rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » Of Dravid's 'lucky' debut and an elusive hundred

Of Dravid's 'lucky' debut and an elusive hundred

Last updated on: July 20, 2011 12:34 IST

Dravid gives Indian innings the required solidity

     Next

Next
Bikash Mohapatra in London

A hundred at the home of cricket remains elusive for Rahul Dravid. When he walks in to bat in the opening Test against England, at Lord's, Senior Associate Editor Bikash Mohapatra says, setting that record straight will be uppermost on his mind.

He may not be the most aggressive batsman in the line-up, his scoring rate might not have improved in all these years and he may (self-admittedly) be a tad 'boring'.

- India's tour of England

But his place in the Indian Test squad is a certainty.

There are the Sachins, the Sehwags, the Laxmans and the Dhonis, but when it comes to playing the sheet anchor's role, and giving the innings the required solidity from one end (so that the batsman at the other end can play his strokes), the Indian team think-tank doesn't look beyond Rahul Dravid.


Image: Rahul Dravid

     Next

Chance for Dravid to relive memories

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

For the last 15 years the Karnataka batsman has formed the backbone of the Indian batting. An aggregate of 12, 314 runs in 153 Tests underline his credentials as a top draw cricketer.

And his 32 tons in the longer format assures him a place among the pantheon of greats. No wonder they have named him 'The Wall'.

- Too risky to focus on Tendulkar alone: Swann

Come Thursday and Dravid will be back to where it all began -- the home of cricket for many, and simply Lord's for most others.

In 1996, following a 'lucky' break, Dravid set the foundation of what has thereafter been an illustrious career. And when India takes on England in the first Test of the npower series, it will be Dravid's chance to relive the memories.


Image: Rahul Dravid

Prev     Next

'Coming back here, you always feel at home'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Asked about the same, he became palpably nostalgic.

"It [the Lord's ground] always brings back some special memories," explained Dravid, adding, "Personally, it is special for me, as it is the ground where I started my career.

- First Look: Special coin for 2000th Test at Lord's

"Coming back here, you always feel at home. It is a nice feeling whenever you walk into this ground, even when you are not playing.

"You feel that this is the place for cricket, a place that truly understands the history and tradition of the game."

It was at this historic venue that Dravid made a memorable Test debut. Coming in to bat at No.7, the Karnataka player made a resolute 95 to help India take the lead in what subsequently turned out to be a draw.


Image: Rahul Dravid

Prev     Next

'There were a few injuries and I was lucky to get the opportunity'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

It was what subsequently became a typical 'Dravid innings'. His 267-ball knock contained only six boundaries and he essentially played second fiddle to fellow-debutant Sourav Ganguly (131).

Ganguly's was a more aggressive innings, Dravid's had more impact.

"It meant a lot to me," reminisced the veteran, adding, "I had played five years of first-class cricket to break into the Indian team.

"I had scored a lot of runs in domestic cricket and had got an opportunity on the basis of that."

Dravid's nostalgic trip was by now getting steeped with emotion.

"At the start to series I wouldn't have given myself very good odds to even play with the kind of team that we had," he continued.

"But there were a few injuries and I was lucky to get the opportunity."


Image: Rahul Dravid

Prev     Next

'Never expected that 15 years later, I would be talking about it'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Dravid knew very well the significance of that 'chance'.

"I knew that probably it would be the only one. Otherwise. I would have had to go back to domestic cricket and start the cycle all over again by scoring runs.

"But in India everyone scores a lot of runs in domestic cricket and sometimes it is very difficult to break in. I had waited five years and so I knew the significance of it.

- FACTBOX - England vs India

"I never expected that 15 years later, I would be talking about it."

Having put 94 for the sixth wicket with Ganguly, Dravid put a further 55 runs for the seventh wicket with Javagal Srinath (19), helping India wrest the advantage from the hosts before falling short of what would have been a deserved hundred.


Image: Rahul Dravid

Prev     Next

Dravid averages over 40 at Lords

Prev     More
Prev

More

"I remember when I was 50 not out at the end of the third day and was walking back to the hotel with Srinath, I knew somehow that this was probably a very significant innings," he recalled, adding, "I knew I had some more breathing space, I got a few more Test matches at least.

'Hype over Sachin's 100th ton might hurt India'

"It gave me a lot of confidence scoring 95 here and 80 at Trent Bridge subsequently."

Dravid played two more Tests at the venue thereafter and has thus far accumulated 215 runs (@ over 40).

However, a hundred at the home of cricket (which he was so close to achieving on debut) has remained elusive.

When he walks in to bat in the opening Test, Dravid will look to set that record straight.


Image: Rahul Dravid

Prev     More