DateLine: 19th February 2007
Rahul Dravid is arguably the most invaluable and selfless batsman in the history of Indian cricket. Whether opting to open the batting in the interests of the team, in going in at No 3 or No 6 depending on the situation, in willing to keep wickets to restore the teams balance in the shorter version of the game he has shown he is a team man to the core. He has readily altered his approach so that even a supreme technician like him could prove to be successful in slam-bang cricket. The sobriquet The Wall is pointedly accurate as it simply but aptly conveys the image of a man who does not sell his wicket cheaply. Left to him, he would not like to sell his wicket at all. Dravid has been playing the crisis man role for over ten years now and over the last decade has come to be recognized as among the worlds leading batsmen. Selection to the ICC World XI in 2005 was confirmation of this. The figures associated with Dravid are of the eye rubbing variety. But besides the statistics two other factors have attracted even more notice. One is his batting approach based on a classically orthodox style complete with chiseled strokes, perfect defence, unruffled temperament, monk-like concentration, utmost dedication and fierce determination. The other is his ability to shape an Indian victory or when the situation is hopeless to steer the team to safety. Take any match from Kolkata 2001 to Headingley 2002, from Adelaide 2003 to Rawalpindi 2004 and you will find Dravid in the vanguard of innumerable Indian triumphs, Kingston 2006 being the latest addition. He is a cricketer who blends an old-world classicism with a new-age professionalism. Verily the sky is the limit for Dravid.