. There are guys to take over but, lets give this guy who gave us honour and pride with his bat, gloves and captaincy be ther till an honourable sent off is possible preferably by announcing retirement self.

  • J. Mukerjea on December 16, 2008, 0:19 GMT

    Series in England, Australia, Sri Lanka, and now two back-to-back series on home turf - Dravid has just been a pedestrian. How long more would BCCI/Indian Selectors carry Rahul Dravid? One poor series in Sri Lanka - no different from Tendulkar's and Dravid's - and an inquisition of Ganguly. Why this glaring double standard? Show Rahul the door, please. We would remember his past glories.

  • sportsfan on December 15, 2008, 22:00 GMT

    it is a pity that dravid did not retire at least a year ago. his test batting average for the last 18 months in 23 tests is 28. even zimbabwe and bangladesh would have dropped him from their sides with this kind of performance! Yes. he has done india proud in numerous occassions in the past. now he is a dead weight the rest of the team has to carry. india effectively playing with 10 men now. if india want to be at the top, they have to play with eleven men. if dravid had scored fifty runs in the second innings of this chennai test, india would have lost or at best drawn the match as he would have consumed over 200 balls in scoring fifty. that would have put pressure on the other batsmen to score fast; and as a result get out cheaply. sorry rahul, you got to go now. thanks for all your wonderful contributions to indian cricket in the past.

  • Rajendra Pejavar on December 15, 2008, 19:01 GMT

    Michael's last sentence said it all and it happened again today... but I am confident that Dhoni has full faith in him and will not disturb this winning combination, albeit with no contribution from the 'great wall' and mark my words, he will come back with a bang in Mohali... Here's to the Great Wall of Indian Cricket... go for it Jimmy, you can do it! Cheers...

  • Rajendra Pejavar on December 15, 2008, 19:00 GMT

    Michael's last sentence said it all and it happened again today... but I am confident that Dhoni has full faith in him and will not disturb this winning combination, albeit with no contribution from the 'great wall' and mark my words, he will come back with a bang in Mohali... Here's to the Great Wall of Indian Cricket... go for it Jimmy, you can do it! Cheers...

  • Rajdeep Chana on December 15, 2008, 18:38 GMT

    i believe that dravid should be kept in the indian test team hes a great batter and needs a few more chances to find form and if he does hell once again be one of the feared batsmen in the world and if he doesnt find his form soon he would have to call it a day.

  • Tushar on December 15, 2008, 18:02 GMT

    ohh its time Rahul should be given some break like da 1 given to ganguly at one moment... he needs to sit back home and relax.. bring in badrinath, pujara, kohli or any other young guy... call dravid back 4 a foriegn tour, in india give chance to youngsters...

  • Arun on December 15, 2008, 15:44 GMT

    I was at the match too today and was a bit late. I would've missed Dravid's innings had I been caught up even for a couple more minutes, which is one of the saddest sentences I've written this year. After the 4th day's play, my friend and I were discussing how to come to the 5th day when we joked how we better make sure we be there on time, because Dravid might not hang around too long. It's quite sickening to see him like this. This is not the Dravid we know, arguably India's greatest matchwinner. Peter Roebuck nailed it when he said Dravid's decline has surprised many in the game. So true. Maybe many of us are struggling to relate terms like 'decline' and 'uncertainty' to Dravid. To DRAVID. I hope to God he goes out on a high, he's earned it.

  • mahesh on December 15, 2008, 12:59 GMT

    Dravid's percieved strengths are pretty much pat of his problems too. "long hours of conecentration", "solid defence" etc can be good side skills, but the main skill is got to be the stroke play, which he has been made to forget by the "wall skill" worships. The problem is, with his strike rate, even if he makes a big score now, he cannot influence a result. His agony is amplified by the fact that he immediately follows the daredevil opening pair, which scores at 120% SR consistently and his 30% SR is most times seen as a momentum sucker!

  • mah on December 15, 2008, 12:59 GMT

    Dravid's percieved strengths are pretty much pat of his problems too. "long hours of conecentration", "solid defence" etc can be good side skills, but the main skill is got to be the stroke play, which he has been made to forget by the "wall skill" worships. The problem is, with his strike rate, even if he makes a big score now, he cannot influence a result. His agony is amplified by the fact that he immediately follows the daredevil opening pair, which scores at 120% SR consistently and his 30% SR is most times seen as a momentum sucker!

  • Rajan Viswanathan on December 15, 2008, 12:41 GMT

    They say Rahul never really liked being called "the Wall" of Indian cricket. But looking at him play the way he is I am sure he must be yearning to recreate the wall of invincibility around him which prompted the fraternity to give him the nick name. I have been one of greatest admirers of Rahul Dravid since the time he made his way back into the one day side and went on to score the 10000th run. I had a lump in my throat when he nicked the ball to the keeper this morning. He almost left me with the feeling that we may not see much of him in coming days. Why continued to bat at no. 3 was also baffling. But team man that he is he would have put his hand up when someone had to play those odd minutes before close of 4th day. For every fan's sake I hope he will have all the luck in the 2nd test and will have the opportunity to leave the hall of fame with a last hurrah. Good Luck, Rahul, Indian cricket will always love you.

  • Ravi Subramanian on December 15, 2008, 11:44 GMT

    All through my life, i have admired two great cricketers.... first it was Ravi Shastri and in the late nineties it was Dravid. In the intervening period 1992 -1996 my interest levels waned. Seeing Dravid going through the worst slump of his career.. is tragic for me. They say form is temporaray but class is permanent. But the way Dravid is batting these days, it seems that form is permanent in thecase of Dravid. Dravid has achieved a lot in his cricketing career. He is too valuable for all of us. My worry is that by continuing to play he is doing more damage to his greatness. He should retire and walk away with his head held high. His place in the history of indian cricket is assured. He is one of the greats.... if not the greatest

  • saurabh somani on December 15, 2008, 9:54 GMT

    i'd written a piece on rahul dravid before the start of the test series here: http://blinkandumissit.blogspot.com/ as michael says, dravid has earned himself millions of fans for the way he has conducted himself and the way he has played his cricket. irrespective of whether he goes out with a bang or a whimper, nothing can take away from his stunning contributions to indian cricket. here's wishing him a century in the second test!

  • krishku on December 15, 2008, 6:54 GMT

    I have afeeling that the recent slump in Dravid's form started with his stint of captaincy. From what I could gather from various bits and pieces of news and articles, he was fighting with problems of different kinds, and being a perfect gentleman, keeping all the emotions and tensions to himself. Probably some of those deamons are still not exorcised fully and plaguing him every now and then. And a series of failures is the last thing that one wants in this situation. It is probaly forming a visious circle, the mental strain causing failure and the failure aggrevates the strain. I still beleive that a couple of good knocks will do him a lot good, but the sad thing is that is is not happening yet. He is my favourite cricker, and I feel really sad when each of the innings ends up without fullfilling the promise. Wishing him good luck for Mohali and thereafter. Good luck, mate.

  • Sammy on December 15, 2008, 6:43 GMT

    Once again Dravid failed to get a good knock. Just because of one reason, that he is not playing for the team now, the way he used to play before.

  • Rakesh on December 15, 2008, 6:39 GMT

    Rahul Dravid has lost his wicket this morning without touching double digits. But I hope he will be given another chance in the next test to resurrect his career. That way Cricket in its truest form, where bat and ball are equal, will get another chance to stand up against todays's mindless cricket, which is all about turning bowlers into hapless victims in the name of entertainment. Dravid and by extension good old cricket deserves another chance.

  • Kartik on December 15, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    He only scored 4. If he had scored even 40, he would have helped save or win the match, and bought himself a lifeline. 40 would have done it, but he could not make 40.

    The problem is, he still needs 2 catches to equal Mark Waugh's record. No Indian has ever held this record before, but it looks like Dravid will have to retire without the catching record.

  • Mihir on December 15, 2008, 6:16 GMT

    Dravid has been given a long rope and he has reached the very end of it. Rather, Ganguly should have been retained and it was Dravid who should have been shown the door. At-least one could expect a fighting 40-50 from Ganguly and unflattering role as a supporting player to the young ones in the team. Bye Rahul, you have done us proud in the past, but now is the time to hang up the boots, sip a cold beer and pat yourself in the back for job well done.

  • pd on December 15, 2008, 6:10 GMT

    His game has been on the decline for more than a year. I do not think a batsman of Dravid's class could be out of form for that long a period. Obviously, his reflexes and age has to do with it. Otherwise, how can he be dropping the regulation catches at slip these days? I think he should gracefully retire and let one of the youngsters fill in his slot.

  • ARIJIT DASGUPTA on December 15, 2008, 6:10 GMT

    Rahul,alongwith Sachin and Saurav, have not only been three of the greatest ever servants of Indian cricket, they have also been great ambassadors of the game. Together, they made every Indian dream. They have given us countless moments to cherish. It is really sad to see the Wall collapse in his last days of fame. He has been the greatest Test batsman in his prime and given time, he will, surely, get back to his run scoring ways. However, the manner he has been getting out recently has been really disheartening. Rather than facing further indignation, I think its time for him to walk out of the green, one last time. We want to remember the scoreboard reading "Rahul Dravid 241*", not "Dravid out for 4". Take the bold step Rahul! Go when the sun is still shining!

  • sd on December 15, 2008, 6:07 GMT

    His game has been on the decline for more than a year. I do not think a batsman of Dravid's class could be out of form for that long a period. Obviously, his reflexes and age has to do with it. Otherwise, how can he be dropping the regulation catches at slip these days? I think he should gracefully retire and let one of the youngsters fill in his slot.

  • Sharan B on December 15, 2008, 5:13 GMT

    Hi Raul dravid going through the lean patch.The only way to bring him back to form is by giving some more chances.

    Heis a great batsman ,but the luck is not in his favour at the moment.

    Selectors sould keep in mind that e is very muc capable of coming back to form wit bang.

  • Subramani on December 15, 2008, 4:34 GMT

    I write this just after Rahu Dravid got out yet again without paying the innings all his admirers and well wishers had been praying for. I feel very sad for this great player and refuse even now to believe that the ravages of time have diminished his abilities at the international level. I may sound too hopeful for the many knives that are out for this pedigreed sportsman. Perhaps as you say he needs to play an attacking game to cause the bowlers,not all of them too accomplished yet, to think of him as easy meat. It is likely that Dhoni has been wrong in persisting with him at No 3 in the batting order, possibly in his desire to tell Rahul that his confidence in him remains undented despite the list of failures. The innings against Australia in Kolkotta in 2001 was at a time when questions were being asked about his inclusion in the team. After that epic, came the big phase when he contributed in no smal measure to India's ability to play abroad. I think he must play in Mohali.

  • gom on December 15, 2008, 4:09 GMT

    It is not Rahul Dravid's forte that he can hit everything that is thrown at him much as the way Sehwag can not play a 'jamaica' innings. So it is not fair to say that Rahul should hit out of his form slump with a slam-bang knock. Even when the game becomes modern, I beleive there should be of mix of grafters, stroke makers, finishers for a good balance. After all, in a test match draw ia also an imprtant form of result. You should be able to draw the game when in a situation of losing. In fact, that is winning.

  • Avi Singh on December 15, 2008, 3:11 GMT

    To all the naysayers, Team India is far better off with Rahul Dravid, a selfless team man who has opened the batting and even kept wicket when necessary, than with any of the flashy upstarts in the ODI team. I have faith in you Jammy, and no matter what happens today, you have done India proud!!

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  • Avi Singh on December 15, 2008, 3:11 GMT

    To all the naysayers, Team India is far better off with Rahul Dravid, a selfless team man who has opened the batting and even kept wicket when necessary, than with any of the flashy upstarts in the ODI team. I have faith in you Jammy, and no matter what happens today, you have done India proud!!

  • gom on December 15, 2008, 4:09 GMT

    It is not Rahul Dravid's forte that he can hit everything that is thrown at him much as the way Sehwag can not play a 'jamaica' innings. So it is not fair to say that Rahul should hit out of his form slump with a slam-bang knock. Even when the game becomes modern, I beleive there should be of mix of grafters, stroke makers, finishers for a good balance. After all, in a test match draw ia also an imprtant form of result. You should be able to draw the game when in a situation of losing. In fact, that is winning.

  • Subramani on December 15, 2008, 4:34 GMT

    I write this just after Rahu Dravid got out yet again without paying the innings all his admirers and well wishers had been praying for. I feel very sad for this great player and refuse even now to believe that the ravages of time have diminished his abilities at the international level. I may sound too hopeful for the many knives that are out for this pedigreed sportsman. Perhaps as you say he needs to play an attacking game to cause the bowlers,not all of them too accomplished yet, to think of him as easy meat. It is likely that Dhoni has been wrong in persisting with him at No 3 in the batting order, possibly in his desire to tell Rahul that his confidence in him remains undented despite the list of failures. The innings against Australia in Kolkotta in 2001 was at a time when questions were being asked about his inclusion in the team. After that epic, came the big phase when he contributed in no smal measure to India's ability to play abroad. I think he must play in Mohali.

  • Sharan B on December 15, 2008, 5:13 GMT

    Hi Raul dravid going through the lean patch.The only way to bring him back to form is by giving some more chances.

    Heis a great batsman ,but the luck is not in his favour at the moment.

    Selectors sould keep in mind that e is very muc capable of coming back to form wit bang.

  • sd on December 15, 2008, 6:07 GMT

    His game has been on the decline for more than a year. I do not think a batsman of Dravid's class could be out of form for that long a period. Obviously, his reflexes and age has to do with it. Otherwise, how can he be dropping the regulation catches at slip these days? I think he should gracefully retire and let one of the youngsters fill in his slot.

  • ARIJIT DASGUPTA on December 15, 2008, 6:10 GMT

    Rahul,alongwith Sachin and Saurav, have not only been three of the greatest ever servants of Indian cricket, they have also been great ambassadors of the game. Together, they made every Indian dream. They have given us countless moments to cherish. It is really sad to see the Wall collapse in his last days of fame. He has been the greatest Test batsman in his prime and given time, he will, surely, get back to his run scoring ways. However, the manner he has been getting out recently has been really disheartening. Rather than facing further indignation, I think its time for him to walk out of the green, one last time. We want to remember the scoreboard reading "Rahul Dravid 241*", not "Dravid out for 4". Take the bold step Rahul! Go when the sun is still shining!

  • pd on December 15, 2008, 6:10 GMT

    His game has been on the decline for more than a year. I do not think a batsman of Dravid's class could be out of form for that long a period. Obviously, his reflexes and age has to do with it. Otherwise, how can he be dropping the regulation catches at slip these days? I think he should gracefully retire and let one of the youngsters fill in his slot.

  • Mihir on December 15, 2008, 6:16 GMT

    Dravid has been given a long rope and he has reached the very end of it. Rather, Ganguly should have been retained and it was Dravid who should have been shown the door. At-least one could expect a fighting 40-50 from Ganguly and unflattering role as a supporting player to the young ones in the team. Bye Rahul, you have done us proud in the past, but now is the time to hang up the boots, sip a cold beer and pat yourself in the back for job well done.

  • Kartik on December 15, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    He only scored 4. If he had scored even 40, he would have helped save or win the match, and bought himself a lifeline. 40 would have done it, but he could not make 40.

    The problem is, he still needs 2 catches to equal Mark Waugh's record. No Indian has ever held this record before, but it looks like Dravid will have to retire without the catching record.

  • Rakesh on December 15, 2008, 6:39 GMT

    Rahul Dravid has lost his wicket this morning without touching double digits. But I hope he will be given another chance in the next test to resurrect his career. That way Cricket in its truest form, where bat and ball are equal, will get another chance to stand up against todays's mindless cricket, which is all about turning bowlers into hapless victims in the name of entertainment. Dravid and by extension good old cricket deserves another chance.