March 10, 2012

Stylish in the trenches

Rahul Dravid's singular achievement was in employing defensive batting to winning ends
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Exactly 11 years ago, down to the month, Rahul Dravid was playing second lead in India's greatest-ever Test victory, the second match of the three-Test series against Steve Waugh's all-conquering Australians. He scored 180; VVS Laxman, the hero of this Boy's Own Paper spectacular, scored 281. Together they won India the match (with some help from Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar on the bowling front) but once again Dravid had been Robin to someone else's Batman, best man in the ironic sense of being the bridegroom's chief aide.

The innings was a landmark in Dravid's cricketing life: it marked the end of the first phase (the first third, to be precise) of an extraordinary Test career. Dravid made his debut in England in 1996 and had by 2001 built a reputation as the anchor of India's batting line-up and its second-best batsman. If this had merely meant being shaded by Tendulkar, the greatest batsman of his generation, it might have been acceptable; what galled Dravid's admirers was that he was sometimes outshone by lesser men.

In his debut series in England, it was Sourav Ganguly, a fellow debutant, who took the honours with two centuries. Dravid missed his hundred on debut by five runs at Lord's and then scored an eighty in the next Test; it wasn't till his ninth Test that he scored his first hundred. At the end of 1998, after two and a half years of Test cricket and 24 Test matches, Dravid had two centuries, one of them against Zimbabwe. He had done enough to signal that he was a first-rate prospect and a fearless player of quick bowling, but the big, decisive innings eluded him regularly: eight times in this period he managed to get into the eighties and nineties without going on to score a hundred. He was in some danger of becoming a nearly-man.

Even after he hit his century-making stride with two centuries in a drawn Test in New Zealand and it became clear that he was India's greatest holding batsman since Sunil Gavaskar, others seemed to make the running in the team. Ganguly took over as captain when Tendulkar stepped away from the leadership reckoning, and Laxman's purple patch with the bat had people briefly wondering if the baton of batting greatness was to skip the intake of '96 and pass from the Little Master to a younger man.

You could see the pressure on Dravid that day in Kolkata, when Ganguly promoted Laxman, as the form batsman, to Dravid's No. 3 spot in the interests of the team. Dravid came in at No. 6 when the game seemed lost, and, as always, did what was best for the side: he held the line with Laxman till a lost position became a winning one. Unusually for him, when he got to his hundred he let the press-box sceptics know that he was still around. It was a turning point; having played a supporting role in the greatest Indian batting partnership of all time, he was about to come into his own.

For the next five years he was, by some distance, the best batsman in the team: better than Laxman, better than Virender Sehwag, better than the great Tendulkar. As batsman and as captain he helped India win Test series overseas in Pakistan, in the West Indies and in England. He was, for those years, Indian batting's Batman. His innings in Leeds and Adelaide were amongst the greatest ever played by an Indian abroad, and they were played in a winning cause. Through those glory years, he wasn't the Wall, he was what Gavaskar had been for the Indian team 30 years before, its bastion and its siege engine.

Steadfast elegance is an unlikely quality, a contradiction in terms. It was Dravid's great achievement throughout his career to fuse those virtues in his person

Dravid's extraordinary success in this middle period of his career (towards the end of this phase his batting average was just under 59) needs attention not just because it helped India's cause; it is important because it offers us an alternative template for batting greatness. Greatness in batting, specially in the last 20 years, has been associated with masterful aggression: Lara, Tendulkar, Ponting. In the same period, Dravid (along with Jacques Kallis) showed us masterfulness of another sort: great defensive batting put to winning ends. Dravid's originality as a batsman needs an essay to itself; suffice to say that by melding Gundappa Viswanath's wristy genius with Gavaskar's monumental patience and poise, he became that remarkable and original creature: a stylish trench-warrior.

The last third of his career saw an initial dip and then a remarkable return to form. The last three years were an autumnal golden age that should have ended with those three heroic centuries in England last summer. Never had Dravid's great qualities - courage, endurance, team spirit and technical excellence - been better showcased than in that late sunburst of genius and generosity. Generosity because here was a man being asked to open the batting for a broken team at the age of 39, a batting position he had always detested, and he complied without demur and with surpassing success.

Steadfast elegance is an unlikely quality, a contradiction in terms. It was Dravid's great achievement throughout his career to fuse those virtues in his person. To remember the wreckage amidst which he battled in a forlorn cause last summer, surrounded by unfit, unsound, feckless team-mates, is to know, with fear, what Indian cricket has lost with his retirement.

He played one series too many. It wasn't his fault; given his form in England, the challenge of an Australian tour, and the sort of hand he had always played for India overseas, he had to go. When he failed on that disastrous tour, along with the rest of India's old guard, he was, inevitably, the first to pack it in.

It is a retirement freighted with more meaning than merely the end of an individual career. Rahul Dravid was an old-fashioned cricketer: he was a Test match batsman who was great without being glamorous, brave without being brash. He was, if you like, the polar opposite of Virat Kohli, Indian cricket's new poster boy. When this honourable man called it a day, middle-aged fans across the subcontinent shivered: they felt a goose walk over Test cricket's grave.

Mukul Kesavan is a novelist, essayist and historian based in New Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY cnksnk on | March 12, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    To the question which batsman dominates bowlers, there are many answers, Sachin, Ponting, Sewag etc. For most of us dominance is synonymous of scoring runs and at a fast clip. One name which probably does not crop up is Dravid because of the pace at which he scores. However given that he has played more number of balls than any one else ( 30000 +) and has still scored over 13,000 runs shows his great dominance of the bowlers. being able to dominate a bowlers patience and make him bowl to your plan and not his is a symbol of dominance. Gillaspe in his article has indicated exactly this. if this is the definition of dominance ( and I suspect we should all look at this way)then there is no batsman who has dominated the bowlers over 15 years like Dravid. Kudos to the Wall..... It is going to be some time before we get some one like you...

  • POSTED BY SouthPaw on | March 12, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    To all those who have even the slightest doubt about Dravid's greatness, here's a question. With India 1 down for 10 and facing an uphill task to avoid follow on or defeat, who would you want to send in to bat, if you are the captain? Here is another: If your life depended on it, who, as a batsman, would you bank on?

  • POSTED BY bismoy on | March 11, 2012, 18:06 GMT

    Just because one player retire there is no need to make him the greatest.The fact is dravid was out of form from 2007 .He will not be missed as there are many batman who are better than him. Dravid was not good facing real fast bowler or real spins...Hence he was average batman in SA ,Australia or SL pitches whereas sachin score heavily.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 11, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    (Cont) This stirring speech was well received, with the Aussie journalist - Daniel Brettig - calling it a "meticulous, wide-ranging and fascinating speech ... perhaps the most significant delivered since the Oration began." High praise indeed. For sure, it was no ordinary "Best Man speech" given at weddings. Adds Brettig: "(he) proved very much the equal of a place that can rightfully be described as hallowed ground." That's the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. He got a standing ovation. Deservedly so. Dravid is a tough fighter & competitor, second to none. Far from the "cliched image" in the media of a "bridegroom's aide" or (worse) a proverbial "perennial bridesmaid." Only he does it his way - with a deep sense of fairness, discretion & valour. Simply put, Rahul is the living symbol of everything that's right about cricket. He is its self-professed Custodian. Entrust him. At this critical time, cricket needs him. He is indeed the game's BEST MAN: Best-in-class. Best-of-breed!!

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 11, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    Mukul - Rahul is arguably the BEST MAN in world cricket. He is the first non-Australian invited to deliver the 2011 Bradman Oration. His erudite insights covered a wide range of important topics relevant to the game. He stressed the need to balance all three formats, find "a middle path" while warning of dangers of overscheduling. He implored players to make sacrifices, be accountable to keep the game clean & viable. Above all, cricket must respect the fan, without whom there can be no cricket. In his honest views on Indian cricket, he called it a "microcosm" of India itself. It stands not "just for sport, but possibility, hope, opportunities" while rejecting the "cliched image" that it was only about money & power. Yes, he credited BCCI for spreading revenues & opening doors for aspiring cricketers - Zaheer, Munaf, Yadav, Sehwag, Dhoni - from all corners of the nation, especially small towns. And IPL for bringing foreign & local players together (diversity) in the dressing room! (TBC)

  • POSTED BY janthu on | March 11, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    well said scbiradar.... but still i feel sachin can be replaced ( virat rohit).. but seriously.. rahul cant be replaced.. thevoid is huge.. might have to try robin bist or saxena or give pujara a fairly long run...

  • POSTED BY scbiradar on | March 11, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    For over a decade now, the most pleasing sight in cricket has been watching Sachin n Dravid batt(l)ing together for India.. hard to imagine if anything can come close to it in the future.. One half of that pair wont play for India any more.. emotional time this for the Indian cricket fan.. Thank you Rahul for the memories

  • POSTED BY CricUniverse on | March 11, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    It is sad that Rahul Dravid will not play test cricket anymore. Mukul has summed up very well saying fans feeling goose walk over Test Cricket's grave. It is very hard to come to terms that we will not see him at No.3 for India anymore. Dravid's career has been phenomenal. The way he has conducted himself on and off the field is "Buddha" like. He can be called as Walking Buddha of Cricket. He is an inspiration and motivation for any person to do well in life. Wishing Rahul all the best in whatever he does in future.

  • POSTED BY Saurav4mAsom on | March 11, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    You marvelled the game with your presence..u were d epitome of humility, selflessness in a game which is pested with vested interests.....and stood out against all odds. I never wanted 2 see dis day nd i know these shoes are very big to fill...I ve been a religious follower of ur game and ur persona and will remain so 4ever... adieu Rahul and hearty wishes for a great future.

  • POSTED BY Yarms on | March 11, 2012, 4:12 GMT

    I have now read hundreds of comments and many articles about RD - not one is critical in any way or form........! This is the true mark of the man ...India's greastes in my book! Good luck Rahul to you and your family. Whatever you choose to do in your life you will be a major success.. You are a class cricketer and human being.

  • POSTED BY cnksnk on | March 12, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    To the question which batsman dominates bowlers, there are many answers, Sachin, Ponting, Sewag etc. For most of us dominance is synonymous of scoring runs and at a fast clip. One name which probably does not crop up is Dravid because of the pace at which he scores. However given that he has played more number of balls than any one else ( 30000 +) and has still scored over 13,000 runs shows his great dominance of the bowlers. being able to dominate a bowlers patience and make him bowl to your plan and not his is a symbol of dominance. Gillaspe in his article has indicated exactly this. if this is the definition of dominance ( and I suspect we should all look at this way)then there is no batsman who has dominated the bowlers over 15 years like Dravid. Kudos to the Wall..... It is going to be some time before we get some one like you...

  • POSTED BY SouthPaw on | March 12, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    To all those who have even the slightest doubt about Dravid's greatness, here's a question. With India 1 down for 10 and facing an uphill task to avoid follow on or defeat, who would you want to send in to bat, if you are the captain? Here is another: If your life depended on it, who, as a batsman, would you bank on?

  • POSTED BY bismoy on | March 11, 2012, 18:06 GMT

    Just because one player retire there is no need to make him the greatest.The fact is dravid was out of form from 2007 .He will not be missed as there are many batman who are better than him. Dravid was not good facing real fast bowler or real spins...Hence he was average batman in SA ,Australia or SL pitches whereas sachin score heavily.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 11, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    (Cont) This stirring speech was well received, with the Aussie journalist - Daniel Brettig - calling it a "meticulous, wide-ranging and fascinating speech ... perhaps the most significant delivered since the Oration began." High praise indeed. For sure, it was no ordinary "Best Man speech" given at weddings. Adds Brettig: "(he) proved very much the equal of a place that can rightfully be described as hallowed ground." That's the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. He got a standing ovation. Deservedly so. Dravid is a tough fighter & competitor, second to none. Far from the "cliched image" in the media of a "bridegroom's aide" or (worse) a proverbial "perennial bridesmaid." Only he does it his way - with a deep sense of fairness, discretion & valour. Simply put, Rahul is the living symbol of everything that's right about cricket. He is its self-professed Custodian. Entrust him. At this critical time, cricket needs him. He is indeed the game's BEST MAN: Best-in-class. Best-of-breed!!

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | March 11, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    Mukul - Rahul is arguably the BEST MAN in world cricket. He is the first non-Australian invited to deliver the 2011 Bradman Oration. His erudite insights covered a wide range of important topics relevant to the game. He stressed the need to balance all three formats, find "a middle path" while warning of dangers of overscheduling. He implored players to make sacrifices, be accountable to keep the game clean & viable. Above all, cricket must respect the fan, without whom there can be no cricket. In his honest views on Indian cricket, he called it a "microcosm" of India itself. It stands not "just for sport, but possibility, hope, opportunities" while rejecting the "cliched image" that it was only about money & power. Yes, he credited BCCI for spreading revenues & opening doors for aspiring cricketers - Zaheer, Munaf, Yadav, Sehwag, Dhoni - from all corners of the nation, especially small towns. And IPL for bringing foreign & local players together (diversity) in the dressing room! (TBC)

  • POSTED BY janthu on | March 11, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    well said scbiradar.... but still i feel sachin can be replaced ( virat rohit).. but seriously.. rahul cant be replaced.. thevoid is huge.. might have to try robin bist or saxena or give pujara a fairly long run...

  • POSTED BY scbiradar on | March 11, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    For over a decade now, the most pleasing sight in cricket has been watching Sachin n Dravid batt(l)ing together for India.. hard to imagine if anything can come close to it in the future.. One half of that pair wont play for India any more.. emotional time this for the Indian cricket fan.. Thank you Rahul for the memories

  • POSTED BY CricUniverse on | March 11, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    It is sad that Rahul Dravid will not play test cricket anymore. Mukul has summed up very well saying fans feeling goose walk over Test Cricket's grave. It is very hard to come to terms that we will not see him at No.3 for India anymore. Dravid's career has been phenomenal. The way he has conducted himself on and off the field is "Buddha" like. He can be called as Walking Buddha of Cricket. He is an inspiration and motivation for any person to do well in life. Wishing Rahul all the best in whatever he does in future.

  • POSTED BY Saurav4mAsom on | March 11, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    You marvelled the game with your presence..u were d epitome of humility, selflessness in a game which is pested with vested interests.....and stood out against all odds. I never wanted 2 see dis day nd i know these shoes are very big to fill...I ve been a religious follower of ur game and ur persona and will remain so 4ever... adieu Rahul and hearty wishes for a great future.

  • POSTED BY Yarms on | March 11, 2012, 4:12 GMT

    I have now read hundreds of comments and many articles about RD - not one is critical in any way or form........! This is the true mark of the man ...India's greastes in my book! Good luck Rahul to you and your family. Whatever you choose to do in your life you will be a major success.. You are a class cricketer and human being.

  • POSTED BY tuktukboomboom on | March 11, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    Dravid! What a great player.. He will definitely be missed. Truly a remarkable player especially for test. In his prime days, he was a major threat even in odi's and despite the criticism he has gotten recently for playing slow cricket, he knows how to play the game better than most batsmen nowadays. I would definitely rank Dravid among the greats of India. He truly was at the core of india's brilliant batting lineup with Ganguly, Tendulkar, Sehwag. Few have accomplished the feats that Dravid has accomplished, and even fewer have shown such this level of professionalism off the field. Lots of love from a Pakistani

  • POSTED BY elsmallo on | March 10, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    I loved watching Dravid bat: just they way he seemed to treat every ball like it was his first - eyes on the ball. He wasn't an inflexible blocker - loads of players play the coached forward press with monotonous regularity - he actually tailored his blocks to suit the ball. As a connossier of blocking this made him by far the best to watch; much better than Kallis whose blocks can be quite boring. And he had a lovely on-drive. His play elevated the series in England last year which was boring in lots of other ways. I think in that last series against Aus you could see his eyes were going a bit, which was a shame; good time to go. I modelled my own game on guys like Dravid to an extent and hope he won't be among the last of his kind in the international game.

  • POSTED BY Htc-Baseball on | March 10, 2012, 14:19 GMT

    @ABShetty: Your post was so heartening to read,thanks mate, Am a person who realised Why and how Wall is better than the other legends of his Generation and from that moment started fearing this moment of his exit.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | March 10, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    It is not just technique or hunger for runs that makes a player special and irreplacable. It is a combination of several qualities starting from family background, schooling,home development, and social ease which makes Dravid special quite apart from his cricketing pedigree and courage.While I would be most delighted to have either Pujara or Rahane or Mukund replace Rahul some day at least in the cricketing sense, one has to be a personality, not someone relevan tonly in the khadoos sense. When Sanjay Manjrekar first came in he did look the part particularly after the Pakistan tour of 1989.But then his inflexibility in regard to his too deeply set technique proved to be his undoing aftter the Australian tour of 91-92. Dravid too had failed on his first trip to Australia in 1998. But then he had the guts and intelligence to make corrections much as he did in the ODIs. When Dravid returned to Australia in 2003/04 we saw in him how intelligence and charecter were relevant for a sportsman

  • POSTED BY ABShetty on | March 10, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    It is difficult to grow up in India and not to be bitten by the obsession called Cricket. For me the moment of truth came in 1996. And since then it has been a life similar to that of any other Indian. So, why do I feel like expressing me today….why after 16 years…

    It is because my obsessions with cricket was anchored not by the player with a long surname who has demolished bowlers across the continents - but by a cricketer who held back bowlers across the globe - The Wall.

    RD the great Wall of Indian cricket is now moving on…..

    Since 1996 I have never missed a single innings which RD played (I never bothered about match result, but I silently prayed that RD gets glory for his efforts). I bunked my classes each and every time when RD was bating during my educational life. I fought with my classmates or friend who ever criticized RD and moreover I went the extra mile to convince them to stop talking against RD

    My favorite gifts from Indian mega cities were really merchandise endors

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | March 10, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    Overall to me Dravid wins a place in the top dozen batsman of all time and the top 5 one down batsman of all. At one time(in 2006) in ratings analysis he even surpassed Tendulkar.Had he maintained the same tempo after 2006 he would have been rated even above Lara and Tendulkar.(scored 8000 runs averaging over 58 runs)In a crisis I vote Dravid the best batsman of the modern era.. Of the specialists in a crisis I rate Dravid the best of all, ahead of Alan Border,Javed Miandad ,Ken Barrington,Ian Chappel,Steve Waugh or Jacques Kallis.In an analysis conducted by Anantha Narayana on cricinfo Dravid is amongst the 5top batsman since 1969 and amongst the 12 best ever.Dravid lacked the flamboyance of a Lara,Tendulkar or Ponting but when the chips were down he outscored all of them. I have never seen batsman so powerful in the mind. Above all one of the most modest and graceful human beings to have stepped on a cricket field .

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | March 10, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    In England in 2002 he scored 3 centuries in 3 straight innings.Between 2002 and 2004he hit 4 double centuries in 15 tests .At his peak, from 2001-2006 Dravid was arguably the best batsman in the World.(scored 5727 runs at 62.25) 12 of his first 24 centuries were in winning causes and he overshadowed Tendulkar in overseas test wins.In 2006 Dravid had the highest overseas test average in wins for his country by any great batsman.He also had the 4th best average for any batsman in overseas tests of 66 runs behind only ,Bradman ,Hammond and Barrington..Overall to me Dravid wins a place in the top dozen batsman of all time and the top 5 one down batsman of all. At one time(in 2006) in ratings analysis he even surpassed Tendulkar.Had he maintained the same tempo after 2006 he would have been rated even above Lara and Tendulkar.(scored 8000 runs averaging over 58 runs)In a crisis I vote Dravid the best batsman of the modern era.. Of the specialists in a crisis I rate Dravid the best of a

  • POSTED BY harshthakor on | March 10, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    Sadly,Rahul Dravid has bade farewell to International Cricket. No more will we witness this great character on a cricket field whose very presence was a sight to behold. Few batsmen ever in the game possessed greater character and exhibited such sound temperament.Dravid reminded you of a military commander displaying ice-cool nerves in war, especially when his army was facing imminent defeat. He was literally an impregnable wall.Dravid's tenacity was simply phenomenal. From the bouncy Australian tracks to the seaming English surfaces to the turning subcontinent tracks,Dravid was an ultimate master. The concentration he revealed reminded you of a monk meditating.

    Technically, he was the best batsman of his era and arguably with Sunil Gavaskar technically the best batsman to have played for India. His defence was watertight and he wore down the best of bowling attacks like a boulder. His grammar was near perfect displayed by the timing of his footwork, which resembled a programmed mach

  • POSTED BY SagirParkar on | March 10, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    @Nadeem.. the Wall is still there for all to see in its glory.. it has now become a monument that people pay a pilgrimage to.. The Wall maybe cracked but it is far from gone.. It has not crumbled and neither has it disappeared..

  • POSTED BY SagirParkar on | March 10, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    " To remember the wreckage amidst which he battled in a forlorn cause last summer, surrounded by unfit, unsound, feckless team-mates, is to know, with fear, what Indian cricket has lost with his retirement." this statement succinctly sums up the tremendous value of Dravid's contribution to the team. Even Tendulkar will not deny that he got to play his fabulous shots fearlessly because Dravid was holding the fort up at the other end..

  • POSTED BY Arpra on | March 10, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    "Polar opposite of Virat Kohli" and thank God for that! Since the big 3 have set very high standards of onfield and off field behaviour, the Kohlis, the Praveen Kumars and their awful boorishness will take some getting used to....

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | March 10, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    @Majr, am not sure about irreplaceable part as India keeps producing technicians but whether they would have the cussed ambition to be part of the pantheon of greats that Dravid aimed for is moot(and thereby ended next only to SRT in agg. runs).Pujara is sound, Rohit has a classical technique (of course everybody knows temp suspect though in all fairness yet to play a Test),Rahane though unproven seems to be bred from the old Bombay school of batting (67 FC average not a joke). S. Manjrekar came immediately after SMG but failure to continuously refine/recalibrate his technique (unlike RD) led to an average career. BTW, RD was hit (age?) by a Bangladeshi "pacer"! in 2010 which led to him missing the Test series against his bogey team SA (Badri's debut series), plus Kasprowicz hit him in the Nagpur '04 Test. Another Indian trench warrior was Gaekwad who I call the WI specialist playing 22 of his 40 Tests against WI (of course like Atherton with a sub-40 average which mask their courage).

  • POSTED BY Sackz on | March 10, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    Very well composed. Thanks for writing this. I was starting to wonder where the good essays went that defined cricinfo.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | March 10, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    Rahul Dravid and Sunil Gavaskar were without doubt two of the most courageous players of fast bowling the world will ever get to see. I remember,just before the Sehwagesque innings Emancipator007 talks about that Sunny played at the Kotla in the winter of 1983,India had been thrashed by the West Indies at Kanpur, Malcolm Marshall had created the symbol of Carribean dominance of that decade by knocking out the bat from Gavaskar's ( a great even then) hand in the Kanpur Test. Far from being humiliated Sunny pulled out the hook shot from his bag for the next match in Delhi. The hundreds that he and Vengsarkar made were out of the world even if they were on a placid track. Nevertheless it was a great comeback by Sunil, who later in that series was to equal Bradman in the number of centuries. 29.Dravid like Jimmy Amarnath was the blood and gore trencher who would never say die. I cannot remember Dravid ever being hit like Amarnath was in his career.Dravid as we will see is irreplacable.

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | March 10, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    I suddenly realized that with the seriousness and thoughtfulness that Dravid puts into his occasional writing pursuits (much like his batting), he has the potential to write a book on "The Art of Technical Batting" and make it almost like a manual of this era much like Bradman's "The Art of Cricket" was of the 20th century. SRT is no less a purist in batting technique (often overlooked cos of his other batting "gifts" and incandescent talent) honed in the unique Bombay school of batsmanship but obviously won't have the nous and articulation (without ghosting unlike RD and Gavaskar) to pen such a tome. Surprising that SMG who was a superb author during his playing days never got down to writing such a manual -being the foremost batting technician of all-time with possibly only Jack Hobbs (Boycs can say all he wants) matching him.

  • POSTED BY SriUSA on | March 10, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    Wonderful tribute to a great cricketer of this era. We have seen Tendulkar, Lara and the lilies of Ponting. But Dravid I'd unique for sure. Nobody like him. In my opinion, he should start a coaching center work to save test cricket.

  • POSTED BY drvvs on | March 10, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    "When this honourable man called it a day, middle-aged fans across the subcontinent shivered: they felt a goose walk over Test cricket's grave" Much younger than middle age...but still felt the same..!

  • POSTED BY bharatratna on | March 10, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    I know it is a tribute to one legendary cricketer, but this does not mean you need to insult other legends. Calling Ganguly as one of "lesser men" is simply ridiculous. Ganguly was at least partly responsible for giving Dravid the space and freedom to flower.

  • POSTED BY kars.ron on | March 10, 2012, 6:24 GMT

    The key point is Batmans have changed over the course of time but Robin remained the same throughout.

  • POSTED BY Longmemory on | March 10, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    A tribute worthy of a classic batsman and career. Shabash!

  • POSTED BY AtticusFinch on | March 10, 2012, 5:00 GMT

    Wonderful Article. Have read practically all the Tributes of the Wall in the last couple of days and this one really captures the esence of the Man and the Player. The last paragraph summarises all that was great about Rahul Dravid, the Cricketer. One of the finest Sportsmen of all time and a Gentleman.

  • POSTED BY RRam on | March 10, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    The one cricketer even in India's Golden Age who always said the right thing, did the right thing as well as appear to be the biggest team man in a core of 7/8 players. India's golden age of the last decade would not have been, as it was, without Dravid erecting his monuments. Truly saddened with his retirement announcement initially but looking back I think Rahul has again demonstrated his incredible timing as well as his being the consummate team man thinking of the need for Indian cricket to start rebuilding now. Doff my hat to one of the greatest cricketers to have played the game and definitely one of the one's with that invisible quality - 'Character'! Wish him well and really hope that people like him and Kumble come to the forefront as cricket administrators & mentors for India's young cricketers! Waiting for the day we unearth the next Rahul Dravid! Best Wishes Rahul and thanks for the memories! Truly privileged to watch you battle.

  • POSTED BY Khalifullah on | March 10, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    Man of GEM and iconic retired from test cricket. It is hard to believe- Khalifullah (Mumbai Indian) from Dubai

  • POSTED BY andylaksh1 on | March 10, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    You definitely saved the best for the last line. This is not just a cricketer retiring, more like end of an era.

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | March 10, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    Finally,a RD tribute writer has got it right about RD "employing defensive batting to winning ends" and about RD's trench warrior approach. But let it be said that there was no way of knowing VVS' 281 and RD's 180 were match-winning without Bhajji's 13 wickets (hardly "SOME HELP" ).Otherwise VVS's 281 would have acquired the status of Atherton's great-escape innings in '95 Joburg rather than the epochal innings it is considered now.Of late, Kesavan has become a Gavaskar baiter due to SMG's so-called money-hungry nature and is disingenuously just pointing out "poise and patience" as SMG's prime virtues. SMG was a Stylist NO LESS (with the ability to attack at WILL unlike RD) with half of his 100s being attractive knocks and was the ONLY batsman of that era with the most spectacularly attacking innings of 90 and 121 against Marshall/Holding/Daniel at Sehwaguesque SR in '83. Not one among Gooch,Lamb,Border,Jimmy,Vengy (others who did well against WI) had the balls to play such innings.

  • POSTED BY TimeKiller on | March 10, 2012, 2:26 GMT

    WOW.... he battled in a forlorn cause last summer, surrounded by unfit, unsound, feckless team-mates, is to know, with fear, what Indian cricket has lost with his retirement.

  • POSTED BY Nadeem1976 on | March 10, 2012, 2:26 GMT

    Today is a sad day in test cricket history because test cricket has lost it's one of the most beloved sons. He was WALL for test cricket, now this WALL is gone, i don't know how long test cricket will survive without it's WALL.

    He was master technician and great ambassador of cricket. This is a big gap. I don't know who is going to fill in.

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  • POSTED BY Nadeem1976 on | March 10, 2012, 2:26 GMT

    Today is a sad day in test cricket history because test cricket has lost it's one of the most beloved sons. He was WALL for test cricket, now this WALL is gone, i don't know how long test cricket will survive without it's WALL.

    He was master technician and great ambassador of cricket. This is a big gap. I don't know who is going to fill in.

  • POSTED BY TimeKiller on | March 10, 2012, 2:26 GMT

    WOW.... he battled in a forlorn cause last summer, surrounded by unfit, unsound, feckless team-mates, is to know, with fear, what Indian cricket has lost with his retirement.

  • POSTED BY Emancipator007 on | March 10, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    Finally,a RD tribute writer has got it right about RD "employing defensive batting to winning ends" and about RD's trench warrior approach. But let it be said that there was no way of knowing VVS' 281 and RD's 180 were match-winning without Bhajji's 13 wickets (hardly "SOME HELP" ).Otherwise VVS's 281 would have acquired the status of Atherton's great-escape innings in '95 Joburg rather than the epochal innings it is considered now.Of late, Kesavan has become a Gavaskar baiter due to SMG's so-called money-hungry nature and is disingenuously just pointing out "poise and patience" as SMG's prime virtues. SMG was a Stylist NO LESS (with the ability to attack at WILL unlike RD) with half of his 100s being attractive knocks and was the ONLY batsman of that era with the most spectacularly attacking innings of 90 and 121 against Marshall/Holding/Daniel at Sehwaguesque SR in '83. Not one among Gooch,Lamb,Border,Jimmy,Vengy (others who did well against WI) had the balls to play such innings.

  • POSTED BY andylaksh1 on | March 10, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    You definitely saved the best for the last line. This is not just a cricketer retiring, more like end of an era.

  • POSTED BY Khalifullah on | March 10, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    Man of GEM and iconic retired from test cricket. It is hard to believe- Khalifullah (Mumbai Indian) from Dubai

  • POSTED BY RRam on | March 10, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    The one cricketer even in India's Golden Age who always said the right thing, did the right thing as well as appear to be the biggest team man in a core of 7/8 players. India's golden age of the last decade would not have been, as it was, without Dravid erecting his monuments. Truly saddened with his retirement announcement initially but looking back I think Rahul has again demonstrated his incredible timing as well as his being the consummate team man thinking of the need for Indian cricket to start rebuilding now. Doff my hat to one of the greatest cricketers to have played the game and definitely one of the one's with that invisible quality - 'Character'! Wish him well and really hope that people like him and Kumble come to the forefront as cricket administrators & mentors for India's young cricketers! Waiting for the day we unearth the next Rahul Dravid! Best Wishes Rahul and thanks for the memories! Truly privileged to watch you battle.

  • POSTED BY AtticusFinch on | March 10, 2012, 5:00 GMT

    Wonderful Article. Have read practically all the Tributes of the Wall in the last couple of days and this one really captures the esence of the Man and the Player. The last paragraph summarises all that was great about Rahul Dravid, the Cricketer. One of the finest Sportsmen of all time and a Gentleman.

  • POSTED BY Longmemory on | March 10, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    A tribute worthy of a classic batsman and career. Shabash!

  • POSTED BY kars.ron on | March 10, 2012, 6:24 GMT

    The key point is Batmans have changed over the course of time but Robin remained the same throughout.

  • POSTED BY bharatratna on | March 10, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    I know it is a tribute to one legendary cricketer, but this does not mean you need to insult other legends. Calling Ganguly as one of "lesser men" is simply ridiculous. Ganguly was at least partly responsible for giving Dravid the space and freedom to flower.