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India v England, 1st Test, Chennai, 2nd day

Dravid's form beyond a slump

Rahul Dravid is a modern great but his goodwill account is depleting fast

Sambit Bal

December 12, 2008

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Rahul Dravid's run of poor scores has gone far beyond a slump and has now reached a dangerous flashpoint © Getty Images
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Margins always discriminate against batsmen struggling for form. Paul Collingwood, who didn't look like being able to buy a run yesterday, got a shocker from Billy Bowden, who must now rank as Collingwood's least favourite umpire. Rahul Dravid's case today was fuzzier. Daryl Harper wouldn't have been blamed had he adjudged him not-out leg before: Dravid was well forward, the ball was turning and it hit him around the knee roll. As David Lloyd, who has been a first-class umpire, said, quite likely it was out but could Harper be sure?

Dravid can look back to Sri Lanka, where he was twice given out to marginal lbw decisions by the review umpire and was once caught off the helmet of the fielder. But nothing, absolutely nothing, can hide the big picture: Dravid's run of poor scores has gone far beyond a slump and has now reached a dangerous flashpoint.

Dravid batted for 44 minutes and faced 24 balls today and, for academic interests, scored only three runs. Not once did he look secure and sure. Steve Harmison, all energy and vim, sped past his dangling bat; Andrew Flintoff hit the perfect length with his first ball and caught Dravid groping, then got him to poke at another short one a while later. The last one Dravid would have let go comfortably ten times out of ten. In between, he managed to tuck one behind square and tapped two more in front to squeeze out three furtive singles. There was neither a moment of authority nor a hint of promise.

Graeme Swann bowled him a good ball but who knows how Dravid would have played it had his feet been moving better and his mind been free of doubts. Another debutant offspinner had got him in the previous Test in Nagpur. Admittedly, it was the first ball Dravid was facing off Jason Krejza, but it was hardly a ripper and the edge was the consequence of a tentative prod.

When batsmen of great calibre hit a fallow spell, a turning point seems imminent. After all, skills don't run dry. In Dravid's case, there has been a sense of that for a while. Everyone has felt it - Dravid himself, his team-mates, his opponents, the selectors, and the fans - that it is merely a matter of one big innings. But what was once inevitable is now turning into desperate hope.

Dravid started the series against Australia with a half-century, a battling, Dravid-like effort on a slow pitch in Bangalore that kept alarmingly low on the third morning. But there followed a series of dismissals that were a combination of casualness and misfortune. In the second innings in Bangalore, he hit a full ball from Brett Lee to midwicket; in Mohali, where he looked confident and attractive, moments after chasing a wide ball, he aimed for another ambitious drive and ended up dragging the ball onto his stumps; in Delhi he chased a wide ball from Mitchell Johnson to slip and inside-edged a drive to the stumps. Only in the final innings in Nagpur did a deserving ball from Shane Watson - it swung in and deviated away off the pitch - get his edge.

Two inferences could be drawn from his performance against Australia, when he got in plenty of times and then got out. One, that he was batting well without the runs on the board (it happened to Sachin Tendulkar in Sri Lanka earlier this year). The other thought is more worrisome. The foundation of Dravid's batsmanship has been his immovability. Once he got in, it needed a great ball to get him out. Many of his recent dismissals have suggested a looseness, a certain wandering of the mind, traits not associated with Dravid. Stroke-players can sometimes fall prey to overconfidence but Dravid's career has been built on diligent adherence to the basics and an almost superhuman application of the mind. A deviation from these fundamentals can be inferred as a sign of decline.

 
 
Few other batsmen would have survived two successive poor years but it is right for Dravid to have been granted the allowance and the space. No one wants to see off a batsman of his pedigree and accomplishment in a hurry
 

And the decline can be traced to the tour of South Africa towards the end of 2006. Till then Dravid had scored more than 9000 runs at just under 59, an average that put him ahead of all his contemporaries. He then had 23 hundreds and 46 fifties, a ratio of 1:2. The 26 Tests since then have fetched him only 1320 runs at 30. Both his hundreds in this period have been nondescript, one against Bangladesh and other a 291-ball 111 against South Africa on a pitch where Virender Sehwag hit 319 off 304 balls.

In South Africa, Dravid batted hard and long - an 83-ball 32, a 58-ball 29 and a 134-ball 47 during which he was associated in a scoring freeze with Sachin Tendulkar that ultimately cost India the final Test and the series - without being able to make an impact, his first such failure in an away series in years. After this, the Dravid story has not been the same. Only one innings - a typically gritty 93 in Perth - could be said to have contributed substantially to a victory; there have been other odd contributions to partnerships but the security that India had been granted by him at No. 3 has not been available.

Few other batsmen would have survived two successive poor years but it is right for Dravid to have been granted the allowance and the space. No one wants to see off a batsman of his pedigree and accomplishment in a hurry.

Dravid has been a modern great: a colossal fighter, the hero of epic revivals and the architect of many famous triumphs. In the Indian batting pantheon, he stands firmly behind Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. And more than that, he has been a man of commitment, a wonderful teamman, and a sporting hero of impeccable bearing and manners. Such men sport needs to hold on to for every extra second possible.

However, sportsmen must ultimately stand and fall on their performances. The second innings will present Dravid with an opportunity to help save or win a Test. There would be no better time for the innings that he has been waiting for. It would be familiar territory. And it could be his moment of truth.

Sambit Bal is the editor of Cricinfo

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Posted by Tash7 on (December 18, 2008, 8:04 GMT)

Ever since I knew what cricket even was, Dravid has been my favorite player. As Jammy, 'The Wall', he was perhaps the most amazing player ever. It is devastating that he is currently in such miserable form. Since, he is a player of such extraordinary class, I strongly suspect that Dravid's slump is a result of psychological low self confidence. Definitely, the countless articles and commentators that never fail to comment on Dravid's 'lack of form' and 'ongoing slump'do nothing to boost his morale. He has always been a relatively aloof through his batting tenure, but lately, he is outright lonely. I have always seen Dravid furious when he gets out, but he still bore an endearing smile at the most times if not a look of intense concentration. Dravid is still my favorite player in terms of both skill and attitude and I have long mainatined that despite his batting form decline that he would bounce back. I certainly hope he does so in the next test. Come on Dravid!! We miss You!!

Posted by Rajesh. on (December 16, 2008, 17:32 GMT)

Rahul Dravid is just fighting the demons in his own mind... Otherwise there isn't much wrong with him. His skills haven't waned. And he is still one of the fittest around. The technical flaws, like feet not moving / bat not coming down in the arc are all due to the mind.... He should come good soon. Some may say that he has been given a long rope, but the he has earned that right over the years & that's why we need to give him the long rope......... But one thing that I have been noticing for the past couple of years is that Rahul is looking increasingly lonely and aloof since Greg Chappell left. Perhaps it was because Dravid believed in Chappell so much that he blindly supported his coach, unknowingly at times at the cost of his relationship with his own colleagues in the team. Something seems to be going on in his mind. The sooner he clears that from his mind the better for India....... Team India needs the great Rahul Dravid. After all, he is a once in a lifetime player !!

Posted by cricket_wins on (December 16, 2008, 5:34 GMT)

If recent performances are the judge, and India wants to retain its winning momentum, Dravid will do well to consult a sports psychologist, work hard in the nets, go back to Domestic cricket and County cricket, watch his videos, change his body language, sharpen his mind, and then come back. He is not so arrogant a player that he doesn't realise his slump in form. And he is made of sterner stuff than what his bat recently has shown. If his bat doesn't talk, whose does?

Posted by cricamateur on (December 13, 2008, 22:41 GMT)

Yes,Dravid is in a bad slump. Sambit Bal makes a nicely balanced analysis without judging a great player. Consider this: when Dravid stepped down from his successful stint as captain-which would guarantee his position in the team-to concentrate on batting, he was honest. But he did not foresee the inexplicable hostility from some media;The Times of India ran an article "The wall crumbles" for weeks on end. Vengsarkar,piqued at Dravid's proceedurally right decision to convey his stepping down to Pawar, took him out of the ODI team. Then,in IPL, Mallya publicly humiliated Dravid with his brashness instead of talking to him. Now we are questioning his place, while Ponting, Ganguly, Dhoni & Pieterson strongly back him. I suggest:leave it to experts like the Selectors & Dhoni, instead of stomping all over Dravid, demoralising him further, and destroying him for ever. How can we be so cruel as to force such a tragic end to such a classy player who has given us so many wins & so much joy?

Posted by rakesh_rai on (December 13, 2008, 17:28 GMT)

Regarding your comment "he stands firmly behind Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar"...Dravid may be behind Sunil Gavaskar but certainly he is ahead of Sachin amongst Indian batting greats. His contribution to victories is much more than Sachin. He had a big role in almost all Indian overseas victories - Australia (233,72*, 93), England (148), West Indies (91, 68), Pakistan (270). Sachin does not have any such role in victories.

As captain too, he managed away series victories against two decent sides - England and WI, something Ganguly could not do during his tenure. In fact Ganguly's away record as captain is 5 wins and 9 losses (if we exclude Bangladesh and Zimbabwe) and Dravid is 4 wins, 4 losses. And, we always say, Ganguly is India's best captain.

But, all said, he should announce his retirement sooner than later as it is embarrassing to watch him struggle against poor bowling attacks these days.

Posted by sskurupath on (December 13, 2008, 13:44 GMT)

What next? as much i have, like every1 else enjoyed Jammy become the Wall and in the process carve his name into the list of the greatest of indian batsman if not in the list of the greatest batsmen ever. The time has come to look towards is replacement at one down. For money it has to be a right hander for various reasons. it also needs to be some1 who can grind out an innings. in short v need some one exactly like the dravid of the old. as that wld take time i suggest kaif b given a chance. he has proved that he is resilent.

It is painfull to watch a great suffer like this and i think rather than be dropped he should call it a day as for us v wil always have memories like the innings in a low scorer in windies or facing upto donald. a double at oval...the list ofcourse goes on....

Posted by Srinivasan.G.N on (December 13, 2008, 13:38 GMT)

Believe it or not sometimes players do forget their basics! When a player score runs he will try to improvise to be more effective. In the process, he will succeed but the time when the player's momentum gets disturbed, everything will start going wrong for the one & the team. I've experienced it personally. The same is going on for One of the best batsman in the world i've ever seen. Actually, he needs a break from International cricket but unfortunately he doesn't have much time left in him to take a break & come back. Dada's superior performance after his one year break & Zak's return is the best example i could produce. But both, Dada & Zak, had time with them to come back, which Dravid doesn't have with him. Dravid has got a daunting task ahead. First, he has to get his basics right and the momentum with which he can score runs. Second, he has to sync with the momentum required by the New team India, which expects its team to score aggresively and win every match they play!!!

Posted by Neeta on (December 13, 2008, 11:18 GMT)

I find it quiet sad to see a player of calibre of Rahul Dravid going through such a long slump of form.His body language,interest level,confidence has come down all of asudden he relinquished captaincy.He shold retire gracefully from cricket like Ganguly and allow the likes of badrinaths,vijays,pujaras,rainas,sharmas,kaifs to take over his place.

Posted by davedave on (December 13, 2008, 11:10 GMT)

This is about Dravid fine but I was really wondering about some of the comments stating that he needs a break. In reality he is 36 so better retire after this series at least he will have a farewell. He is at his very worst for the last 2 years he has been given opportunity for 27 tests who will get that luxury? Can the previous managements shown any mercy to Ganguly not at all even when Dada's was firing for the last two years(barring Srilanka series) he was over looked by the selectors and Dravid was given again opportunity. He was certainly a great player no doubt but not anymore and I am not agreeing that he is a gentleman because he has yet to open his mouth about Chappell vs Ganguly issue because after all he was capataining India.

Posted by henchart on (December 13, 2008, 11:08 GMT)

If Dravid is struggling then he better be allowed to find form in domestic games instead of Test matches.Comments like one big innings from Dravid will change everything are laughable.He has been given a longer run than he deserves.What can you expect from mediocre cricketers turned selectors?Dravid will play till he is pushed out of the team.

Posted by maddy20 on (December 13, 2008, 10:26 GMT)

The prolonged form slump means only one thing. He has to retire. One fifty out of the last 19 innings at an average of 15. Harbhajan has done far better than that. To make things more worst for INDIA Harper has given hime out even though he was hit outside the line. I have seen Andrew Strauss given not out when he clearly edged the ball to Gambhir. Things are definitely not going India's way at the moment!

Posted by SRT_Jammy_Dada_VVS_and_Anil_legends on (December 13, 2008, 10:20 GMT)

We cannot throw a debutant in for the series in New Zealand, and it should be remembered that for 10 years from 1996 to 2006 Rahul Dravid was, along with Sachin, one of India's most consistent batsmen. There was no period within those 10 years where he was ever out of form. Thus the last 2 years have simply been making up for that fact, and because he has never had any slump, fate is dealing him an unkind hand. It should be remembered that Sachin and Sourav both had at least one trough during this timeframe. A player does not become bad overnight, and certainly not in the case of a great like Dravid. For those telling him to retire, it is like Rohit Brijnath said, you cannot expect him to suddenly decide to just give up when he has served this country with distinction and given far more to India than any of our useless politicians ever have. There has been more than enough articles on his slump. Now it is time 2 have the faith in Jammy 2 come good. I more than anyone else hope he does.

Posted by PBhanotha on (December 13, 2008, 10:01 GMT)

There us no doubt that Dravid is one of the best batsmen that India have ever had, but surely its time to let go. I can't remember the last good series he has had. The last 'great' match of Dravid was in India's tour of West Indies in 2006. In the fourth and final test match of the series, he managed to fight and get two fifties on a poor batting track. Not only this but he fought his side to victory in the series. Ever since the 1st of Jan 2007, he's got only two hundreds in test match cricket in 24 test matches. One of them was against Bangladesh and the other was against South Africa. This poor form is shown in the ODIs he has played since the World Cup. He hasn't got any hundreds and he has been dropped from the ODI side. Surely Dravid has sensed that he should have gone some time ago. I would say that he should have called it a day after the recent Sri Lanka tour or after the recent test series against Australia. Dravid has gone past his best and should retire as early as possible

Posted by kannaveekay on (December 13, 2008, 9:58 GMT)

I do respect Dravid and nobody can question his ability. only problem is loss of form let him gain the form in domestic tournaments, we have to answer the critics also as india is playing with virtually 10 playes as dravid is below par in the fielding department also. let darvid himself take a break for the sake of the team.

Posted by krshnan on (December 13, 2008, 9:09 GMT)

The writing is on the WALL for everyone but the selectors and Rahul Dravid himself to see.All good things must come to an end and Dravid should gracefully acknowledge that his tenure at the wicket is finished for ever.Like Kumble and Ganguly he should call it quits now.

Posted by aditya87 on (December 13, 2008, 8:53 GMT)

it's sad to see the decline of such a fantastic batsman, someone who has been the talisman for india's batting this decade. not only that, his confidence is the field is getting affected too. i think he just needs to take some time off, go back to domestic cricket and start scoring again - it's only one innings that you need to get you going, and if he just relaxes a little bit, gets a little less serious, then he should have no problems at all

Posted by Devabhishek on (December 13, 2008, 8:45 GMT)

Dravid is a player of tremendous skill and confidence.Unfortunately he is experiencing this form slump in the last quarter of his career.He should be given more opportunities.Having played for 12 years,he will definitely use his experience and talent to be among the runs again.

Posted by Krishna2007 on (December 13, 2008, 7:02 GMT)

Dravid is, in my view, the greatest batsman that India has ever produced. As a human being also he is an outstanding example of gentlemanly behaviour. He epitomises what Cricket should stand for. Unfortunately, he is a throwback of a time when there was decency and people played the game for the love of it rather than for making money. The selectors are loathe to let him go for only this reason.

I am sure that Dravid had decided to make this the last series and he is too decent to make a song and dance of it unlike some others we have seen in the recent past. Such a decent person may want only to be left to fight his demons alone and say Finis to his career with an innings of substance. Let us just let him be. His greatness needs at least that much space.

I have appreciated Dhoni's support for his beleaguered senior pro. If the Captain has faith in Dravid, why should we ramble on about his lack of form and so on? Leave dravid alone and he will deliver soon.

Posted by S.N.Singh on (December 13, 2008, 6:39 GMT)

Dravid is a very orthodox batsman. People might not see this. Bis he is a great batsman. He is very unfortunate over these few years by being given out on several occasions when NOT OUT. And was ginen out when the batsman should be given the BENEFIT of the Doubt. Because of PRESSURE batting at #3 I think he should go down the ORDER to build his confidence. He need hi confidence back. He is on a "Very Bad Patch." We should not call onhim to resign ? S.N.Singh

Posted by GlobalCricketLover on (December 13, 2008, 6:15 GMT)

I am an Indian but feel embarassed by the 'more emotional' and 'less rational' thoughts in the team selection. No one denies the fact that Dravid has been a great servant. But giving him a place he doesn't deserve is not a way to thank him! not a way to thank any player for that matter! Thank him by giving cash prizes or awards or knighthoods or whatever!! But ur playing 11 must always be with the guys who are in form and who are more likely to deliver than those sitting outside the 11. You play a regular match with only one objective - "TO WIN", not to show charity to any of the 11. We can as well conduct a chartity match if we want to show sympathy to him.

Posted by SachinIsTheGreatest on (December 13, 2008, 6:12 GMT)

With the performance of Yuvraj yesterday, we can safely say a struggling Dravid(or Tendulkar or Laxman) is much better than anybody else. Except that, it might be the right time for him and VVS to swap places. Laxman has been playing well and if he comes in at No.3 it will give India a solid batsman there. Also batting at No.5 will give Dravid more time to recover from his slump and also might ease the pressure a bit. I sincerely hope Dravid can carry on for another year or so.

Posted by jayantsengupta on (December 13, 2008, 6:04 GMT)

The batting debacle of the Indian Cricket team proves a single point that Sourav was needed in this squa. As we all know that he was forced to retire if thsi would not have happned then he was the only batsman who could saved India. The Indian cricket thinktank did not think likewise. Rahul though a good player no doubt has been given a long run. I only think if this could happen to Sourav then what would have happned. Hell would have broken loose. Sourav is requred...the man now laughs at his Behala house.

Posted by no_second_chance_for_batsman on (December 13, 2008, 4:48 GMT)

Nice article. Dravid has been a great cricketer for INDIA and played many match winning knocks. But now, I think Dravid has two options

1. Take some time off & get back with confidence and zeal. (I personally think that its too late for this too)

2. To retire.

Its my gut feeling that the interest levels & performance levels have dropped after he resigned as captain all of a sudden. After that he has NEVER been the same Dravid. His body language is a proof for my gut feeling.

Dravid --- its time for you to make the announcement. You had made India proud many times & I would love to see you walk out on your terms and not getting dropped for next series.

Cheers, Kumar.

Posted by maj57 on (December 13, 2008, 4:19 GMT)

It is very sad to see the decline of such a fantastic batsman which Rahul Dravid but more important a great person. The way he conducts himself is second to none a model professional. However every cricketer has to retire at some point and it is becoming painful to watch Dravid struggle the way he is. I hope he decides to retire by himself before he gets pushed out. That would be a very sad ending.

Posted by SajinVarghese on (December 13, 2008, 3:45 GMT)

I would like to introduce myself as a hard supporter of Rahul Dravid for his batting skills, however, the truth is more or less evident, he is on a verge of retirement,his strength of shots are almost like small wind passing on your face,diminished personal confidence and all set to retirement.He has lost his appetite for finding gaps,scoring some big runs and after all,a grimmed face of lost battler.Yes,it is high time to take rest from international cricket and can be a better batting coach to upcoming cricketers. Good bye,Rahul Dravid.

Posted by kule4cricket on (December 13, 2008, 3:21 GMT)

I'd desperately like to see england win a test match in india. but i'd gladly forego that to see a comeback innings from dravid. A great cricketer in every sense of the word.

Posted by CricketJanata on (December 13, 2008, 3:12 GMT)

Rahul Dravid is and will always be seen as a true legend for the humility and mental consistency that he has shown. His slump is more to do with being disgraced and taken out of the public eye when being removed from his captaincy. The second nail in the coffin would be being removed from the ODI team. I think he is not finding the strength to stand up and be who he was. The irony of Indian cricket is that the except Sachin no Indian cricketer has had the option of playing or not playing a series. Dravid surely needs a break but that would be like virtual retirement for him as legend or not we still manage to disown the services of greats. Dravid is in a crisis but Im convinced 'The wall' will stand tall.

Posted by RajeshV on (December 13, 2008, 2:33 GMT)

I totally agree. He is my favourite but that won't deter me from saying that he deserves to be given a break. He has been a wonderful servant, committed but it has been a pretty long slump. It is highly unfair not to give others chances even after these many failures. After all what else or what more they could to to earn a place. May be Dravid need not retire, that is his personal decision. But surely he should be dropped (could be called restes/given a break - whatever). I believe he needs a break and some times it works to be away and have time to assess yourself. The other thing that points to his slump and that he is low on confidence is his ever reliable slip catching. He has dropped catches and easy ones too. I thought he would break the record for most catches during SL series and he could and should have. However, even after another series and one innings of this series he still needs 1 more catch to equal the record. Nothing more is needed to put his slump in perspective,

Posted by FunkySi on (December 13, 2008, 0:29 GMT)

Brilliant analysis. I am looking forward to seeing Dravid next time out with this in mind

Posted by Sprewell on (December 12, 2008, 23:43 GMT)

Dravid's career speaks for itself - but he should have been dropped 6 if not 12 months ago. You have to respect this guy, but you should always include players who are in form. Dravid has not had any form for probably 2 years. It will benefit India if they get some of these young guys exposure before the likes of Tendulkar and Laxman also have to give the game away. Dravids career doesnt rest on his performance in the second in innings of the first test, its too late to undo 2 years of poor performances. One other thing, its amazing how pro India this web site is. My comments are not posted - im guessing here - because I point out Indian side has no issues claiming Collingwoods wicket, clearly not out, yet they get upset at Australia, smells of Hypocrisy.

Posted by ZICO on (December 12, 2008, 23:40 GMT)

I totally agree with the article, he does seem to be a little distracted ever since he quit captaincy. Even though, he is dravid, he needs to just go back to what made him the wall: his impeccable technique. If he just stops trying to be a "moden" player and just play like 'he' plays it, he will come back out of this slump. Right now, it is though that people offer him their utmost support in order to revive India's champion test player.

Posted by Koushik_Biswas on (December 12, 2008, 22:52 GMT)

Dravid should retire. When re relinquished captaincy, he said that he wants to focus on his batting. That was the first sign of decline to me. If he was struggling with his batting, then captaincy was the wrong reason for it. The diagnosis for his symptoms was incorrect: his batting struggles are because of age, not captaincy. The young and gritty Rahul was no more there, we have a confidence-drained middle aged man haunted by media and fan pressure. His fighting abilities are gone, unlike Ganguly. His reflexes have divorced him, unlike Sachin. That gets reflected in his fielding nowadays as well. It is up to him to stop living in a make believe world and call it a day. So that honor and glory stay with him forever.

Posted by NRI- on (December 12, 2008, 22:12 GMT)

At the vey least Laxman should have been playing no 3, he should for the next innings. But it is high time Dravid retires or is removed, even if he scores a grafty fifty in the next innings. Who knows, an attacking batsman may have changed the course of the innings and this deplorable play may cost India the test match. Right now even Irfan Pathan would make a better no 3 and provide a fifth bowling option. Or give Badrinath his due. Or Rohit Sharma. Or Virat Kohli. ANYONE BUT Dravid.

Posted by santoshyd on (December 12, 2008, 21:52 GMT)

I think its a wonderful testimony to his commitment and character that he got opportunities for so long (almost 2 years), though he failed consistently. No other batsman would have got so many opportunities. I think he should take a break if he doesn't do well in this series, irrespective of yuvraj's success.

Posted by indianpunter on (December 12, 2008, 21:43 GMT)

bravo, sambit!! someone finally had the guts to call a spade a spade. This has been going on for far too long ( dravids slump, that is )and i dont think even tendulkar would have been given such a long rope. for all of dravids greatness ( and that is not under scrutiny) i sincerely hope this is his last test and that the selectors put him out of his misery. in himself he is deluded that he is fine, which is even more worrying.my prediction for the second innings? under 10 ( in 50 balls).

Posted by INDIANSTHECHAMPIONS on (December 12, 2008, 20:21 GMT)

Allowing dravid to play further tests may be sure if there r not suitable replacements but rite now he's not performing well and there r so many youngsters on the line so the selectors should have to make a tough choice .Dravid too should move away frm international cricket to spend his life in commentary or umpiring etc etc and nwe guys should be replaced its time for a good change in indian cricket.

Posted by SRTRDXSCG on (December 12, 2008, 20:15 GMT)

Media puts unecessary pressure on Dravid. We all know that he did not have a good series with Australia and Sri Lanka. During the break, the poor guy would have worked his heart out in the nets. Now the first time he gets to bat, he is not going to come out blazing like a Richards or Sehwag. Acculumating and griding runs has always been his forte and style. You dont have to immediately put up an article on how he is finding it hard to score runs...I mean , there is a lot left in the series. Its still spring. Give the man in troubled times some breathing space and confidence

Wait till the series is over to write an obituary. He knows, the Indian public know and media very well knows that its now or never for Dravid. My only point is, please be selective in the timing of your essays. Dravid and Chikka would do well by not reading this article at this time when the test is poised for a definite result. Media needs to be responsible.Sensationalism as a weed is killing good journalism

Posted by gxxb on (December 12, 2008, 19:56 GMT)

I'm sad to say I agree. As a huge supporter of Rahul it pains me to say it but the time for him to go is near. He has earned the right to announce his retirement instead of being dropped but that luxury may not be available for too much longer barring a massive change in form.

Posted by ABP235 on (December 12, 2008, 19:37 GMT)

Truth hurts and so there it is. For all Dravid fans, the way he batted today was a bitter truth. Even if one considers he was unlucky (I dont think so), then there was no guarantee that he would have lasted longer as he kept groping for the ball and the bowlers bowled an immaculate line and length for him, not giving him any liberty. It proves that the pitch is not that easy as player after player failed (which includes the greats Sachin, Laxman, the in form Sehwag and Gambhir and Yuvraj) in this innings. England bowled beautifully too. One hopes that Dravid hits a valuable knock second time around, or one could see the end of road for the great man. He should bat at No.5 (with Laxman at 3) in second innings, as he had done against Australia in 2001, second test at Kolkata after poor form for him and good form for Laxman promoted the latter to No.3 and they hit a match saving partnership with big knocks. good luck Rahul.

Posted by Kochikkaran on (December 12, 2008, 19:18 GMT)

I cringed watching Rahul drop the catch of Anderson. It was so unlike him. I hoped for a better performance with bat, which did not happen. As you rightly said, it has become desperate hope for me. It is unbearable to see my hero going through such a phase. But, I am not going to give up till the last ball that he faces in his illustrious career. He has done so fabulously well for India, even better than Sachin and Sunil dare I say. Rahul, we love you no matter what is going to happen in your career from now on, because you have given us a lot of moments to Cherish!!!

Posted by davedave on (December 12, 2008, 19:10 GMT)

I think Dravid is absolutely wasting his time as well as killing opportunities for youngsters. He was a great player no doubt that was two years ago and now even if he scores 3 centuries in the next 3 innings his time has come long time ago. He had been given 26 tests and this is his 27th apart from 2 centuries one against Bangladesh he has been batting like a tail-ender. No team can afford to do this and I also think the media has been supporting him blindly see it took almost 2 years for Mr.Samit Bal to criticize Dravid. If we can see his fielding he will not going to break Mark Waugh's record anymore because he had dropped plenty of catches in the last 3 or 4 series. If he still really wants to be in the squad like his seniors like Shastri, Vengsarkar then he certainly doesn't deserve a good farewell. I think he should learn from Dada.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (December 12, 2008, 19:05 GMT)

I am sad that dravid is not scoring but i dont think his time is over as yet.

BCCI should give him some more time and then decide about his fate or may be Dravid will decide his fate after all these failures soon.

But he is wall but that wall is falling now, BCCI now should work as wall for him and support him as long as india is winning series and matches.

Nadeem Sharifuddin, USA.

Posted by yenjvoy1 on (December 12, 2008, 18:54 GMT)

Michael Atherton while commentating on TV yesterday raised a point that I myself have been wondering about for a while - the negative impact of IPL on Dravid (and to a lesser extent on Jacques Kallis). I think that down the years, we will find out more about this, but the shadow on Dravid's face seems to have settled since IPL. Maybe a few months off cricket are called for and he should definitely not play IPL anymore.

Posted by raviagrawal on (December 12, 2008, 18:41 GMT)

How irnonic, that a man with an average of 30 for two years is still playing and that too at a crucial position of 3, while the man with an average of nearly 50 in the same period and who played two match winning innings against Aussies was forced to retire. I cant help more than smile!

Posted by Bumpster on (December 12, 2008, 18:15 GMT)

A good article and I do not think it is at all overly critical of Dravid. I've watched him struggle with form for the last two years, and although he has always been a favourite of mine i've got to now admit he is totally past it and the selectors need to stop giving him chance after chance. Apparently Dravid has been examining his own technique with the help of their batting coach, but it has done no good as still struggles. He needs to step down and retire before the selectors axe him. Dravid has become the biggest liability in the team and he needs to step up and say enough is enough.

Posted by SibaMohanty on (December 12, 2008, 18:07 GMT)

Great piece, Mr Bal. As a Dravid-fanatic, watching him perish in the manner he does these days is like losing faith. You say, in the Indian batting pantheon, he stands firmly behind Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar, I say, he stands right alongside them.

From 59, the average has dropped below 54 now. It's tragic to see his decline. He deserves better. Much better, I guess.

How I wish his moment of truth came in the second innings of this Test.

Posted by sportsfan on (December 12, 2008, 18:01 GMT)

I totally agree with you. Dravid must have retired about 2 years ago. I am not sure on what basis the selectors are keeping him in the team. he should be dropped for the next test irrespective of the number of runs he scores in the second innings. He has been a dead weight on the team far too long. i feel sorry to see him struggle for so long for the 3 runs he scored. i would have felt better if he got out for a first ball duck instead.

Posted by since7 on (December 12, 2008, 17:53 GMT)

I pretty much want to say good bye rahul but somehow having followed him since his debut I am stuck for words...It really confuses me as to why he looks completely out of sorts..There was a time his arrival to the crease would mean a rock at one end.I can barely remember an instance for the past year or so..Ofcourse he has had bad decisions but getting out to offspinners in an undravid manner prodding raises alarms...the only reason I can suggest is burden..He seems to put himself under a lot of pressure..I guess he needs to lightnen himself up and play freely and enjoy the few months of his international cricket..good luck to him...

Posted by HarishVS on (December 12, 2008, 17:47 GMT)

I think this article is more or less harping on hoping Dravid's fall and quick exit. He got out probably for a good ball though it was not a ripper. We still have second innings of this test and two more in the next. He wont be dropped for final test even if he scores zero in the second innings of this test. You just wait till the end of the series and if he does not score he will announce his retirement or else, it will be a start of new history. But your innings of this cheap article is not come at right time. We have already seen everything written, spoken and see of Dravid's plight. Let us not hear anymore from anyone in the media or press till the mean himself lets his bat to speak or himself to speak out his retirement......

Posted by chinmaypatil on (December 12, 2008, 17:40 GMT)

It's a simple question really that Indian team management should ask themselves. Why is Rahul Dravid still batting at no. 3? We have a wonderful & capable player in Laxman to exchange places with him. But, for some unknown reasons they don't want to follow that path. There have been lot of stories published on Cricinfo about Dravid'd dismal form. But, none of them suggested this option either. The only man who suggested this option was Ian Chappell. Can anyone tell me why?

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Sambit Bal Editor-in-chief Sambit Bal took to journalism at the age of 19 after realising that he wasn't fit for anything else, and to cricket journalism 14 years later when it dawned on him that it provided the perfect excuse to watch cricket in the office. Among other things he has bowled legspin, occasionally landing the ball in front of the batsman; laid out the comics page of a newspaper; covered crime, urban development and politics; and edited Gentleman, a monthly features magazine. He joined Wisden in 2001 and edited Wisden Asia Cricket and Cricinfo Magazine. He still spends his spare time watching cricket.
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