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Alas, poor Dravid

He's a world-beating No. 3, but Dravid is doomed to forever be the man behind the man

Jarrod Kimber

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Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid bat in adjoining nets, Wellington, April 1, 2009
Even in an article about him, Dravid has to share a picture with Sehwag © Getty Images
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Being the man behind the man is not always fun.

Ask Robin. He had the crappy lines, often stuffed up, had a stupid costume, and more often than not had people cast aspersions about his sexuality. On the other hand Batman got the ladies, looked cool in black, was allowed to be moody without being called on it, and kicked ass in hand-to-hand combat.

Rahul Dravid has been the man behind the man his entire career.

The obvious man he is behind is Sachin "Please, may I have a hundred, Kumar" Tendulkar. Dravid is also still behind Lara, Ponting, and Border on the all-time run scoring list. That is not a bad group to be behind. Most of us could handle that. If you were behind Gavin Robertson and Ajit Agarkar, that would suck.

Dravid has made 57 half-centuries in test cricket, which is more than Sachin or Ponting, but Bloody Border has 63. Damn.

It keeps getting worse. Remember when Dravid was part of a partnership of 376 that brought India back from the dead in a Test series against Australia? Well, I was in a Melbourne sport quiz one night, when the question was, "Which player shared a 376-run partnership with VVS Laxman after Australia enforced the follow-on at Kolkata in 2001?" Out of 10 groups, three got it. One of the tables had Indians on it and still got it wrong.

There is also the fact that batting at No. 3 means Dravid quite often has to bat at the other end to the Prophet Sehwag. Even Sachin has to take a back seat to Sehwag. Who can even be bothered looking at the other guy when Sehwag is flailing around his magic wand and showing Sehwagologists the way to live their life?

Dravid is a former captain of India. Sometimes if you are reading a piece by some Kolkata journalist about how great Sourav Ganguly was as a captain, there will be a line or two on Dravid's captaincy. Most other people can't remember any captains before Dhoni.

Dravid is a superfreak with the bat. Born with the patience of an award-winning social worker and a technique so tight that textbooks look on with envy. Plus, he makes a lot of runs. He makes more runs per Test match than Tendulkar does, but he hasn't played in as many decades.

It seems to be Dravid's lot in life to be the man behind the man. He doesn't seem to mind, but I do.

It is just that he isn't the guy. He has no essence of being the main man. Even as captain he looked like he was filling in for someone. For the Royal Challengers Bangalore, he should be the main man, but Ross Taylor comes out and slogs across the line and people forget about Dravid. It doesn't matter where he is, or what he does, someone else always gets the attention.

It doesn't mean he isn't an all-time great of the game; he is. It just means that even after he makes 177 in a Test match, he probably still has to wait for a table at a busy restaurant. Someone of his quality should get the best table in the joint straight away every time.

RSS FeedJarrod Kimber is an Australian writer based in London. He can be found at cricketwithballs.com

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