November 15, 2010

When cricketers age

Do we have the right to call for their retirements or should we let their dramas play themselves out?
101

There may be few things as thrilling in sport as the blooming of a new talent, but watching the withering - or not, the big question - is the more absorbing. By this time we've had the benefit of familiarity. Cricket is really a family soap set to physical motion, so familiarity is everything. We know character patterns, the back story, the old follies and glories.

We know, for instance, that Rahul Dravid has been on the other side of the fence he is on now. Four years ago he was captain when Greg Chappell attempted to do away with virtually all of India's older players. Sachin Tendulkar, Chappell tried to convince journalists off the record, would not last till the 2007 World Cup; Virender Sehwag was finished, his back packed up forever; VVS Laxman's knees were too dodgy; while Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Sourav Ganguly were "cancers". So much for all that.

Watching a Dravid innings nowadays has begun to bring the kind of dramatic anticipation as Ganguly's some years ago, though, of course, for drama Sourav was Sourav. Each time Dravid takes guard now we are aroused by the subtext: redemption or fall? In short, he has become an old cricketer.

With age, cricketers turn a little bit more into themselves. No longer discovering their games, they fall back on what they know most. My main memory of Javed Miandad's struggle against India in Bangalore in the 1996 World Cup is how desperately he tried to galvanise his defiance into one last triumph, how hard he relied on it, how inadequate it was. His career was as old as the World Cup. He himself was about as old as cricket. He played slowly and got run out. In his final few years Brian Lara, wounded and challenged, turned to his original twinkle-foot rapacity, once lashing 28 runs in a Test over, 26 another time, and there was the minor matter of 400 in an innings. Tendulkar's life and his cricket have been a quest for balance, and so he has settled upon a judicious blend of his strokeful youth - brought up his century with two sixes the other day! - and the conveyor-belt accumulation of his later years. And Dravid, who faces balls - who has faced more balls in Test cricket than Tendulkar despite a seven-year handicap - faces more balls.

When their position is secure - when they may "go out on their own terms", as the phrase goes - there appears a geniality about the older player. The fires dimmed, their world view expanded, they begin to feel like nasty uncles showing their softer sides. I never thought Matthew Hayden could be endearing, but he did look so on his last tour of India, where, scrunching his eyes at slip he resembled John McCain a great deal. Which is not to say that aged Republican senators are particularly endearing; but a 70-year-old first slipper is. Never could the word "lovable" be attached to Glenn McGrath until the tail-end of his magnificent career, when he chuntered all the same but, creases etched into his face, smiled more than he cussed; and he delivered some of the funnier press conferences in cricket. By the time he was the grand-daddy figure in the IPL, I had begun to think of him as one of the nicest guys in the game.

When their position is secure - when they may "go out on their own terms", as the phrase goes - there appears a geniality about the older player. The fires dimmed, their world view expanded, they begin to feel like nasty uncles showing their softer sides

This is a luxury, however. More often the old player finds himself glancing over his shoulder. Allan Border I think it was who was supposed to have said of the coming men at the fag end of his career that they may be better than him, but the thing he had over them was they didn't know it yet. This is the position Dravid finds himself in now, youngsters nipping at his heels, the public urging him to either fight on or retire "gracefully".

He would know that it's been a scratchy few years. When he resigned the captaincy he looked a far older man than when he'd taken it on, but it was his batting that seemed to have aged. In his last Test as captain, at The Oval, he put up an innings of such awkwardness that he appeared both bemused and embarrassed, a performance repeated in the first 100 balls of his innings against New Zealand in Ahmedabad. On the 2007-08 tour of Australia, he could barely get the ball off the square. Peter Roebuck observed that his bat sounded like tin. You cannot grudge a man his method. In Perth he endured through the rust for 93, the highest score in a great Indian win. And in Ahmedabad his 104 was the second highest score in the innings.

Steve Waugh, who nevertheless orchestrated for himself all but a 21-gun salute, made the point that it didn't matter in the long run how someone goes out, and he is right. Nobody troubles themselves with Viv Richards' mediocre final seasons, nor did they prevent him from making Wisden's Five Cricketers of the last century or, recently, ESPNcricinfo's all-time World XI. Journalism overrates near memory.

Waugh was responding to suggestions that he should go out at a time, to use another of cricket's old-man phrases, "people are asking why rather than when". I'm not sure anymore if it is proper to be telling someone to retire. By all means they are fair game for criticism and omission, but they cannot be denied the right to try. Sportsmen don't play for a place in our individual memories. They play because it is what they do, and think they can still do it well. It is timeless drama. Old giving to new, the generational saga, the cycle of life, the stuff of books and movies. Why ask to end it? The least one can do is enjoy it as it plays out.

Rahul Bhattacharya is the author of the cricket tour book Pundits from Pakistan and the forthcoming novel The Sly Company of People Who Care

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 18, 2010, 22:49 GMT

    Dravid used to be the Mr. Dependable. But now he is consistently failing to score. We did not notice Dravid's failures as our focus remained on Tendulkar's & Ganguly's poor run of form. Since Ganguly has announced his retirement and Tendulkar is back to form and Laxman scoring runs, Rahul's performance comes under the scanner. Only Dravid disappointed so far in the series. I agree, there is pressure on him; but that is not a reason, that is just an excuse. He is not a player who played just 10 test match, he is a player with more than 100 test caps. So if he fail once, it is okay. If he fails twice it is okay, but if he fails every time, there is no explanation. But, when he should retire that is upto Dravid. I hope he will put everything behind him with a good performance soon. If not he should be given a last chance in the SA series with an ultimatum by BCCI - 'either you fire, or we fire you'.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 18, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    by the way Ramanuja, you sound more and more like that teenage boy on you tube who cries 'leave Brittany alone" :) funny.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 18, 2010, 22:44 GMT

    An excellent post by Martin Hooks. @RamanujanKrishna, it is not about this player or that player; it is about team India. No one deserves a place in the team because in the past they have been great players. Please read this post carefully and don't sharpen your typing skill because you like the Dravid so much. "Dravid has somehow been the holy cow of Indian cricket; any comment on his form or performance is taken as an insult to him. One hopes that Dravid will show his form of old in SA, failing which, the selection committee should award his place to a deserving batsman. His list of momentum killing innings are building up. Mere per innings average is not indicative of pressures he creates on many batsman who come after him. There are many innings such as 12 from 118 balls at oval 5 from 66 and 16 from 114 balls at Melbourne, 11 from 64 balls at Adelaide, 29 from 106 ball against South Africa in Kanpur and two three innings in this series that helped NZ more than it helped India"

  • on November 18, 2010, 20:54 GMT

    Gulshan and Hema. Let Dravid alone. Srikanth and he are better judges on when he should go. And there! He did not go away yet even after you closed your eyes and wished he did. He has averaged 50 so far in this series. What about Tendulkar, Dhoni and Raina? Add their averages and they just might come close to him. So his innings have all been momentum sapping? What of Tendulkar and his slow 40 followed by his jejune attempt to go faster to the hut? Each time Bhajji had to bail out India after Tendlya decided to play hookey. OK,right now Lax is the best. But that is now. And Gulshan, your prejudice against Dravid shows You mention he should be fired for hobnobbing with Greg. Grow up guys. The captain and coach are supposed to work together. Strategies can fail. Dravid stayed on as captain as long as he wanted to and resigned after that. He is still playing better than Raina, Dhoni and Tendlya. He will go away when he is unable to match the three together. Don't hold your breath guys!

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 18, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    No one is demanding anything, but this is a free society and we do have the rights to comment and discuss as we are the ultimate stakeholders. There are no holy cows in cricket and interest of the team is supreme not of an individual hence decision can not be left for the player. If all players started making correct decisions what was the need for selection committee at all?

  • indianpunter on November 18, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    Dravid, have you watched recent videos of your batting? well, you are supposedly a keen student of the game. you should know, more than anyone else, that your time is up. whats keeping you from doing the right thing? ie calling time on your career? is it the money? is it the power that comes with the territory? you are undoing the goodwill you have gained over time. This is going from bad to worse. India will be walloped in SA if Dravid is in the team. worse, if he bats at humber 3.

  • indianpunter on November 18, 2010, 13:01 GMT

    Martin Hooks.. mate, you took the words out of my mouth. You are spot on! I have been Dravid's greatest fan for so many moons, but the team comes first. Over the past few yrs, it has become such a painful eyesore just watching him bat and to my anguish i am hoping that he fails, so that someone will finally show him the door. You would have thought that the articulate Dravid would know when his time is up. But sadly, he too will not go until pushed. In India, it is almost sacrilege to question Dravid's place in the team. Even Tendulkar dint get such a long rope ( remember in 2007, people were calling him Endulkar?". Mark my words.. utter disaster awaits us in SA if Dravid is going to bat at number 3. He will be the "momentum killer". Please RD, have the grace to call it a day. you deserve better than to be dropped.

  • Biophysicist on November 18, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    I fully agree with Gazza038. It is finally the selectors job (who are paid for it) to judge what is the best team that can play for the country. If the national selectors cannot take a call on dropping someone, why should we blame that someone for doing something that he has been doing for 15-20 years and believes can do for a couple of more years?

  • Prats6 on November 18, 2010, 10:57 GMT

    Have been such a big fan of RD.. And I keep asking this question to myself again and again ! What I would not want is the axing of RD. He has been such a great player for India. I just hope he knows what he is doing and lets just trust him to do the right thing.

    We need to believe that players of his caliber know what is right and what is wrong and trust whatever their decision is.

  • Gazza038 on November 18, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    Having read the first page of comments, I would say that most people seem to be missing the point. That is that none of us have the right to demand a players retirement - a point I agree with wholeheartedly. The author says "They play because it is what they do, and think they can still do it well." I would add that they play because they love the game. Who are we to tell someone to stop doing something they love. Selectors are paid well to make the tough calls. If a player is hanging on too long, don't blame the player - blame the selectors. Some players will keep playing long after their international (and sometimes even provincial) career ends - and that should be encouraged. The experience they pass on is invaluable.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 18, 2010, 22:49 GMT

    Dravid used to be the Mr. Dependable. But now he is consistently failing to score. We did not notice Dravid's failures as our focus remained on Tendulkar's & Ganguly's poor run of form. Since Ganguly has announced his retirement and Tendulkar is back to form and Laxman scoring runs, Rahul's performance comes under the scanner. Only Dravid disappointed so far in the series. I agree, there is pressure on him; but that is not a reason, that is just an excuse. He is not a player who played just 10 test match, he is a player with more than 100 test caps. So if he fail once, it is okay. If he fails twice it is okay, but if he fails every time, there is no explanation. But, when he should retire that is upto Dravid. I hope he will put everything behind him with a good performance soon. If not he should be given a last chance in the SA series with an ultimatum by BCCI - 'either you fire, or we fire you'.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 18, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    by the way Ramanuja, you sound more and more like that teenage boy on you tube who cries 'leave Brittany alone" :) funny.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 18, 2010, 22:44 GMT

    An excellent post by Martin Hooks. @RamanujanKrishna, it is not about this player or that player; it is about team India. No one deserves a place in the team because in the past they have been great players. Please read this post carefully and don't sharpen your typing skill because you like the Dravid so much. "Dravid has somehow been the holy cow of Indian cricket; any comment on his form or performance is taken as an insult to him. One hopes that Dravid will show his form of old in SA, failing which, the selection committee should award his place to a deserving batsman. His list of momentum killing innings are building up. Mere per innings average is not indicative of pressures he creates on many batsman who come after him. There are many innings such as 12 from 118 balls at oval 5 from 66 and 16 from 114 balls at Melbourne, 11 from 64 balls at Adelaide, 29 from 106 ball against South Africa in Kanpur and two three innings in this series that helped NZ more than it helped India"

  • on November 18, 2010, 20:54 GMT

    Gulshan and Hema. Let Dravid alone. Srikanth and he are better judges on when he should go. And there! He did not go away yet even after you closed your eyes and wished he did. He has averaged 50 so far in this series. What about Tendulkar, Dhoni and Raina? Add their averages and they just might come close to him. So his innings have all been momentum sapping? What of Tendulkar and his slow 40 followed by his jejune attempt to go faster to the hut? Each time Bhajji had to bail out India after Tendlya decided to play hookey. OK,right now Lax is the best. But that is now. And Gulshan, your prejudice against Dravid shows You mention he should be fired for hobnobbing with Greg. Grow up guys. The captain and coach are supposed to work together. Strategies can fail. Dravid stayed on as captain as long as he wanted to and resigned after that. He is still playing better than Raina, Dhoni and Tendlya. He will go away when he is unable to match the three together. Don't hold your breath guys!

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 18, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    No one is demanding anything, but this is a free society and we do have the rights to comment and discuss as we are the ultimate stakeholders. There are no holy cows in cricket and interest of the team is supreme not of an individual hence decision can not be left for the player. If all players started making correct decisions what was the need for selection committee at all?

  • indianpunter on November 18, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    Dravid, have you watched recent videos of your batting? well, you are supposedly a keen student of the game. you should know, more than anyone else, that your time is up. whats keeping you from doing the right thing? ie calling time on your career? is it the money? is it the power that comes with the territory? you are undoing the goodwill you have gained over time. This is going from bad to worse. India will be walloped in SA if Dravid is in the team. worse, if he bats at humber 3.

  • indianpunter on November 18, 2010, 13:01 GMT

    Martin Hooks.. mate, you took the words out of my mouth. You are spot on! I have been Dravid's greatest fan for so many moons, but the team comes first. Over the past few yrs, it has become such a painful eyesore just watching him bat and to my anguish i am hoping that he fails, so that someone will finally show him the door. You would have thought that the articulate Dravid would know when his time is up. But sadly, he too will not go until pushed. In India, it is almost sacrilege to question Dravid's place in the team. Even Tendulkar dint get such a long rope ( remember in 2007, people were calling him Endulkar?". Mark my words.. utter disaster awaits us in SA if Dravid is going to bat at number 3. He will be the "momentum killer". Please RD, have the grace to call it a day. you deserve better than to be dropped.

  • Biophysicist on November 18, 2010, 11:24 GMT

    I fully agree with Gazza038. It is finally the selectors job (who are paid for it) to judge what is the best team that can play for the country. If the national selectors cannot take a call on dropping someone, why should we blame that someone for doing something that he has been doing for 15-20 years and believes can do for a couple of more years?

  • Prats6 on November 18, 2010, 10:57 GMT

    Have been such a big fan of RD.. And I keep asking this question to myself again and again ! What I would not want is the axing of RD. He has been such a great player for India. I just hope he knows what he is doing and lets just trust him to do the right thing.

    We need to believe that players of his caliber know what is right and what is wrong and trust whatever their decision is.

  • Gazza038 on November 18, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    Having read the first page of comments, I would say that most people seem to be missing the point. That is that none of us have the right to demand a players retirement - a point I agree with wholeheartedly. The author says "They play because it is what they do, and think they can still do it well." I would add that they play because they love the game. Who are we to tell someone to stop doing something they love. Selectors are paid well to make the tough calls. If a player is hanging on too long, don't blame the player - blame the selectors. Some players will keep playing long after their international (and sometimes even provincial) career ends - and that should be encouraged. The experience they pass on is invaluable.

  • Biophysicist on November 18, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    @Gulshan_Grover: The reason why I gave the stats of RD for the last two years is to show that he has done much better during 2009 and 2010 than in the preceding two years. Considering his improved performance in the last two years, he should be allowed to play at least until the SA tour. If he fails there, I am sure he himself will retire (or the Coach and Selection Committee will indicate that he should go). It is easy to say that we should drop X or Y, but difficult to find replacements. Three years after Ganguly retired (who was not as good as Dravid anyway), we have a so-called replacement in Suresh Raina, who is technically not even as good as Ganguly. Pujara can be taken to SA as a member of the squad and groomed for the final induction into the team as a regular member of the final XI. While there are one or two other promising players such as A. Rahane and A. T. Rayudu, they also need to be groomed gradually as possible replacements for Tendulkar and Laxman.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 18, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    @Bio In last 4 years here is the stats that matter, in away matches filtered 2006-2010 23 1376 129 35.28

    that too is inflated because he averaged 66 against bangladesh. He averages 20.83 against SA and 22 against SL. Pretty sad!

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 18, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    Dravid has somehow been the holy cow of Indian cricket; any comment on his form or performance is taken as an insult to him. One hopes that Dravid will show his form of old in SA, failing which, the selection committee should award his place to a deserving batsman. His list of momentum killing innings are building up. Mere per innings average is not indicative of pressures he creates on many batsman who come after him. There are many innings such as 12 from 118 balls at oval 5 from 66 and 16 from 114 balls at Melbourne, 11 from 64 balls at Adelaide, 29 from 106 ball against South Africa in Kanpur and two three innings in this series that helped NZ more than it helped India.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 18, 2010, 6:51 GMT

    Dravid is a great player no doubt but I am really suprised of some posts saying that Dravid will bounce back. What is the point if he bounces back at the age of 39. He has been at his worst for the last 2 years and is yet to play a decent innings and he knows it. Can any other Indian batsmen get that many chances? No way if he is honest then he should announce his retirement sooner and not later. After the tour of West Indies where a historical test triumph was achieved, Dravid's batting is on a consistent decline. Being a fan of Dravid, it has been a real pain to watch his deeds at the batting crease in the recent times. I was of the view that after Sunil Gavaskar, Dravid will be the only next great batsman to go out on a high and when still indispensible for the team. Alas that was not to happen and true followers of Indian cricket have to demand his ouster.

  • Biophysicist on November 18, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    @Gulshan_Grover: Please don't make HAND-WAVING statements not backed by data. You say, "RD is out of form post 06, why he did not retire in 2007,2008 or 2009" But statistics tell a different story. RD's test batting record since 01-01-2010 (close to 2 years) reads: 15 tests, 1243 runs, highest score 177, average 56.5, centuries 4. If he can do this when he is out of form, I am sure he would do wonders when he is in form! A very good reason to persist with him for another couple of years at least!!

  • Biophysicist on November 18, 2010, 5:23 GMT

    @Hema_Adhikari: You should make statements based on facts. You say that Dravid 'has been fading since 2007', which is blatantly FALSE. In 2008 he has averaged 83.3 with 2 centuries from 6 tests. In the same period, the other two middle order batsmen in the Indian team, Tendulkar and Laxman, averaged 67.62 and 67.28, respectively. RD is going through a patch of bad form, still he is averaging 38.15 in 2010. If his century at Motera shows why he should retire, then by the same logic SRT's slow 40 (SLOWER THAN RD's CENTURY) followed by low scores show why he should retire before RD. I am writing this ONLY to make a point, not to say either of these two great batsman should retire (or be dropped). I agree that Pujara should be brought in, but in place of Raina who is not technically sound, but not in place of RD. After Pujara establishes himself in the team, another youngster can be brought in. New players should be inducted in a phased manner so that they can be given time to establish.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 18, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    @Arya RD is surely a better overall batsman than Azhar but Azhar was a natural stroke maker that Dravid is clearly not. Right now he is struggling to get the ball of the square.

  • jay57870 on November 18, 2010, 2:57 GMT

    (Contd). With his low-key cooperative style, Gary rebuilt the team by creating mutual trust and a harmonious environment. He put faith in "the senior players (who) led the way ... and have been a tremendous example to young players in their work ethic." Mentoring is invaluable. Gary adds: "There are enough young players out there but it will take them a few years to get the type of experience required to build a successful Test career. There might be a rebuilding phase in India in two years' time, but every team has to go through that, especially when great players retire." With the heavy demands of 3 cricket formats and tight schedules, building bench strength is ever more compelling. To meet high expectations, there is a pressing need for even a larger roster of players. So this misguided notion to push veterans (like Dravid) out would be disastrous. The bottom-line: Need for star veterans to extend careers to age 40 and beyond. Remember Bradman played productively till age 40!

  • arya_underfoot on November 18, 2010, 1:11 GMT

    azharuddin towards the end of his career threw caution to the wind and played unadulterated attacking cricket. i'd love for dravid to start batting like that. he has a larger repertoire of strokes and a more sound technique than azhar. i think he could re-invent himself as an explosive number three batsman if he put his mind to it. now that would be AWESOME!!

  • jay57870 on November 18, 2010, 0:15 GMT

    (Contd). Instead of listening to the skeptics, I strongly urge you to read the Nov 9 Cricinfo interview with Gary Kirsten: The head coach should know. Regarding the "ageing middle order", he states candidly: "It is difficult to say because there is no indication of any of them retiring. And I always ask them. They are certainly not in any rush. Look, if Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar or VVS Laxman decides to retire it is a major blow." He fully understands how vital the 3 veterans are to the team. After all, they have been the key pillars, along with Ganguly & Kumble, on whose backs Team India has ascended to the top Test ranking. So, why disrupt a stable and successful team? Remember how Greg Chappell nearly destroyed Indian cricket with his confrontational style toward the old order. And his brother Ian made his silly "mirror" dictum to Sachin to retire. Thankfully nobody listened and Greg was sacked. Lesson: Don't mess around with the very backbone of the team. (TBC).

  • jay57870 on November 17, 2010, 23:18 GMT

    It's amusing to read about the premature obituaries of "ageing masters" such as Dravid, Tendulkar & Co. Looking at the age/performance of these elite players over the past 3-4 years, one sees how wrong the errant pundits have been. Some skeptics even question any player on the "wrong side of 30" especially the 35-somethings. That's laughable, as if 35 is some forbidden age-marker beyond which degenerative diseases set in. Yet another myth - that T20 is a "young man's game" - has been debunked. Look at the IPL: Some of the best performers have been "retirees" such as Gilchrist (age 39), Warne (41), Hayden (39), Kumble (40) and Muralitharan (38). In IPL 3, Ganguly (38) was among the top scorers, while Tendulkar (37) won the Orange Cap. Dravid (37) and Kumble played a vital role in the Bangalore team. As Sachin correctly stated, "It's a cricketer's game so it doesn't matter whether you are young or old." Why deny a star veteran the chance to play if he's fit and up to the challenge? (TBC)

  • Sunrays on November 17, 2010, 18:18 GMT

    An international cricketer always backs himself to deliver. Otherwise, he wouldn't be there in the first place. Therefore, to say that they should realize by themselves that they can no longer perform and retire is meaningless. An international cricketer, especially the great ones, are never capable of thinking they are useless. May be, they will retire, for any of the myriad reasons, but never because one fine day they think they cannot perform anymore.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 17, 2010, 16:09 GMT

    @Henchart Don't be naive my friend. The decision can not be left to them as you suggest since they will never retire especially with all the IPL money around. They need to keep their names in the headlines. It is not like old days when people actually retired and settled into doing somethign else these days every year IPL brings million of dollars and people just need to stick around to keep getting the dough. I mean RD is out of form post 06, why he did not retire in 2007,2008 or 2009?

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 17, 2010, 15:56 GMT

    @Henchart---thanks for making my point :) Every cricketer no matter how great in his prime comes with a sell by date. It is quite sad most of them overestimate their prowess and stick around longer than they should have.

  • henchart on November 17, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    @Martin_Hooks : Every cricketer has to go .Even Bradman did and that too with a duck ,but, just that some cricketers earn, on the basis of their sterling performances over the years, a right of sorts to time their retirement .Who was bothered when Nilesh Kulkarni or Amre quit?Here ,we are talking about Dravid the loyal soldier ever since he scored 96 at Lord's in summer of 1996 .He deserves to be left alone to decide when he has to quit and mind you he will be the first one to not hang around.Clamour for his head is increasing and if he ,which I doubt,flounders in SA ,expect a retirement announcement .Rarely will one come across such an unassuming cricketer.He led India to series win in WI and England and that too in WI without maestro Tendulkar.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 17, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    @Ramanujapuram Krishna, RD should be fired for multiple reasons, but the main reason should be his hobnobbing with Greg Chappel to get rid of so called seniors then. I guess at that time he was for youth, and now when the foot is on other shoe, he is beginning to see the value of experience. It is no coincidence that post 06 he has been sidelined and have suffered dramatic loss of form.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 17, 2010, 13:14 GMT

    @R.Krishna, Yes Dhoni and Raina have failed in this series fo far but so has Rahul Dravid and he has been failing and fading since 2007. I know his fans would like him to play forever but that is not going to happen. Time and Tide waits for none. I know he scored a so called century in at Motera but that inning itself showed why he should retire to salvage his own reputation.

  • jaanson on November 17, 2010, 12:17 GMT

    just one question. what do readers feel should be the retirement age of writers like this rahul who is talking about the retirement of that rahul?

  • on November 17, 2010, 6:55 GMT

    @Gulshan Grover and@ Hema Adhikari. Raina and Dhoni have failed consistently with the bat this series. Tendulkar has been pretty out of sorts. Dravid seems to be struggling only in contrast to his best self. It would appear that the pressures are external in his case. How come nobody mentions Tendulkar's failures in the series and how he played like a juvenile no 11 in the last test, especially his choice of stroke to Vettori that saw him back in the hut? The fact is we give him his odd off day or days because he is Tendulkar, a guy with a history who deserves to play because he is among the best and age be damned. Rahul has not been struggling in that he is hardly at a loss for a response to anything the bowlers throw at him. Let's leave the legends alone and let them decide when to go. They deserve that much at least. Let's agree to disagree. Moreover, it's the Selection committee's call not ours and I am sure those gentlemen are better qualified to judge than us.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 17, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    Dravid used to be the Mr. Dependable. But now he is consistently failing to score. We did not notice Dravid's failures as our focus remained on Tendulkar's & Ganguly's poor run of form.

    Since Ganguly has announced his retirement and Tendulkar is back to form and Laxman scoring runs, Rahul's performance comes under the scanner. Only Dravid disappointed so far in the series. I agree, there is pressure on him; but that is not a reason, that is just an excuse. He is not a player who played just 10 test match, he is a player with more than 100 test caps. So if he fail once, it is okay. If he fails twice it is okay, but if he fails every time, there is no explanation.

    But, when he should retire that is upto Dravid. I hope he will put everything behind him with a good performance soon. If not he should be given a last chance in the SA series with an ultimatum by BCCI - 'either you fire, or we fire you'.

  • D.Sharma on November 17, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    @Gulshan_Grover "Failing for the 3 years"?!?!?!. 2007 and 2008 were his lows. In 2009 he did well and 2010 is not yet completed. In 2008 he still managed to produce 93 in his poorest of forms and helped the team win in Perth- considered as one if India's greatest wins.

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 17, 2010, 4:42 GMT

    @Henchart/ The Dravid is a good player of pace on bouncy pitches is conventional wisdom and like all pieces of CV it is not entirely true. Dravid has pretty average record against SA and Australia especially in SA. I am not saying it makes him a lesser batsman but it is inconceivable that this time around at the age of 38 he can turn things around. Even if there is a spark how long the flame will last? If one saying to look at Pujara and Rehane that does not mean one is comparing them to Dravid or Sachin, it just means that one has to keep an eye on the future as well and not get punch drunk with the past achievements.

  • Meety on November 17, 2010, 2:32 GMT

    There are 2 key view points; 1. If ain't broke don't fix it, 2. Planned obsolescence. The first one was fine 5 years ago when the legends were still peaking, the second point will always depend on timing. Learn from the mistakes past dynasties where rapid departures will leave a whoe that won't get filled. I think Ganguly hasn't been replaced in terms of his dynamic, but he certainly has been replaced statistically. Ganguly (I never liked him much), added a whole lot of starch to the Indian team in terms of attitude & determination, those traits linger on the Indian side, thanks to Kumble. From my point of view - the do nothing option will just delay the fall. If you get one player to leave earlier, then you have time to groom a replacement. You don't want to be looking for 3 replacements all at once! Ultimately the waters will be a whole lot clearer after the SA series. I have my suspicions how that will turn out - but if Dravid performs - he gets to script his finale on his terms.

  • henchart on November 17, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    For all you know Gulshan_Grover ,Sonali_despande might not be a female.That apart,someone wrote about inability to find replacement for Ganguly.Well,who needs replacement for Ganguly anyways? Has Indian batting suffered because of his absence ? Big no.More often than not Sehwag,Dravid,Tendulkar and Laxman used to do the scoring even when he was around.What more,Ganguly used to fake injuries ahead of crucial encounters and chicken out when he was leading India.He did so in Pakistan in 2004 and against Aus in home series later that year.Dravid receives flak because he is not flashy/flamboyant .Agreed ,he has been struggling in recent times but wait folks ,for the SA tour ,before condemning him.Dravid is far better on bouncy pitches than Raina ,Gambhir and even Dhoni.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 17, 2010, 1:19 GMT

    @Ramanujapuram Krishna, the only player who is in serious decline is RD. Chin music would bother him the most as he has been repeatedly hit by medium pacers on his head in the last few years. It is erroneous not to give chance to any youngsters because Yuvi failed at it. Steve Waugh took 20 test matches to register his first test century. I think Raina will succeed if given appropriate and timely opportunity. he has already won couple of test matches in Srilanka. He failed in last two test matches and everyone is baying for his blood. But Mr. Wall is failing for last three years and reaching near government retirement age and no one seems to notice. Drama has turned into farce.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 17, 2010, 1:13 GMT

    "Very well written. Now wait for the hate mail full of "leave Dravid alone" sort of rant. I think RD was a peerless batsman from 2002-2006 but now his powers are on wane and it is obvious to anyone willing to see the reality of a champion but fairly old player struggling to match his own high standard. It is time The Wall saw the writing on the wall and gracefully retired to let a young buck come in and take charge. Yes, few of them will succeed or fail base on their own aptitude and talent but to say someone can play forever is idiotic to say the least. No one is irreplaceable no one is going to last forever. Let's be practical and make it as painless as possible" Good luck with your reasoning Mr. hooks.

    In the land of blind one eyed man is the king. That one eyed man is RD. He has killed whatever chances India had in last two matches by batting excruciatingly slow.

  • Amar_Jarubula on November 17, 2010, 0:51 GMT

    I totally agree with you Rahul. Its nice that somebody is not writing against Rahul Dravid. He is a great player and has played very well. If he doesn't why does he get a name The Great Wall of India. He is the only player that is next to Sachin when comes to reliablity. In fact he did better in some situation by not succumbing. Atleast he doesn't play for records. I don't understand why everybody is against him playing, when they have no problem watching Sachin. Well he also has gone through a rough patch, of course he is playing fantastic cricket now. The best ever of Sachin I have seen. Well if we don't give Dravid the chance he deserves after what he done to the team what message do we give to the other team mates like Sehwag, Bhajji, Gautam. For god sakes he even did keep the wickets when we don't have a proper keeper. He was the scape goat then and he survived and pushed the boundaries to get the team better and now we are trying to kick him out because he is old. Congrats all.

  • on November 16, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    I'm not questioning the statistics. Scores of 100 and 50 sound great but if you watch him, you'll see the internal struggle he's going through. When once he used to keep the scoreboard ticking with his 1s and 2s and put the bad ones away to the boundary, he's now just blocking - keeping them from hitting his pads or stumps and even when he plays an attacking shot, he's not able to find the gaps as regularly as before. I have the greatest respect for Dravid. He, more than anyone else, has been the architect of away Test victories for India in the last decade but unless he can find a way to exorcise his inner demons and rediscover his confidence, he's going to get picked on by journalists, armchair commentators and facebook junkies who've never ever held a cricket bat in their lives.

  • JasonDrag on November 16, 2010, 18:05 GMT

    Excellent piece of writing. Totally agree with the last few lines. Very articulately put.

  • alfaomega on November 16, 2010, 17:19 GMT

    Guys...let's not blow things out of proportion...nobody in his right senses would think that a greenhorn like Pujara is an immediate replacement for Dravid. I still think Dravid is the best bet against the SA pace battery. Acknowledge it or not...we do need his staying power in SA...we need him to block up one end and hope that at least 1 or 2 of the other guys play around him and get a big score. Dravid has definitely been below par over the past couple of years...but let's not underestimate or undermine his importance to the test team. All we needed during this series was to groom Pujara by giving him a chance in all 3 tests by resting Sachin, Dravid and Laxman for a test each and play an extra bowler in place of the out-of-depth Raina. Do any of you guys feel he's test match potential? And who the hell feels Md.Kaif has a chance of playing international cricket again let alone captain the test side? We should have done better with Kaif...but sadly that time has come and long gone.

  • Mina_Anand on November 16, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    Why do we examine cricketers the moment they cross 35? Do we do the same for the younger players in the team? Isn't Gambhir struggling right now? Is that any reason that he should quit the game ? Surely, any cricket follower knows that there are ups and downs in cricket - even for the best in the game. And that these rough patches come up at any stage of a cricketer's career...why this perennial scrutiny of Dravid..

    Didn't Ian Chappell urge Sachin to quit? I would request 'experts' to 'look in the mirror' and admit that they have called terribly wrong. Maybe it is time to question why they carry on past their prime !

  • sachin9132 on November 16, 2010, 16:22 GMT

    Excellent writing...."Journalism overrates near memory." Even d last para...brilliant......lovly i must say...... Writings like this shud b published more often n Rahul u shud also write abt the ongoing matches... Let dravid take his time n he'll prove in coming sa tour y we need him.

  • muski on November 16, 2010, 13:11 GMT

    @Gulshan Grover- Mate please read before you comment and then you will who is nuts. Who has said that Sachin or Dravid should continue for ever.I only said performance is the key and not the age. Just becoz you want to plan transition can you ask them to hang up? What if Sachin has the physical ability to play till he is 42 and he is playing just as good as he is playing now. Would you like to waste those precious 5 years and ask him to quit now?. Its a wait and watch game. As someone as rightly said, I still dont think we have a replacement for Ganguly 3 years since his retirement - though most of us were after his throat for retirement.

  • on November 16, 2010, 12:38 GMT

    Dravid needs to announce his retirement immediately after the NZ test series. If only because I love to watch the Bhangra and Bharatanatyam. Players like Dhoni, Raina and who knows maybe Yuvi and Pujara will give you never before witnessed entertainment, dance forms on the Cricket field with chin music from Morkel and Steyn on the dance floor of Kingsmead or the Wanderers. Come off it guys! Dravid has hit 150 in this series with one hundred and one gritty 45.Bhajji is playing better than everyone else going by stats. He should open with Sehwag. Is it a coincidence that all matches have been played in the sub continent in the past few years and India is at the top. Is it a coincidence that dhoni is the captain and gets the biggest endorsement? Lastly, why Raina and not Pujara? Is there no conflict of interest that Srikkanth is the Chairman of selectors and in the CSK admin as well?

  • Aarcee on November 16, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    Thank God @Rumy1 isn't charged with the selection of the Indian cricket team. ;)

  • Rumy1 on November 16, 2010, 10:26 GMT

    Laxman is perhaps the best batsman in world right now. Gambhir must make way for Jaffer. It's time to get the country's best bat who is not in the team back into the team. Technically and temperamentally Jaffer is the most well equipped for No.2 position and is a much better option than Vijay in Tests. Dravid must retire now. He clearly is struggling these days. Time for him to bid adieu. Pujara must be brought back in. Raina must go. He is good for ODIs and T20s but doesn't have the technique or temperament for Tests. No, Yuvraj shouldn't replace Raina. Yuvraj has got enough Test chances and is good for ODIs & T20s like Raina. Rohit like Yuvraj doesn't merit a Test place either. Kaif deserves a Test chance provided Dhoni agrees. Kaif as a wounded tiger will grab the opportunity with both hands and could be a threat for MSD as a potential future Test captain. Else Badrinath merits a Test cap. Ishant needs to be brought back in the Test XI. He is a special talent. Ojha must be persisted

  • diri on November 16, 2010, 6:46 GMT

    when India arrive in SA later this year i belive that will be the end of Sachin and Dravid and India"s NO1 spot.....India are going to get hammerd by SA and then changes are going to have to be made to this indian team whether we like it or not

  • Biophysicist on November 16, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    @belichick007: When Kapil stayed on, he was blocking Javagal Srinath from playing. In fact Srinath had waited almost two years to get a regular place in the team and it happened only after Kapil was dropped (after which he retired).

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 16, 2010, 4:01 GMT

    @Sonali, you do realize that we are talking about cricket and not the poster of RD you had on your wall. Anyway, best team should play for India and many of us dont think RD is one of those 11 players now or has been for last 3 years. He is thirty eight and it is time for him to say good bye before that dreaded call from the selectors.

  • on November 16, 2010, 3:34 GMT

    Why Cricinfo i shell bent on disrupting RD's happiness ... it is true RD is not in his best of forms .. but still he is better than rest ... he is struggling but still perfoming beautifully .. helping in building the innings ... he is very mature he will ahng up his boots when he stops enjoying playing cricket .. let us give him a break .. stop bashing RD ...

  • kabe_ag7 on November 16, 2010, 3:16 GMT

    "The least one can do is enjoy it as it plays out. " Precisely. On another note, as somebody else said, lets have somebody fill Ganguly's boots first, at least, before we replace Dravid.

  • rtom on November 16, 2010, 3:13 GMT

    The problem is not about ageing or not in form. Its just that Dravid has set such a high standards in batting, that even a small hiccup here and there shows up quite predominantly !! This is the problem wih us.. Everytime Dravid, Tendulkar go to bat we expect so many things.. Even if he is out of form, he averages about 40 in Tests, which is more than so many of players in the team. For example, the way Dhini is batting, i guess i can bat better that him !!

  • Sonali_despande on November 16, 2010, 2:49 GMT

    Dhoni has to retire first in the current team. Then, we can think of replacing the senior players. Dhoni is being selected just as Captain and nothing else. He is not good batting nor wicket keeping. Dhoni, please make room for others.

  • Sonali_despande on November 16, 2010, 2:46 GMT

    Dravid's contribution to Indian cricket is immense. He has played a vital role in taking India to No.1 position. I think people just want to be limelight by commenting something even if it doesn't make sense. He is in his best form and I am sure he will cross 35 centuries. Please stop publishing articles about Dravid's age etc. If someone has to retire, then it should be Dhoni, Gambhir and Yuvraj and not Dravid.

  • Karthik_1982 on November 16, 2010, 2:33 GMT

    SA series will decide the rise or fall of Dravid... but lets not forget we are watching a rare breed fighting it out aganist un-tested youngsters. Enjoy the last Technician of the Game of Cricket. You won't find another player of his technique in this T20 world.

  • belichick007 on November 16, 2010, 1:19 GMT

    Kapil i do believe he totally overstayed for the bowling record. Lot of people cursed him still lingering around just for the record. Although there was no other real replacement either so in some ways it was not a big deal in hindsight.

  • belichick007 on November 16, 2010, 0:54 GMT

    i don't think a senior cricketer should retire just cause there are young ones waiting. Would you quit your job because younger ones are coming in? Its competition and whoever deserves the spot stays. So its the selectors who need to make a call to go on and invest in future and move on or ride the wave of current great player. Dont ask the player to hang up his boots.

    I dont think there is any disgrace when a senior fights for the place, its their last years and they are trying to make a last memorable efforts and even though it may seem like not happening. Its their personal choice to hang the boots.

    Its last years i wish Dravid to go out with some guns blazing.

  • landl47 on November 16, 2010, 0:53 GMT

    Of course a professional cricketer should go on as long as he wants to and is able to make the team. However, teams must always be aware of their needs, both present and future, and make selection decisions based on their best interests rather than those of any individual. India and Australia have had the luxury of some wonderful players over the last few years. However, Australia did not provide for a smooth succession and are now paying the price. India are in danger of doing the same thing; it's great to see 2 37 year-olds and a 35 year-old playing so well, but what happens in a year or two when they are all gone? India might find it has to endure a period in the wilderness because the young players have not been given the experience they need. That's the selectors' problem, not the players. They are entitled to put their name forward for as long as they wish.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 16, 2010, 0:24 GMT

    India is setting itself up for failure by relying on older players for unreasonable amount of time. Only time will tell but I think India will fail in SA and so will RD and then we will take the action we should have transitioned into gracefully anyway.

  • Gulshan_Grover on November 16, 2010, 0:22 GMT

    Muski you must be supernuts to suggest that Sachin and Dravid can play forever, Hema is only pointing out that there needs to be a transition plan in place whenever our superstars get saturated of cricket or in the case of Dravid he looses his abilities.

  • Phantom_XI on November 16, 2010, 0:14 GMT

    For some reason, the Indian team, from memory at least, always seem reluctanct to throw anybody out without a good reason and seem to tolerate a string of poor performance as long as the player concerned was seen as either unrealised talented player of great potential or great player of past who is about discover the old magic. Either or any other way,the indian team doesn't go through dramatic changes in personnel that other team seem to go through. And I think this has been a tremndous help in building a strong and more united team and seem to know their place & purpose. India tolerated talent albeit unfulfilled potential of Yuvraj so much that Dravid, VVS & Sachin can be tolerated for entirenity. India hasn't got to where they are without the 'fab four' + Shewag and I don' expect and hope that India dispense wih any of the old guard that have served them well over last two decades or so.

  • ironmonkey on November 16, 2010, 0:00 GMT

    Great article. I really like the way you write. I do believe that older players, especially of the class of Dravid, should be allowed to bow out when and how they choose to. After all, the example of Tendulkar has shown that even the best of them can pull off a Gooch. If there is a chance to see Dravid at his fluent best again, I, for one, definitely feel that we should allow ourselves that luxury.

  • J.C.Narasimhan on November 15, 2010, 22:37 GMT

    Dravid's class will be evident in SA. Still, he & Laxman are the only ones capable of pulling and hooking.

    Before Dravid retires, I think Dhoni has to retire. Nobody knows why he's still doing the rounds in Indian cricket in the first place. You select the best 11 and pick a captain from that lot. Not the other way. If Dhoni''s not captaining India, would he still be selected for India? We can have a better bastman-keeper surely than the eyesore technique that Dhoni has.

  • Azfar on November 15, 2010, 22:17 GMT

    Let me begin by saying that I like & admire Dravid so much...because he epitomises all that makes Cricket a great game...he is a throwback to an era gone by...watertight technique, flawless defence, indomitable will, great concentration, graceful and understated, poised in triumph and disaster...he is the perfect example of why cricket is called a gentleman's game....a true great of Indian Cricket. But it seems in this T20 generation of the game, his brand of Cricket no longer has the value which it had about a decade back. It is the era of 'Sehwag'. Run a ball is the norm. Batting the whole day for a hundred is frowned upon rather than admired as we did with Gavaskar. I want Dravid to go out in glory...which he deserves...I am sure Dravid will do that...that's the least we can do for our greats...grant them the choice of going when they want...no pressure....let's savour Tendulkar, Laxman & Dravid...who knows what the future has in store...

  • vaidyar on November 15, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    Great article! Like the refreshing change of perspective from the usual - he should retire, no wait its a second wind, but he's done so much... Your last sentence sums it up really well - enjoy it as it pans out. Maybe he'll rediscover it and go out in a bang. Maybe he'll be dumped from the test team like he was from the ODI team. But I think its time we just watch it as it pans out instead of making demands. And way too much is being written about every little failure, while every success is met with a rider and a raised eyebrow. Time to take a break, grab some popcorn and sit back and enjoy the climax for some really splendid careers. For some it might be a fairy tale, for others its might be a grim reminder that time and tide wait for no one...

  • Vilander on November 15, 2010, 18:32 GMT

    Dravid and India will most probably fail in SA, curtains for Dravid. But he is a great player, speaking of which, something tells me that when the indian greats retire the world would be short of great players in cricket for some time. Dont see a Hayden/Gilly/Sachin/Dravid popping up any where considering the fact that the only one close Kallis is also pretty old.

  • on November 15, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    In India only two SG(Sunil Gavaskar and Saurav Ganguly) and Kumble have retired gracefully...! and people did ask "why" rather than "when"..Dravid should really follow their footsteps and call it a day after SA series..But, be assured - Pujara/Kohli/Raina/Yuvi/Vijay can't fill up the big hole created by absence of dravid,laxman,ganguly or sachin...

  • nlambda on November 15, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    @Bilal_Choudry: If you try to belittle Kapil Dev, I am going to point out that Waqar Younis' last two deliveries were 70MPH (!!) and hit for boundaries. I know because I have the DVD of that 2003 WC match. So quit being petty and we won't be either :-). The author is entitled to invoke whatever examples he sees fit.

  • muski on November 15, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    @Hema Adikari- You must be nuts to suggest that Sachin hang up his boots just becoz of his age. Have you been seeing his test stats for the last 3 years. Its senseless comments like this which gather momentum and put pressure on performing players. Only in our country the old ( you can also read that as experienced) are considered worthless though our age old traditions speak to the contrary.Jack Hobbs I understand played till he was 46. If Boycott can play till 40, what prevents Sachin from doing so provided he is performing.I sincerely hope that Sachin does not go the way of Richards or Kapil for people to say " Oh thank God he retired". He should take a leaf out of Sunny's book. Iam sure Sachin has the head in him to take a call on this as and when the moment arrives.

  • henchart on November 15, 2010, 15:24 GMT

    Test Cricket is not about banging every ball for four but hanging in and building an innings which is what Dravid is doing .Let us leave him alone as long as it is not costing India a Test .Let us wait and watch how raina,gambhir and company face Steyn,Morkel and company in SA and also see how Dravid fares before judging Dravid.

  • thestunner316_15 on November 15, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    i admire dravid a lot... ever since he made his debut... even when in 97 he was the "slow scoring cancer" i still backed him coz he was that good... and he proved it in the early noughties, during the peak of his career... people should see what has happened to australia - too many retirements at the same time has brought them into turmoil... and its going to get worse if they lose the ashes.. this has happened to australia - which has the BEST cricket system in the world... I shudder to think what would happen to us... our problem is our 4 best batsmen (including ganguly) are almost the same age, and there was massive chance they would all retire at the same time... Thankfully, ganguly retired and allowed a younger guy to take up the mantle... You dont want to be in a position where u loose no more than 1 player in a year - just the ensure that our team isnt too weak.. but we have to plan the transition well and not like aus where mcgrath n warne retired in the same game..

  • gargi_vizag on November 15, 2010, 14:04 GMT

    i think performance is the key rather than age-sachin an prime example, he was looking out of sorts 2 years back and now seems to be playing his best cricket-- i feel Dravid would wait till the SA tour, if he is able to regain his form, than we may see him continue for a couple of years or it may be the last series for him. Dravid's struggle is within himself, i think the best thing for him to do is Let Go and not worry about being replaced. My money on Dravid to come up on top in SA.

  • Hema_Adhikari on November 15, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    I like Dravid but his desperation to cling forever has begun to grate on people. He does not have to prove anything to anyone but time and tide waits for none. He is quite old by cricketing standard and is so young for everything else, why not enjoy other aspects of life. I don't understand why he does not retire and let someone young blossom. I really think that both SRT and Dravid are dragging this a bit too long and I hope these guys are not remembered for drawn test matches and scratchy innings of their last few years.

  • Nishant2010 on November 15, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    It's funny how you talked only about the guys who struggled in the fag end of their career. What about Shane Warne??? It's always great to finish on a high. You not only end the career on your terms but also earn a lot of respect. The cricketers should themselves know when to retire and it should be when you are at your peak.

  • on November 15, 2010, 13:05 GMT

    I am only guessing but I think Dravid is little isolated in team I haven't seen MSD consulting Dravid or Dravid going to bowlers and giving them some advice, since in 2006 he backed every stupid decision made by greg chapell and almost ended carees of sehwag, ganguly and Tendulkar too!!! even in media I haven't seen tendulkar backing Dravid or MSD saying something about his form off late if he fails in 3 rd test in nagpur to make an impact we may find dravid bating at 5 or 6 in SA and bad SA tour means its curtains for Dravid

  • Truemans_Ghost on November 15, 2010, 12:56 GMT

    I'm a little baffled by some of the comments below. Are they reading the same article as me? It wasn't a demand that Dravid retire, if anything a statement that it is not our place to demand that Dravid- or any other cricketer- retire.

  • Bilal_Choudry on November 15, 2010, 12:41 GMT

    how convenient it is for the author to forget how miserable it was for Kapil dev to get his test wicket record when kumble was ordered to bowl outside the leg stump but he chooses to mention miandad who was still playing for the team and not for individual records

  • kaushalkavekar on November 15, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    this is not done at all....If you talk about Batting Side...Just MINUS Sachin, Rahul and Ganguly from last 15 years....Remains nuthing apart from laxman,yuvi,viru and who posses ability to play some powerful innings.. but these three are actual pillers of India Cricket and how could you just deny RD and SRT's current importance, RD was always been a scapegoat for critics, but definately he is one of the fastest 9000 runs getters in IDIs after being put out frm ODI team being slow player... Check India's best 10 pertnerships in last 10 years, RD is there :),Check India's top batsman top scores most of them has attained theirr high score with Dravid in test and ever in ODI too ... currently he is in bit low form ( but i know he'll figtht back.... ) last year avr. was 83 :) and this year's 38 not bad at all :) .... I think he has playd most of the roles in Indian team including Wicket keeper :) and he just not played, he performed well too.... CONSISTANLY :)

  • D.Sharma on November 15, 2010, 11:53 GMT

    It's all in the mind. Dravid needs to be given the license by the team, or he'll put a too big a price on his wicket like he has been doing.

  • RahulSachinVVSViru on November 15, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    I hope he scores 2 100's and a big double against SA and we win the series 2-0.He is simply an amazing player and quite capable of it. I have to agree with ram_sachin

  • Bilal_Choudry on November 15, 2010, 10:22 GMT

    where are the new guys for india ? What is the price india is paying for continuing on with this old horses ..... if they dont drop at least 2 of the aged players now and replace the other 2 in a year i am afraid indian test team is going to be weak in the batting department for the next 5 years ... plus it is not fair for younger players

  • Sridhar_m on November 15, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    Dravid is more known for Overseas performance rather than indian pitches.... all these 2 years we are playing more in home and the south africa tour will prove it...

  • tough_cool on November 15, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    Cant really understand the message you are trying to send or if you were trying to send any message at all, if you were sending some message then what is that, if not then why this article ? good usage of vocabulary doesn't always translate into a good article. Well coming to talk about Dravid's place in the team here is my two cents: Just wait till SA tour and we will know, India's not been doing many oversees tours in last 3 years and has not been playing with Pakistan, these tours used to be biggest opportunities for Dravid earlier, Dravid is India's best batsmen overseas and also India's best batsmen against Pakistan. Dravid's form must not be judged on last 3 years as India played mostly at home, and Dravid has always been not at his best playing in India, we can decide if Dravid or his batting has aged only after seeing him play in at least one overseas -- outside subcontinent -- and that will be the SA tour, since we have waited for until now so why not wait one more month.

  • on November 15, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    I watched his knock at Hyd yesterday.I was so moved to watch him struggle for runs.Not that he was playing and missing,not that he was defending every ball.It was because,he was hitting the ball so crisply,but straight to the fielders.Tried to use his footwork to find gaps, but found fielders instead. Even then he never gave up,struggled as if his life depended on his knock.But never attemped to play a rash or a technically incorrect shot.That is Dravid for you.He is such a pure batsman, who doesnt knew the other way of playing the game.Please RAHUL,we respect you for your achievements,but please step away now as a great.Please announce that SA tous will be your last.Please stop grinding yourself to win your place in the team.You dont need to,considering your achievements.Please retire by winning us a series in SA.That would be the most firring for you.once again kudos to your achievements.Hope you read this somehow, and understand.

  • on November 15, 2010, 8:17 GMT

    Dravid is still the better bet than the youngsters. we need to move in young players one by one and not revamp the entire team. Raina has to cement his place before pujara comes in for dravid. Yesterday was a fine example. Dravid was holding the fort and was moving slowly with laxman but the moment he left, the downfall started. Thanks that harbajan saved the day but still we are not ready to lose dravid yet.

  • on November 15, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    On target. Will not comment on Dravid's form, he's playing test cricket and fine for now. In a country with people emotionally connected to the game and its stars, we have to realize even Sachin playing after 2011 World Cup is questionable (Defnly in ODIs but how much longer in tests?). While he is as fit as ever, would be missed and it would hurt including yours truly, there's certainly nothing left for him to achieve and we are truly losing a chance to find a new promise. We need professional heads not emotional ones as decision makers. Handling Sachin would be the deciding factor of Indian board mentality.

  • Biophysicist on November 15, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    While Dravid might have struggled to score runs in the beginning at A'bad, his strike rate was about 45. Moreover, in the final analysis his slow century was important for drawing the test. Again at Hyd, his occupation at crease yesterday was very crucial in the context of the game. Had he tried to play a STUPID STROKE like Tendulkar or Raina and got out early in the morning, India might have been behind in the 1st innings and you guys would be gunning for his head. On the other hand, you praise Tendulkar - who has scored 40 in the first innings (at a strike rate considerably lower than Dravid's) and 12 in the second innings - for hitting 2 sixes earlier. Please note while Tendulkar has had a good two years recently, he also had a few miserable years earlier (averaging 17.0 in 2003 and 24.27 in 2006). RD's average was never below 30 for any calendar year. If you want to bring in Pujara, it should be in place of Raina who is not technically sound and hence unsuitable for test cricket.

  • Meety on November 15, 2010, 6:34 GMT

    Good article although I believe that Lara was more circumspect at the start of his innings near the end of his career. As for Dravid, the test will be in Sth Africa, I believe the biggest threat to ageing batsmen is pace. This is because the reflexes aren't what they use to be. Dravid, SRT & to a lesser extent VVS will have a litmus test in Sth Africa. The comment Waugh said about "didn't matter in the long run how someone goes out" - is not valid any more because of the availablity of stats guru devotees who trawl & filter statistics to bag or edify a player depending on their nationality. Dravid - if he fails in Sth Africa will forever be remembered as a great who stayed on too long. If SRT fails in Sth Africa, he will be have some anomolies in his LATTER years that will be highlighted through filtering. VVS if he fails in Sth Afirca will come off the least affected, because statistics do not do him justice - he will be remembered as a great cricketer who struggled in Sth Africa.

  • jimbond on November 15, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    I dont think people need to keep on writing about Dravid or anyone else (No one dares to write this about Sachin because the fans would lynch the writer). The job of the selection commitee is clear. To select the best 11 who are available to play-they could be 18 or 40, it doesnt matter. Players would know better than anyone else if they are improving/deteriorating, and they can take their own decisions to retire. One should leave it to the selection commitee and they should take an unbiased view based on current playing ability only, (and not on reputation or potential).

    Now if I were to feel that the other Rahul (Bhattacharya) is getting too old for this kind of thing, and needs to retire and give place to talented writers who can come up with something interesting, what should be his response?

  • ram_sachin on November 15, 2010, 6:05 GMT

    Stop bullying Dravid.... Its Just that he's lost his form... Remember ?? Form is temporary but Class is permanent.... Dravid is a undoubtedly a Master class... On the line of every deserving cricketing hero... So watch him out in the next few years...

  • RSG476 on November 15, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    While it is true that Dravid has not been as fluent as before, it is too early to ask for him to retire. I would suggest we discount the Chappell view of Indian cricket (both Ian and Greg) and focus on how best we can shape our team. As an example, Sourav Ganguly retired two years ago despite going through a second spring in his career. Despite all the promises of younger players and how Sourav "kept out" younger players, no one has been able to take his place - neither Yuvraj nor Raina or anyone else. So much for him keeping "younger and more talented people" out. Pujara is very promising. But it would be premature to drive Dravid out on a few lean seasons. The ability of this Indian side to play quality seam and swing is still suspect. That is where we need Dravid. For those clamouring for Pujara, remember someone called Badrinath ?

  • ragomsk on November 15, 2010, 5:49 GMT

    The problem with taking your approach is that we remember the beauty and style of a great player during his hay days and start to feel pity at his later day struggles.Like watching an uncle who lovespeanuts trying to eat them with his new dentures!

  • on November 15, 2010, 3:56 GMT

    Why do Cricinfo's editors keep on poke about Dravid's retirement? These so called critics/former cricketers can't see aged cricketers still playing the game.Why becoz they are jealous of their achievements even at this age. Get a life man..!

  • on November 15, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    I still remembers Sachin Tendulkar couple of days before his 25th birthday 1998 playing in Sharjah against Australia . He took India to final though India lost that match. It was an improbable target for India to win that match especially at the 42nd or 43rd over ,I'm not quite sure .However SRT was there in the crease and the way he went for the bowlers after achieving the RRR really evokes what cricketers such as SRT has given to cricket .

    Triple century partnership (318 against Srilanka ) Dravid and Ganguly in 1999 World Cup is another to remember.

    As for Ganguly his 1996 century knock against Pakistan in Dhaka was unforgettable.

    Yes , cricketers will age , cricket will look for new heroes . However players such as SRT , Dravid and Ganguly will always be remembered as the players they were . A century here and there by Dravid and SRT now-a-days will fail to efface the memories they have etched in peoples heart.

  • on November 15, 2010, 3:52 GMT

    Point 1 - Scratchy Dravid better than Raina, Pujara, Murali in Tests | Point 2 - In ODIs, with Dhoni, Raina, Sehwag, Sachin & Gambhir - do we need the flamboyance of Yuvi or a solid old hand like Dravid. Just saying.

  • cricket__fan on November 15, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    Dravid should retire now and give way to youngsters like Pujara. This is what Nasser Hussain did for Strauss and look where Strauss is today. Even if Dravid scores centuries in the two innings of the 3rd test against NZ, what will it achieve? Dravid is finished as a batsman as he can hardly score runs - all he does is "face" the delieveries and nothing esle.

  • cricky.com on November 15, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    Well written rahul For all that he had done,he deserves to select his place and time.No doubt on that.And no body is going to forget his contribution. But all said and done,it is painful to watch him these days.For almost two years,after each laboured innings,we thought,yes the foot is moving,did you see that coverdrive,he is coming back to form,just one more innings... But,now i believe Ian chappel has a point,when he says we are losing the advantage that Sehwag gives,when dravid comes one down Against south africa in south africa....ya it is his call to make..

  • kdcricket on November 15, 2010, 3:32 GMT

    Well written. Change is inevitable isnt it. Old has got to go and new leaders will emerge. However, credit to Dravid for trying

  • Nadeem1976 on November 15, 2010, 3:25 GMT

    Not a good article. You know you need to give respect to great players in test cricket. See the shot which Raina played yesterday and how ghambir played. I think Dravid is still better than young guns. I dont know why Indian dont want to rule in test cricket for long time. If you guys really want then shutup and let the experienced players play and rule the world as Australian did for 10 years. Give respect to legends as they come once in life time and dravid is legend like that do not disrespect him by doing that you will not disrespect test cricket. He is doing perfectly fine at this time for inida.

  • on November 15, 2010, 3:23 GMT

    Absolutely true !!! If the young guns really feel that they can better these greats of the past then they should show it in whatever chances they get...At present I cant say this about any youngster of India or even Austrailia...none of them has the potential for greatness...seems like there is gonna be a huge lull of great cricketers in few years time...

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 15, 2010, 3:18 GMT

    Very well written. Now wait for the hate mail full of "leave Dravid alone" sort of rant. I think RD was a peerless batsman from 2002-2006 but now his powers are on wane and it is obvious to anyone willing to see the reality of a champion but fairly old player struggling to match his own high standard. It is time The Wall saw the writing on the wall and gracefully retired to let a young buck come in and take charge. Yes, few of them will succeed or fail base on their own aptitude and talent but to say someone can play forever is idiotic to say the least. No one is irreplaceable no one is going to last forever. Let's be practical and make it as painless as possible.

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  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on November 15, 2010, 3:18 GMT

    Very well written. Now wait for the hate mail full of "leave Dravid alone" sort of rant. I think RD was a peerless batsman from 2002-2006 but now his powers are on wane and it is obvious to anyone willing to see the reality of a champion but fairly old player struggling to match his own high standard. It is time The Wall saw the writing on the wall and gracefully retired to let a young buck come in and take charge. Yes, few of them will succeed or fail base on their own aptitude and talent but to say someone can play forever is idiotic to say the least. No one is irreplaceable no one is going to last forever. Let's be practical and make it as painless as possible.

  • on November 15, 2010, 3:23 GMT

    Absolutely true !!! If the young guns really feel that they can better these greats of the past then they should show it in whatever chances they get...At present I cant say this about any youngster of India or even Austrailia...none of them has the potential for greatness...seems like there is gonna be a huge lull of great cricketers in few years time...

  • Nadeem1976 on November 15, 2010, 3:25 GMT

    Not a good article. You know you need to give respect to great players in test cricket. See the shot which Raina played yesterday and how ghambir played. I think Dravid is still better than young guns. I dont know why Indian dont want to rule in test cricket for long time. If you guys really want then shutup and let the experienced players play and rule the world as Australian did for 10 years. Give respect to legends as they come once in life time and dravid is legend like that do not disrespect him by doing that you will not disrespect test cricket. He is doing perfectly fine at this time for inida.

  • kdcricket on November 15, 2010, 3:32 GMT

    Well written. Change is inevitable isnt it. Old has got to go and new leaders will emerge. However, credit to Dravid for trying

  • cricky.com on November 15, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    Well written rahul For all that he had done,he deserves to select his place and time.No doubt on that.And no body is going to forget his contribution. But all said and done,it is painful to watch him these days.For almost two years,after each laboured innings,we thought,yes the foot is moving,did you see that coverdrive,he is coming back to form,just one more innings... But,now i believe Ian chappel has a point,when he says we are losing the advantage that Sehwag gives,when dravid comes one down Against south africa in south africa....ya it is his call to make..

  • cricket__fan on November 15, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    Dravid should retire now and give way to youngsters like Pujara. This is what Nasser Hussain did for Strauss and look where Strauss is today. Even if Dravid scores centuries in the two innings of the 3rd test against NZ, what will it achieve? Dravid is finished as a batsman as he can hardly score runs - all he does is "face" the delieveries and nothing esle.

  • on November 15, 2010, 3:52 GMT

    Point 1 - Scratchy Dravid better than Raina, Pujara, Murali in Tests | Point 2 - In ODIs, with Dhoni, Raina, Sehwag, Sachin & Gambhir - do we need the flamboyance of Yuvi or a solid old hand like Dravid. Just saying.

  • on November 15, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    I still remembers Sachin Tendulkar couple of days before his 25th birthday 1998 playing in Sharjah against Australia . He took India to final though India lost that match. It was an improbable target for India to win that match especially at the 42nd or 43rd over ,I'm not quite sure .However SRT was there in the crease and the way he went for the bowlers after achieving the RRR really evokes what cricketers such as SRT has given to cricket .

    Triple century partnership (318 against Srilanka ) Dravid and Ganguly in 1999 World Cup is another to remember.

    As for Ganguly his 1996 century knock against Pakistan in Dhaka was unforgettable.

    Yes , cricketers will age , cricket will look for new heroes . However players such as SRT , Dravid and Ganguly will always be remembered as the players they were . A century here and there by Dravid and SRT now-a-days will fail to efface the memories they have etched in peoples heart.

  • on November 15, 2010, 3:56 GMT

    Why do Cricinfo's editors keep on poke about Dravid's retirement? These so called critics/former cricketers can't see aged cricketers still playing the game.Why becoz they are jealous of their achievements even at this age. Get a life man..!

  • ragomsk on November 15, 2010, 5:49 GMT

    The problem with taking your approach is that we remember the beauty and style of a great player during his hay days and start to feel pity at his later day struggles.Like watching an uncle who lovespeanuts trying to eat them with his new dentures!