Amidst the likes of the little master, captain cool and other flamboyant members of the Indian cricket team, stands one man, tall and unyielding; Rahul Sharad Dravid.
16 years ago, at the age of 23 Dravid graced the home of cricket “Lords” with a brilliant 95 runs that encompassed sublime stroke making, extravagant leaves, and a mature exhibition of textbook blocking.
Despite missing out on a century on debut, the wall as he would go on to be titled, looked at the situation as a glass “half full” rather than a “glass half empty.” His innings at Lords had built the foundations of a career that today sees him become the second highest run getter in test matches with a mammoth 12,314 Runs.
Dravid in every aspect of the game is a legend, with the most catches at slip cordon, including trysts with bowling and a successful stint as a wicket keeper. Moreover, Dravid earned his keep as the player who cemented himself at one end of the pitch in order to hold fort, while the other players took the attack to the bowlers.
A cricket who plays within himself, Dravid has watched over 400 of his colleagues crumble at the other end. However, this wall is capable of spraying even the most adept attacks to all parts of the field. A trait best seen by Shane Warne’s battering in the 2001 Kolkata test where 51 deliveries yielded 41 runs.
So next time we give Tendulkar a standing ovation when he walks out to bat, or clamour over Sehwag and Yuvraj’s aggressive batting, spare a thought for the man who continues to be a barrier in the face of lethal pace and crafty spin. A man who soldiers on, quietly. A man who shoulders the burden of responsibility with a full blooded bat face to smother the ball.
A man who neither gives up, nor at 38, says die.
16 years on during the 2000th test, the wall still stands strong.