When a teammate's flamboyance overshadowed Dravid's class
Bikash Mohapatra presents some gems from Rahul Dravid's blade that lacked lustre thanks to the flamboyance displayed by a teammate.
For some who scored 13,288 runs in 164 Tests (@ 52.31) and 10,889 runs in 344 ODIs (@ 39.17), Rahul Dravid deserved more recognition than what he eventually ended up with.
In a country like ours, cricket borders on the extreme; a few players get more recognition that they deserve, while some are conveniently sidelined.
In a scenario where fans are star-struck and get easily swayed by flamboyance, the 39-year-old was always the odd one out, rather the one left out.
The fact that he lacked flamboyance meant the attributes he possessed -- consistency, perseverance and technique -- either got sidelined or were noticed only when the team was in trouble, with all the flashy batsmen coming to nothing and the fans having no option but to cheer for Dravid.
More often than not, though, the batsman was left to play second fiddle, his effort overshadowed by the brilliance of a colleague, thereby ensuring he never got his due as a player.
Rediff.com takes a look at gems from Rahul Dravid's blade that lacked the glitter thanks to the flamboyance displayed by a teammate.
Ganguly's 131 eclipsed Dravid's 95
To begin with, it has to be his 95 on debut at Lord's.
Coming in to bat at No. 7, Dravid's 267-ball innings was patience personified, a prelude to the way his career would eventually pan out.
It was an excellent knock to say the least.
However, it was one Sourav Ganguly, also making his debut, who completely overshadowed Dravid in that match.
Ganguly's 131 -- read century on debut at the home of cricket -- was a more flamboyant innings and became the talking point long after the Test got over.
Also read: 'Captaincy was a draining period'
It was Ganguly again who stole his thunder
Initially not considered a player in the one-day mould, Dravid put in a lot of effort to make himself acceptable in the shorter format.
He eventually finished with an enviable aggregate and a total of 12 centuries and 83 half centuries.
One of his best ODI knocks came in the 1999 World Cup game against Sri Lanka in Taunton.
Dravid, who finished the tournament as the top scorer, scored a magnificent 129-ball 145 in that match.
However, it was Ganguly again who stole his thunder, his 158-ball 183 being considered a spectacular knock, instrumental in ensuring India a whopping 157-run win.
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'The talk is always about Sachin'
About six months after that Taunton match Dravid faced a similar situation.
In an ODI against New Zealand in Hyderabad, he scored a career-best 153, a run-a-ball innings that was, simply put, spectacular.
However, Sachin Tendulkar chose the same match to score an unbeaten 186 not out.
India won the match by 174 runs, and it needn't be said who was credited for the success.
In fact, Tendulkar had on many occasions overshadowed Dravid, something the latter admitted last year during India's tour of England, albeit with a positive intent.
'The talk is always about Sachin,' said Dravid.
'In some way it suits me as I get away quietly scoring a lot of runs,' he added.
Dravid's effort at Eden is vaguely remembered
Finally, we come to what we believe is the first example anyone will cite when such discussion on Dravid crops up.
This is pertaining to his measured 180 in that memorable second Test against Australia at Eden Gardens in 2001, an innings that contributed immensely in ensuring the home team a come-from-behind win.
An innings that made a 376-run partnership for the fifth-wicket possible. An innings that got sidelined, courtesy a gentleman named VVS Laxman.
While Laxman's 281 remains etched in public memory, Dravid's effort is vaguely remembered, if at all. There were a few other instances when the batsman got overshadowed.
However, having said that, it doesn't mean Dravid never got credit for his efforts. It is just that some of his otherwise notable efforts didn't get the recognition they deserved.
Blame it on luck!