Aakash Chopra
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Former India opener; author of Beyond the Blues, an account of the 2007-08 Ranji Trophy season

A cricketer most evolved

Every time Rahul Dravid found a glitch in his batting, he did everything he could to correct it. Even when it required superhuman effort

Aakash Chopra

March 19, 2012

Comments: 69 | Text size: A | A

Rahul Dravid guides one through point, England v India, 1st Test, Lord's, 4th day, July 24, 2011
Rahul Dravid: not a natural off-side player © Getty Images
Enlarge

I still fondly recall that brisk summer evening in Australia in early 2004 - we'd levelled the series for first time in a long time in that country*. Rahul Dravid, my senior, my hero, sat next to me in a rather cheery dressing room, and I hesitantly, anxiously probed him about my batting, hoping to get his two-cents. And he, as always, was eager to help. Besides the many things that I picked up from him that day, the one that really stuck was the first step towards greatness - his honesty and humility.

Dravid, in his classic self-effacing way, had confessed to being, for most part, an on-side player. The bowlers had come to know of his strengths and had stopped feeding him on his legs. He had to find another way to score runs, he admitted. Which was how he became one of cricket's outstanding off-side batsmen.

That was an overwhelming revelation for me - what seemed like Dravid's second nature was in fact practised and perfected. Just a few days ago he'd stunned everyone with his stupendous double-century in Adelaide. This was an innings punctuated by an array of breathtaking cover drives, piercing the smallest of gaps with surgical precision. How could one believe that his impeccable off-side play didn't come naturally to him, after all?

It was only my second series for India, but Dravid had already become my go-to man, my mentor, with regards to both technical and temperamental queries. His confession had been in response to my concern about my inability to score big runs despite getting good starts - he didn't have to expose the chinks in his armour, but he did. To be simple is to be "great".

Years later that chat with Dravid made me go back and search for videos of his batting during the early part of his career. I wanted to know if the confession had just been an attempt to pep me up. What I found out made me respect Dravid, the man and the batsman, even more.

When he started out, Dravid used to crouch a lot more in his stance, with his head falling over a bit towards the off side. His bat, coming from the gully region, forced him to make a huge loop at the top of the backlift. Both the backlift and the falling head allowed him to punish anything that was even marginally on his legs. His wide backlift also made him a good cutter of the ball, provided there was width on offer. On the flip side, it meant fewer front-foot strokes on the off side. In fact, mid-off was rarely brought into play. During one of our recent chats, Dravid said that because he grew up playing on jute matting wickets, he became a good back-foot player and also strong on the legs, for the bounce allowed him to work the balls, even the ones pitched within the stumps, towards the on side. He was a bottom-hand dominated player, he said.

 
 
For him, change didn't just mean survival. It also meant the maturity to create endlessly. While he intentionally worked on his trigger movement and playing beside the line, things like his stance - which was more upright in the latter half of his career - and the straighter descent of the bat happened unconsciously over the period
 

The knowledge of where his off stump was, coupled with immense patience, ensured Dravid continued to score bucketful of runs in Test cricket, in spite of the bowlers finding him out. Runs were coming but not as briskly as he would have liked. He had to spend a longer time at the crease to accumulate those runs, which eventually cost him his place in the ODI set-up. He needed to find ways to open up his off-side play. That's when he chose not to get behind the line of the ball at all times while also starting to use the top hand a lot more.

An ardent follower of the Gavaskar school of batting, Dravid, in the beginning, would go back and across before the ball was bowled, and then further across to get behind the line of the ball. While this method worked well in Test cricket, it needed some tinkering to suit the shorter format. So, instead of going back and across, he preferred going back and back to ensure he stayed besides the ball more often, which allowed him to free his arms while playing through the off. These tweaks were successful and Dravid went on to play his finest cricket in that period.

There's something about batting that is so addictive. Whenever you think you have mastered your biggest shortcoming and can breathe easy, something else unwanted creeps into your system. While the back-and-back trigger movement worked really well for Dravid, his front foot started going a bit too across. The movement across the stumps allows you to cover the swing a little better but it also blurs your judgement of lines, with regard to deciding which deliveries to play and which to leave alone.

Mitchell Johnson, with his line that goes across the right-hander, forced Dravid to play at deliveries he would have left alone if his front foot had not gone so far across. And uncharacteristically, Dravid got out - fishing outside the off stump - on more than a few occasions.

Once again, the challenge was to find a solution to this latest technical glitch.

Dravid's answer was to completely eliminate the trigger movement and stay perfectly still till the bowler released the ball.

Now, it may sound like a simple adjustment, but a batsman will tell you that it is perhaps the toughest one to make. Even though the movement occurs before the ball is bowled, and is only a few millimetres, it's as important as the movement after the ball is bowled. The trigger movement sets the body in motion and allows it to get into right positions after the ball is bowled. Eliminating the trigger movement is like engaging the fifth gear right after turning on the ignition. The catch is that it will not work if you are constantly thinking about not moving. The only thing you should be thinking about while standing is your response to the delivery.

Even though it must have taken hundreds of hours of practice to get it into his system, so as to make it absolutely seamless, Dravid went through the grind. Nothing great was ever accomplished without passion.

Dravid went on to have the best Test series of his career, in England in 2011. He was not only getting runs but was also extremely fluent.

Yet this adjustment meant he didn't have a second line of defence, which meant that if he got beaten he'd get bowled and not trapped leg-before. And that's what happened in Australia.


Rahul Dravid was bowled by Peter Siddle off a no ball, Australia v India, 1st Test, Melbourne, 2nd day, December 27, 2011
Dravid eliminated the trigger movement to open up his off-side play but it made him susceptible to getting bowled © Getty Images
Enlarge

Dravid, all along, had been well aware of the risks involved. But it was a gamble he was ready to take; he gave something to get something in return. Much hullabaloo was made of Dravid's dismissals in Australia - as if being bowled was dishonourable. Getting dismissed essentially means getting beaten by a bowler. What difference does it make whether one is bowled, lbw or caught behind?

Knowing Dravid, he would have found ways, yet again, to address this slip and would have continued to play successfully. For him, nothing was unachievable. And perhaps that's what made Rahul Dravid the most evolved cricketer of this era. For him, change didn't just mean survival. It also meant the maturity to create endlessly. His desire for growth was intense enough to work on both conscious and unconscious levels: while he intentionally worked on his trigger movement and playing beside the line, things like his stance - which was more upright in the latter half of his career - and the straighter descent of the bat happened over the period.

In cricket, like in life, it is not the most talented who survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones who are most responsive to change. Dravid's career was an eternal quest to get better. Everything he did was to, as he puts it best, "deliver the bat at the right time".

*March 19, 1020 GMT: A correction was made to state that India had levelled a series in Australia after a long time, and not for the first time

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

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Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (March 22, 2012, 1:31 GMT)

Dravid may or may not be the most technically correct batsman of his time, but no one can deny that he was a consummate team player. He would open for India, keep wickets, change his batting position as per team's needs. Contrast that with Selfish Sachin who would never change his batting position.

Posted by PallathZ on (March 21, 2012, 13:01 GMT)

Akash,Appreciate ur different perspective on Dravid.Conquer with ur views on him spending longer time at the crease in scoring his runs.Have always believed that Dravid,a legend in his own rights..had his issues when playing genuine pace & spin.He was bamboozled by Warne & have seen him struggling to put bat to ball against Akram.Analyze his runs. hasn't done well against Aussies & SA.Always believed that by occupying the crease for a longer period of time without runs put back the opposition in a stronger position as they could try out different things & puts the batsmen in the other end in a strange position where the continuity is lost.Dont agree that getting bowled has no significance..Does boost the bowler no end when he finds the Wall cracks..& not a good sign when from the time you begin you have been told to always try protecting your stumps.

Posted by Saisuman on (March 20, 2012, 22:40 GMT)

What an article! Superb,pure cricketing article,full of technicalities....I have seen Rahul batting on field,i would say He is a superlative cricket scholar,every time thinking to improve,it is true that his batting abilities comprise both talent and mental power. I would love to add he does too much research in his batting what this article suggests. Hats off Mr Rahul Dravid....Thanks to Aakash for this terrific article full mark to him.....

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (March 20, 2012, 21:24 GMT)

He's the last of a dying breed of batsmen. One of obdurancy, sheer will and sheer bloody mindedness. Some of his innings paled even the myths of Gandalf the Grey fighting a dragon on the edge of a mountain precipice with the words "Thou Shalt Not Pass" bellowing into the heavens. Words that may well have been written for Dravid.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

Simple and superbly articulated. Kudos to Aakash for having depicted and essayed this so subtly. This gives further insight into the "intense preparation" behind Dravid' character. Well done Aaakash...was a lovely read.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

akash chopra has gained lot of respect from me.....

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (March 20, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

Absolutely fantastic article on the most evolved batsman in the history of Indian Cricket. I thought I'm one admirer of Dravid who followed him the closest than anybody else throughout his career. But I was never able to make out that he was predominantly an on-side player. The way he kept cutting Swann in England and those crisp cover drives and cuts to the point boundary throughout his career would make you believe otherwise. Rahul anna, my respects for you keep increasing with each passing day. Aakash is fascinated with writing about technical aspects of the game in his columns and who better than Rahul anna as his subject? I spotted this technical change in Rahul anna's batting during the West Indies tour 2011. My first reaction was, OMG is he putting himself at an increased risk of getting bowled. But, he was simply unstoppable in England and against Windies at home with the same technique but the bowlers got the better of him in Australia. Baazigar - That's Rahul anna. RESPECT!

Posted by   on (March 20, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

We all need to appreciate this article. Good one. Shall be following you whenever you pen them. Rated inline with ones of Harsha Bhogle, I should say.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2012, 9:50 GMT)

Dravid never improved his weakness of getting bowled ,in 2004 Mcgrath started it, Darren Sammy , south afrian pacers did it as well, and chasing wide half volleys specially from left armers. Tame dismissals of spinners. This article is WRONG.

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (March 20, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

Good article. Its nice to hear this sort of detail about a great batsman. Its nice to hear that someone at thehighest level has experienced the same issues that i have at my lowley club and friendly level - seem to stick around for ages but not score very quickly - just goes to show that if you want to make yourself a better cricketer that you have to work at it! Now to orgaise my next net session.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

Great article Aakash. Gives a fine insight of the metal that the soft-spoken giant was made of... Tireless in practice, dedication, discipline and commitment are the greatest virtues of the man that we know... this article reveals the technical aspects that Dravid had to work out. Thanks Aakash for bringing them out ... wonderful writing...

Posted by Craggydev on (March 20, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

Great article with solid technical details...thanks Aakash

Posted by   on (March 20, 2012, 6:49 GMT)

thanks chopra very good article about the very great cricketer thanks mr wall for all the entertainment

Posted by Sankara on (March 20, 2012, 6:31 GMT)

We always knew about Rahul Dravid's skills and for that we have loved and respected him for that. (Also for "selfishly" going out when good going was just one series back). Mr Chopra, this article actually enhances you in the eyes of the reader for the following qualities you have displayed -Humility for publicly acknowledging help received. -Brilliant communication skills, without sinking to cliche's a' la certain left arm spinner/selfish opening batsman from Mumbai. More power to your pen/keyboard

Posted by rienzied on (March 20, 2012, 0:23 GMT)

...Except he never moved his backfoot across, played from his crease, when he played on faster pitches and left his bat slightly away from his body.

Posted by sk12 on (March 19, 2012, 22:19 GMT)

@SouthPaw - Mate it doesnt take a "clean bowled" to suggest you have a faulty technique or a slow reflex. Watch the replays again, he just couldnt bring his front foot across to cover the line. it was getting stuck when the ball was angled into his body, and he could manage only a weak waft with a hanging bat well away from his body. IMO he might have done better with the trigger movement for momentum, but who am I to advice?

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 21:27 GMT)

Akash Chopra having played game at the highest level with his strong language skills makes such an interesting read....he is the best writer of the game in India atleast at this point of time

Posted by promal on (March 19, 2012, 20:40 GMT)

In 2004 in Australia, at no point did India "level" the series against Australia. India took the series lead in the 2nd test at Adelaide after Dravid scored 305 runs in the test and then relinquished that lead as Australia levelled the series in the next test at Melbourne. So the first sentence of this article continues to be wrong even though it has apparently been corrected for some other error previously! Come on Cricinfo AND Akash Chopra!

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 20:27 GMT)

My Pitha introducted me to Test Cricket & once I was properly schooled I became a fan of the longest version of the game. Whilst I enjoyed the exploits of the Gavaskars, Tendulkars & Waughs I undoubtedly was enthralled by Rahul Dravid. His powers of concentration, his impeccable defence and his courage were aspects I tried to emulate. In my humble opinion, Indian cricket took him (& Anil Kumble) for granted. Due to his self effacing persona & team-centric attitude, focus was often on Tendulkar, Ganguly, Sehwag, Laxman etc and somewhere along the line his feats (spectacular as they were) were regarded as "Expected" rather than "Exceptional". He has batted, bowled, fielded and kept wicket as per the team needs. I dare say if the Indian cricket team needed him to cut the grass, Rahul would have obliged. I do hope he reads this as I would like to thank him for all the entertainment he gave to us. If I had to pick 3 people to bat for my Life, the first name would be RAHUL DRAVID.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 20:09 GMT)

Nicely written Akash, a well composed article indeed. There will ups and downs in everyone's career, but in Dravid's case, he took advantage, worked on his mistakes and came back strongly. He was always eager to score runs, irrespective of the pitch , conditions, either it might be in India or overseas a player that India as produced, where all generation to cherish with.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 18:42 GMT)

Dravid can be defined : 3C=1D Commitment,Consitency ,Class=Dravid....... KSCA ground will be missing u,Red cherry will be missing ur willow,Pitch will be missing ur presence..... U r a masterclass...There can be only one dravid and u r the one..... A true champ on and off the field.... Atiitude can be redfined looking at dravid.....

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (March 19, 2012, 18:40 GMT)

Very good article indeed from aakash , just goes to show the extent of hard work and preparation that went into all those gr8 innings by the one and only Mr reliable of India ,likes of rohit sharma , suresh raina can learn a lot from dravid's dedication and work ethic

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 18:25 GMT)

I can already see that Aakash Chopra is becoming a great writer and observer of cricket. Great technical analysis of Dravid's evolution...

Posted by moBlue on (March 19, 2012, 18:03 GMT)

well, an illuminating article written by one of the finest exponents of batting. i remember aakash himself opening in AUS and he may not have made centuries (in 2004) but played brilliantly as an opener and gave sehwag the platform the latter needed to thrive on! as a result, IND came within a whisker of beating AUS who had to rely on bucknor's very generous (and inexplicable) help in AUS's last inning and on waugh's last day to save that series! not being a first-class cricketer, there is no way i would have known about these technicalities in dravid's batting, so thanks, aakash, for your lucid explanation! the article makes sense! in international cricket, bowlers will find you out! so the batters have to "evolve" in response. i remember pedro collins troubling sachin in the WI on numerous occasions, and then AUS got him with the outswinger in 2004... so he simply eliminated the cover drive and yet made a double!!! ...and dravid in kolkata! he suddenly found fifth gear and made 180!!

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 17:54 GMT)

A very good article which explained the technical details of batting. Lot of knowledge gained after reading the article.

However the article needs a small change. In that series we had taken a lead for the first time in Australia winning the Adelaide test. Australia beat us in the third test at Melbourne and leveled the series 1-1.

Posted by kunderanengineer on (March 19, 2012, 17:41 GMT)

"Every time Rahul Dravid found a glitch in his batting, he did everything he could to correct it. Even when it required superhuman effort" Unfortunately even superhuman effort cannot fight age. Although Dravid said that his decision to call it quits was made over a long period, one can't help but wonder whether the writing was on the wall (pardon the pun) during the Australian tour. That must have been the clincher. After all, when was the last time anybody can recall Dravid being clean bowled 6 out of 8 times in a test series? This was a clear signal to him and his fans that even though the will and the technique were still there, the reflexes had diminished.Imagine how humiliating this must have been to cope with for someone as proud as him who had been referred to as the Great Wall of India. This is why the decision to retire came as no surprise to me and many of his fans.

Posted by wayneroo on (March 19, 2012, 17:11 GMT)

Well said Akash about Dravid technique and temperament . I am sure very batman has some flaws and they did corrected their technique . No one is perfect and every batman or a blower would have looked at their flaws and corrected it.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

I quite disagree with Akash on the last point. Why is Dravid not considered 'naturally talented' or 'one of the most talented? I've seen others say this too and it makes no sense to me. This is a person who faced the fiercest of bowling attacks, played his best cricket away from home and how could he still be categorized as no-so-talented?

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 15:26 GMT)

This is not just a tribute to Dravid - it is an example of what probably almost every cricketer has to go through to make the transition from state to national to international cricketer, facing new challenges along the way. Perhaps the very great don't have to do this - but I've heard Wasim Akram on TV explaining how it took him a few months of dedicated practice to deliver the ball a few inches closer to off-stump mid-way through his career. There aren't many writers who can analyze a career like this and make it an engaging read as well. Thank you for a brilliant article, Aakash.

Posted by cyclist00752 on (March 19, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

While its a great insight by Aakash (which I was really looking forward to), I am a bit surprised.Generally a technically correct batsman does not have to make so many changes or changes so often. I understand some adjustments are required but this article would rather put me off as it just says Dravid did not have a perfect technique! Maybe I am over exaggerating, and especially as I respect Dravid (and Aakash) so much, but this analysis leaves more bad than good.

The point I want to make is - yes he would have worked on improving after the Australian series but the Australian series is lost and that also 0-4. It would rather make sense if he would rest himself for a match and give a form player a chance while improving his technique.

Also it shows how well the Aussies prepared and the Indians preparation is more a reaction than an advanced preparation. I hope Dravid and Aakash become future batting coaches and make things better with future talent.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 14:24 GMT)

Very fine insight indeed, Akash. Even modest club cricketers can imagine just how difficult achieving that fine balance between moving and staying still at the crease is - genius is mostly thousands of hours of sweat, toil and concentration.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

Aakash, you give us so much cricketing insight that your articles are way different than others written here. Your way of explaining things makes it easy for one to understand how the batting works. I think this is the best article about Dravid post retirement. You always write about technicalities and what better way to pay tribute to Darvid than write about this technique and how he mastered it. Surprisingly of all the articles which were written about Dravid, this is the one which will most inspire upcoming cricketers and perhaps guide them when the going gets tough. I just hope Dravid coaches, writes as well and doesn't become just another administrators in BCCI. The Indian cricket fan needs to keep hearing from Dravid and of Dravid.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

Great Work Akash! Very nice to see a glimpse inside Dravid's mind. I am also a Dravidian from Pakistan and I wish some day we would be able to read his biography by himself.

Posted by kurups on (March 19, 2012, 13:10 GMT)

good read. and good insight into some techniques in batting. Getting bowled in Oz was just one of those unfortunate series of incidents where technique may hv playd just a small part...Cricket, like most other games is a leveller. Am pretty sure, if Dravid continued playing he would have batted well and scored heavy..but then better to leave on a good note and look at other things in life.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (March 19, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

Interesting perspective on India's greatest test batsman. I respectfully disagree with Aakash that RD was fluent best in Eng in 2011. Yes he scored 3 centuries against a high quality bowling attack in testing conditions but he was at his peak on the 2002 tour.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

Fine piece from a great articulator on greatest cricketer--Dravid's analytical pursuit reminds me of a research scholar--@ la Dravid no star batsman would confess that he had a flaw For sheer focus on every ball , every stroke and every game there is no match to Rahul Turning to his technique in England and Australia I have to submit the following from a club cricketer's point of view --In England his bat was always ahead of the pads with appropriate bat lift to suit the delivery--play or leave. There was an element of certainty in his judgement with the pads covering up in the rare event of ball beating the bat.But in Australia his bat was almost parallel to his pads with a degree of uncertainty over the swing which led to his dismissals-Let me confess that this is purely layman's view-You Test cricketers can dissect better

I am sure he would have easily rectified it; But he didn't want to hang on Akash for modesty in presentation You are certainly worthy heir to RAhul. Pl continue

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

fascinating to read about the thought process of rahul dravid. what goes on in the minds of these giants. who better than a person like akash chopra whose batting style i admired a lot. was a perfect foil to virender sehwag on that australian tour. their opening partnerships laid the platform for a magnificent series for india. and for dravid, realms and realms can be written about his technique n temperament but i'll always remember him for his team spirit. was a thorough team man. salute to the most successful no: 3 of world cricket.

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (March 19, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

Now slowly starting to get bored of the Dravid eulogies. That retirement is behind us, and so is the 100th 100, so why not some more articles on the young brigade, esp the best batsman today-Virat Kohli? And promising ones like Dinda, who we know nothing about

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

I still vividly remember Rahul Dravid coming to England as the 'spare' wicket-keeper. He was drafted into the batting side because Sidhu fell out with Azhar and went back home in a fit of pique. The rest of Dravid's career is an amazing history! And where is Sidhu now - a pathetic politician only remembered for his stupid remarks. I watched Dravid live in all of the four test matches he played in England last year. It was an honour and his record speaks for itself.

Posted by ca.ganeshd on (March 19, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

Nice article! One of the best on Dravid in Cricinfo!

Posted by HPurnapatre on (March 19, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

Great piece Akash. Thanks to you, we have got an insight into Rahul Dravid's technique & way of thinking.

Posted by D.Sharma on (March 19, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

A very nice read! Thanks!

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

good read! it is always interesting to read about the behind-the-scenes thinking that goes into the contest between bat & ball

Posted by RandyOZ on (March 19, 2012, 8:31 GMT)

I think there are some writers on cricinfo who just write articles for the sake of writing articles!

Posted by SouthPaw on (March 19, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

@tgevans & @sk12: Please go back & review Dravid's dismissals in Australia and you would find that, although he was bowled 6 out of 8 times, he was not "clean bowled" in all 6. Some of the dismissals were "off the bat" or "off the pads/body". There is no way to suggest that this was because of "faulty technique" or "weakening reflexes". Go do your homework!

Posted by SibaMohanty on (March 19, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

Aakash,

I am a keen follower of your columns. Have read Out of the Blue. Must say, you are one of the finest cricket writers, unlike those who write cricket commentary-like stuff. Great article. Yes, I am Dravidian too. All the best.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 7:57 GMT)

The more I read about this guy the more I get fascinated about him. I hope to get to read something about him in his own words. I am sure he would be a good writer (a witty one) as he is a very good orator (proved at Don's oration down under).

Posted by ansram on (March 19, 2012, 7:32 GMT)

It was disconcerting to see the technically flawless Dravid getting repeatedly bowled in Oz, and on the face it appeared to be the diminishing reflexes of an aging cricketer, and it is nice to get another perspective on the matter.

Posted by sameer997 on (March 19, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

this is a great insight of dravids career

Posted by soumyas on (March 19, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

Nice article, akash has reached depths of dravid's batting techniques. This is how article is written by ppl who have really played cricket. Though other journalist watching cricket over years might analyse but they can't get into the finer aspects like this. Using more and rare English words isn't important. writing with in depth knowledge in simple words is important.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 5:56 GMT)

Waaw another fine tribute to Dravid. Dravid is a type of player he always improved himself through out his carrier. You can't the player like Dravid who always hold the Indian batting line up. Youngsters need to watch Dravid closely to become a good cricketer and able to play in all types of pitches from rose bowl to Lords. He is a very honest cricketer he always gauge and correct him.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

What an article! Thank you Akash Chopra.

Posted by tappee74 on (March 19, 2012, 5:31 GMT)

This is an aristocrat among humans.I have never met him,i know him not,yet from afar my intelligence compels me to recognize that which is rare and worthy .I am a cricket devotee from Guyana,the land of so many remarkable players including Clive Lloyd and the ever durable Shivnarine Chanderpaul.The Wall as Dravid is called,is an embodiment of decency,his ability as a cricketer is great,he is among the best the world has produced, i looked at many matches in which he played and you can just sense the quality of a classy human being.One that has integrity and humility.

Posted by bampok on (March 19, 2012, 5:28 GMT)

Very nice article. A tiny insight into the hardwork put in by the legends...

Posted by tgevans on (March 19, 2012, 5:23 GMT)

This is thoughtful and sincere tribute to Dravid as a thinking cricketer. I hesitate to disagree with you since your explanations are always spot on, but I'd like to offer a different diagnosis of Dravid's problem with getting bowled repeatedly in Australia. In England, he had clearly adjusted his technique to stay still and play as late as possible to handle the swinging ball. In Australia, he seemed to have planned a different adjustment to try and leave the ball as late as possible. This was causing him to center himself adjacent to and inside the ball rather than right behind it. As a result, he was misjudging the line of the ball, and leaving a uncharacteristic gap between (a tentative) bat and pad. I agree with you that he would have plugged this hole (with "hundreds of hours of practice") and continued successfully. Dravid will be greatly missed.

Posted by Tommy82 on (March 19, 2012, 5:16 GMT)

Nice article!! And here I was thinking that Dravid was losing his reflexes. Thanks a tonne for correcting me and I'm sure many other fans of Dravid. Blessed to have been born in an era where legends like Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman and Dada played. :)

Posted by sk12 on (March 19, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

No trigger movement means you need to have really good reflexes to adjust after the ball is released, which unfortunately is not easy as you get older. It was painful to watch Dravid in Oz not able to bring his front foot across to cover the line in time.

Posted by NRPOnline on (March 19, 2012, 5:05 GMT)

Aakash, this is by far the most technical article I've read on cricinfo. I'm sure you've been able to render this after several conversations with Rahul, your deep study of his game and your own too. You and Rahul are so right. It is not the failing that should bother you but it is the ability to overcome that should bother you. Rahul has always been about precision. For the most part in his career, he didn't hold bat in his hands but he himself became a bat to conquer the attack. He often found himself in zone. He is by far the most spiritual athlete and we all have a lot to learn from him as a human being too. Good luck Rahul in your endeavors!! We know you and Anil will serve cricket for years to come in some shape or form. I'm not surprised to see you in coach's role soon.

Posted by lgnandan on (March 19, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

Dravid is not a born Cricketer but eventually became a great player by is love and commitments towards Cricket. Cricket will miss him forever that's true.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

Akash,

As someone who marveled at the impeccable technique that Rahul Dravid possessed, I found this very insightful. Thanks for sharing this. RSD was a great cricketer and a supreme sportsman, and it is nice to hear from those you have played with him.

Great article!

Regards, -PD

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 4:56 GMT)

Common Akash! You don't seem to remember anything. In Adelaide 2004 we did not even the series. We took the lead.Only to be levelled later by the Australians.

Posted by Farce-Follower on (March 19, 2012, 4:29 GMT)

Nice article. Dravid's class and civility will be missed.

Posted by Semoli on (March 19, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

At last an article about Dravid from you!! I notice there is a restraint to the kudos given to Dravid from his peers. I wonder why?

Posted by N.Sundararajan on (March 19, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

Akash

This article does as much credit to you for your analysis and the science of batting as it does to Rahul as a phenomenal batsman. God Bless both of you and may the game continue to enjoy both your inputs for its growth and betterment in the coming decades !

Posted by josef_kaye on (March 19, 2012, 4:15 GMT)

This is the best cricketing article I have ever read. Thank you for writing it. More please!

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 4:02 GMT)

As always, the technical insight is fascinating. Keep 'em coming Aakash, and thanks for the great columns!

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 4:01 GMT)

Awesome - thanks :) More articles on Dravid's evolution as a batsman, please!

Posted by JKSFB on (March 19, 2012, 4:00 GMT)

Dear Aakash - what an outstanding article. I caught Sunil Gavaskar mentioning during the England tour 2011 that Dravid had made some technical adjustments to his game since his early days, but I was never able to articulate what they were. Thanks to your work, I now understand what probably happened.......I know that in the wake of his retirement, many have been looking for adjectives to describe Rahul Dravid's batting, but perhaps the most appropriate is the one you used -"evolved". I dare say that the same adjective is appropriate to describe your writing.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2012, 3:34 GMT)

Nice article Akash!!! I always love your articles. The reason is simple, you are one of those having good knowledge of the game and among them who are not biased!!!

And yes, Rahul was my fav cricketer and will be forever!!!

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

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