West Indies v India, 1st Test, Kingston, 3rd day June 22, 2011

Important to weather the storm - Dravid


There is an element of gravitas about Rahul Dravid that escalates on days like this. The hands hold the bat tighter, his visage gets more determined, the eyes drip with intensity, the self-admonishments when he plays a shot he thinks he shouldn't have increase, and he drags you with him into the match. You can feel the pressure of the scoreboard, the match situation, the misbehaving pitch, and the whole drama. It's his battle, but you can feel the intensity.

"I love a contest," Dravid said. "It's because I love the contest [that] I still enjoy the sport. It's also good for me because we found ourselves a bit against the wall, and I had to fight my way through it … at this stage of your career you play because you love the contest, and [want] to make an important contribution to the team. It's a satisfactory feeling when you are in the middle of a situation [like this] and make a difference."

Early in the morning, Ravi Rampaul tested Dravid's patience and skill. Some deliveries cut in from outside off, some straightened and a few reared up. "He kept things tight for me and it was a good contest. I knew I had to get through that 7-8 over [period] of good quality from him. But you need to back yourself to fight through it rather than throwing it away."

He also had to take care the younger batsmen didn't throw it away. Late last evening, Dravid had to watch Virat Kohli being hustled by Fidel Edwards' bouncers. He repeatedly walked across to chat with his younger partner. He did that today as well with Kohli - who didn't last long - and the others that followed. "One of the things I tell these guys [the young players] is that you have to weather the storm, the intensity of a particular spell, that will last for 6-10 overs. In Test cricket you need to fight your way through that, and then things will become easier. You can get caught up a bit with things happening in the middle, people making a lot of noise, the ball flying around or spinning past you … I have committed that mistake, and thinking becomes really hard. But if you fight your way through that period, things will become a bit easier, like a bowling change or the bowlers will get tired."

That he did. In the end, West Indies had to find a way around him to get at India. Dravid was the last man to fall. It was an observation from Ravi Rampaul, that was shared by Darren Sammy at the press conference, that told the tale of Dravid's determination. "Ravi told me that Dravid played just one pull shot. That too, when he was on 98." And it came at a time when he was in danger of running out of partners. Even then, it was followed by self-admonishment. "Yeah, obviously it was partly because of the pitch, and also because of the situation we found ourselves in," Dravid said, about playing just one pull. "We knew that we have to set up a pretty decent score from [where we were at] 50-odd for three. They bowled pretty well also. So it was a combination of factors that made me a bit circumspect; I had to ensure that I was there till the end, and make sure that we got a competitive score."

Dravid is not getting any younger - how taxing does it get, especially when there are long breaks between Test series'? "It was tough physically, especially coming off after a long journey and getting up early in the morning," he said. "It was pretty hot out there, and I have not played a Test in a long time. You can do as much training as possible: sit on a bike in gym and run laps around the ground. But for [complete] batting and fielding fitness … you need to have practice.

"Yes, it has been very challenging. If you do it consistently then you'll get a rhythm. With these breaks, I guess it takes some more time to get into it [the rhythm]. But it's not easy for someone like me who needs to bat long - I sweat a lot - so physically and mentally, it has always been a good contest. That's why I work hard on my fitness. I have the past experience to fall back upon", Dravid said.

Sammy was lavish in his praise. "Dravid has scored over 10,000 [Test] runs. He knows exactly what to do in these kinds of situations." Dravid hoped that his effort will culminate in a win. "It's [Sabina Park] a lovely place to tour, I have had some very good experiences as we won a Test match last time. So I hope this innings helps us to win this as well."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on June 24, 2011, 0:44 GMT

    What a fantastic knock by the man! Take a bow! Why should the Windies ask this man to concentrate with more intensity by asking him to bat on such a pitch? That's just asking for trouble. The world has seen these knocks from him time and again. The world knows it by now that an intense cricketer like Dravid will go into an impenetrable shell of his own enigmatic world when presented with such super-human challenges and will live his whole life for such days. I also feel that such pitches actually make him happy because when he sees such pitches, he would be rearing to prove to his own soul about himself. I haven't seen the greats of 1920s-40s. I have been watching cricket from late 70s and I'm of the opinion that there is no other batsman in the world who can match Dravid in technical brilliance, from the cleanest defense to the cleanest and elegance personified pick up flick. You name it. I'm sure Dravid attained Nirvana when I myself could attain it watching him bat in this test.

  • dummy4fb on June 23, 2011, 20:13 GMT

    yeah kindly appreciate the innings rather than saying negative abt it pls :) and stop comparing sachin to dravid , or dravid to laxman or vice versa etc, all r gud all r gr8 actually and why comparing when all r playing for the same country i.e India. actually we all must be happy tht when one of the trio fails the other rise to the occasion , like if sachin fails dravid laxman fight it out, same when dravid fails or laxman fails, and not only they the others too play well so tht's the hallmark of a no.1 team . so appreciate all and pls stop comparing but as far as dravid's innings goes , stunning innings wht patience temperament calmness, phenomenal stuff and the words he advised to the youngsters priceless, bet the new guys would learn from it and come better equipped to the 2nd test but yeah hoping dravid continues this form forward to all the rest tests :) he deserves this :) wht a gentleman wht a player hats off :)

  • dummy4fb on June 23, 2011, 18:42 GMT

    @MaruthuDelft its because of ppl like you tht boards end up preparing flat tracks where batsmen can score blindly without any technique and u guys call that "entertaining' to a lot of cricket lovers like us....a gritty century like this one by Dravid ranks much higher than a quickfire century from a pathan or a raina! u shud stick to watching t20.....stay away from test cricket and ur comment saying that he is just a useful test player shows ur understanding of the game. Dravid will rank among the top 5 in any great batsmen list!

  • Bruce_Johnson on June 23, 2011, 18:28 GMT

    India has shown again in this test match why it is by far the best cricket team in the world. More important than the victory itself is the manner in which India has achieved it. Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina's fighting 7th wicket 134-run partnership, Dravid's determined 2nd innings century, Indian bowlers' complete domination over the West Indian batsman -- are all hallmarks of greatness and testimonies of this mighty Indian team's never-say-die attitude.

  • WTEH on June 23, 2011, 18:19 GMT

    WI bowling and feilding is almost as a club team now. This might be the easier century Dravid got. I'm not sure why ICC want to keep WI with test status, may be to help other countries to get new records. Looks like the test match will be over within 2 1/2 days. Not sure be happy or sad about it. Pls do not ruin the standards of cricket!!!

  • dummy4fb on June 23, 2011, 17:41 GMT

    England should be forewarned by this.. Really.. The last thing they need is RD finding form.. With Sehwag and Gambhir seeming to be fit for the tour.. With Sachin back.. and with VVS Laxman (he doesn't need form, only the most impossible of situations) in the top 5... Hmmm.. Anderson, Tremlett, Swann would have quite a handful! Not mention Zaheer Khan bowling in his 'home' conditions!

  • diva1234 on June 23, 2011, 17:34 GMT

    congrats dravid, u r the best. congrats india. guys please dont use the word wall for dravid. when he battles u can see. walls dont respond and they are not alive. its a mis-nomenclature.

  • SRT_GENIUS on June 23, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    Why would anyone try to say anything negative about this innings ? Because they don't want to appear to be part of the all singing herd ? Well, if you can't appreciate something for what it is and you derive your feelings as a reaction from the reactions, you need a shrink! This was one of the greatest Dravid centuries. Period.

  • shashidharbilagi on June 23, 2011, 17:19 GMT

    Nostalgia for me, i remember d day, it was exactly 15 yrs back on d same day 22/6/96, he first came out to bat n scored 95 at Lords, and what a Fanatstic knock to celebrate 15 yrs of cricket on d same day 22/6/11 with century no 32 at Sabina Park, 12 more tests waiting in 8 months from now, m looking forward only for U, way to go RAHUL!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dummy4fb on June 23, 2011, 17:11 GMT

    BCCI will do all sort of experiments with the team except asking Dravid and Laxman to play in One days when rest of the senior players are injured.

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