November 17, 2009

Ranji Trophy, 2009-10

Watching the Wall

Aakash Chopra
Rahul Dravid drives through point, Karnataka v Himachal Pradesh, Ranji Trophy Super League, Group A, 2nd round, 1st day, Bangalore, November 15, 2007
 © AFP
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Hello folks

I wasn’t too far off from the reality when I wrote that the presence of players like VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid has a mesmerising effect on the players, especially the youngsters. In our recently concluded match against Karnataka, Dravid scored 78 on a difficult pitch. He, as usual, made batting look easy, which left most of us awestruck.

The ball was darting around, and everyone was getting beaten at least a couple of times every over. But here was Dravid, always taking a long stride forward to the balls that were pitched up, and then either playing with the sweetest spot of the bat or allowing it go to the keeper. One of us would ask the keeper if the ball had stopped moving, but the answer would always be that Dravid is just making it look like that.

Our bowlers rarely bowled a bad ball to any of the Karnataka batsmen - except Dravid. Somehow bowlers kept dishing out half-volleys regularly. Obviously it wasn’t going down well with our team because he kept dispatching them to the fence. But I knew that it was very difficult to keep all your faculties under control when someone you have always admired is standing only a few meters away.

Bowlers were seen trying to bowl “wicket-taking” deliveries, which of course is never easy. While our strategy was to stick to the basics, bowl in good areas and have patience, it was only human to think that it would perhaps take an extraordinary ball to dismiss The Wall.

We even thought we would tell Dravid that if he got beaten twice off the same bowler, he should treat it as getting out and must walk back to the pavilion. One of our bowlers even told the umpire after an unsuccessful appeal for a leg-before decision that “if he’s managed to breach the defence to hit the pads, he should be given out regardless of the fact that it was sliding down the leg side”.

And when he eventually got out, the celebration was worth watching. A look at the bowler was enough to tell you that he had just earned himself the lifetime bragging rights of telling his parents, friends and kids that he dismissed Rahul Dravid.

Fans will always be fans and admire almost everything about the person they are in awe of. One such batsman described his emotions after he nicked one to Dravid standing in first slip. He said, “The moment I saw the ball heading in Rahul’s direction, I started walking back. He has hands as big as a bucket.” To that someone added that when Dravid takes a catch you can’t even hear the voice of the ball hitting the hands. Another person said, “He makes the act look so simple, while we begin to feel edgy the moment we see the ball heading our way, especially in the slips for a fast bowler.”

Obviously we, the Delhi Squad, didn’t make our emotions visible to him because that would have meant disaster for our team. Still that didn’t stop us from enjoying the moments we spent is his company.

Cheers

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

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Posted by Mahadeva Chandra on (January 5, 2010, 13:03 GMT)

John Wright summed up the value of this great batsman. Asked to choose the top 5 batsmen he would like to have in his team, his response was R.Dravid, R.Dravid, R.Dravid, R.Dravid, R.Dravid. :-)

Posted by Sunil on (December 18, 2009, 7:42 GMT)

There are no words to explain about this legend. SImply we can say "THE WALL" of Indian Cricket.

Keep going Dravid ! All the Best.

Thanks, Sunil

Posted by Praveen Gangula on (December 18, 2009, 6:17 GMT)

Really i agree with what akash has said. Rahul was much better player than sachin.He was not at all selfish and a perfect team man . you can find a replacement for sachin but it is highly impossible to get a replacement for dravid.

Posted by abhis on (December 18, 2009, 6:01 GMT)

he is one of the great player in the world

Posted by maddy on (November 25, 2009, 16:55 GMT)

really dravid is great plyer once agin what he is by scoring continous two 100's .......wall can not be broken.....

Posted by vignesh on (November 25, 2009, 8:26 GMT)

I never thought that mr.reliable is not only the best test batsman but also a great one day player and a great t20 player too...if any one have any doubt u guys go through the one day history what he possesed...what a gentleman india has..as a indian i m very much proud of having dravid as my role model..i hope u toooooo...

Posted by vignesh on (November 25, 2009, 8:15 GMT)

I read all the comments posted by u guys..its 100 per true that a champion like my dravid has not got any reward even from media(then how can he get attention the selection panel)...even he is more consistent n techniquely strong than any other batsman in cricket arena...he took just 13 years to hold as many records he has..i hope hereafter the entire attention on my lovable dravid only so that we would see him in ODI soon...he is the true legend n suitable role model for all of u...

Posted by Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqui on (November 24, 2009, 6:50 GMT)

Who is the best batsman, either it is Dravid or Tendulkar. From runs point of view, there is no difference between both players. When Dravid will play 263 innings, he will score near to 12400 runs in test cricket.

From my personal oberservation, you may not agree with it is that Dravid has better quality of century as compare to him. He scored 177 runs against Sri Lanka but from which position he took the inning to which position is important.

Another factor is that Tendulkar has scored 10 centuries in 55 innings against Australia as compare to his 2 century in 50 innings. He scored 6 centuries in 30 innings in Australia and Dravid only one in 24 innings. In this portion Tendulkar is better.

Home versus away record of both players are excellent but Dravid away record is better than home. So he is better in this point.

So in my opinion, it is very difficult to judge excat who is better as both players have different qualities as compare to each other.

Posted by Rahul singh on (November 22, 2009, 23:14 GMT)

How much more dravid have to do for team india so that he get his due?since 1996 he is bailing out his team from trouble.dhoni is commenting dat dravids fielding is not gud,then how he has taken those 186 catches in tests n 195 in odi?sachin and saurav has always ovesshadowed dravid but now slowly everyone is realising dat dravid is indias best test batsman of all time.whole nation is with u RD.u keep on playing those classy shots n keep on entertaining us.we want a triple century frm u.fuck off dat sachin dhoni yuvi biased media n carry on wid gud work.gud luck rahul

Posted by J. Johnson on (November 21, 2009, 21:10 GMT)

As a South African, I have alwys admired Dravid as a true World Class performer. He is evergreen and a still a perfect role model for many of us in our club. Many of us feel, he has more class and style than the great Tendulkar. Dravid is a guarenteed Wall. Great watching him back in action.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra is the 245th Indian to represent India in Test cricket. A batsman in the traditional mould, he played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, and has played over 120 first-class matches. He currently plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; his book Beyond the Blues was an account of the 2007-08 season. Chopra made a formidable opening combination with Virender Sehwag, which was believed to be one of the reasons for India's success in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04. He is considered one of the best close-in fielders India has produced after Eknath Solkar.

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