Blogs & Opinion


Mike Atherton:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

The Wall of fame

Dravid deserves his place as a modern-day great, says Athers

Mike Atherton - Michael Atherton Posted 9th March 2012 view comments

Rahul Dravid was an outstanding player, one of the best of the modern era.

A very technically-gifted batsman, his style was of a type that is becoming increasingly rare; his game was based on a rock-solid defence, whereas most players coming through now tend to base their game on attack.

Opening shot: Dravid on the drive during his Test debut at Lord's, in 1996

Opening shot: Dravid on the drive during his Test debut at Lord's, in 1996

That solidity allowed him to thrive in all conditions and was the basis of his longevity in Test cricket. There aren't many Indian batsmen who have played abroad as well as Dravid.

He was an outstanding role-model, too, highly-respected the world over. I've certainly never heard anyone say a bad word about him. All in all, he was a fine player and a good man.

Excellence

While his ability to stay at the wicket earned him the nickname 'the Wall', like all top-class players Dravid had a full-range of strokes.

If you're facing a top-class attack on a pitch that is doing a bit and you had to pick the batsman who is most likely to get you critical runs, I'd put Dravid ahead of anybody in that Indian team.

Mike Atherton
Quotes of the week

For me his name is right up there with the great players in the modern era: Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar.

To some extent he will always be remembered in Tendulkar's shadow, but to my mind there is precious little between them as batsmen.

Tendulkar might be a slightly better all-round player, but you are talking about a hair's breadth. For that reason I've always felt that Dravid hasn't quite been given his due.

If you're facing a top-class attack on a pitch that is doing a bit and you had to pick the batsman who is most likely to get you critical runs, I'd put Dravid ahead of anybody in that Indian team.

For that very reason his performance on India's last tour of England stood out; he was a beacon of excellence in an otherwise shambolic side.

He may have been coming towards the end of his career, but he showed all of his technical skill and determination in a bid to shore up a sinking ship.

You often find out a lot about players when they are part of a team that is struggling. He scored 461 runs in four Tests - almost 200 more than Tendulkar - while his average of 78.83 was twice that of any other player.

That series came four years after he successfully lead India to their first win in England since 1986; a momentous achievement in its own right.

Studious

You have to go back considerably further to trace the start of Dravid's Test career.

I'd seen a little bit of him in county cricket before he made his debut against us at Lord's in 1996 and remember him coming to chat to me at length about batting.

He was always a studious and earnest individual, someone who was always looking to learn more and develop his game.

He came in down the order at seven and together with Sourav Ganguly and the tail helped India earn a first-innings lead in a match that was eventually drawn.

The 95 runs he scored back then were the first of his 13,288 in Test cricket and they gave us an indication of the way he would thwart and grind down teams throughout his career.

In the next Test, the third of the series, he weighed in with 85 to indicate again that he had no intention of staying at seven for long!

Sixteen years later the time has come to move on.

The way India played in their last two series illustrated the need for the team to evolve and when you've got young players like Virat Kohli coming through, those guys need to be given a decent run.

Change has to come and it's time for the selectors to be more proactive in encouraging their best talent by passing Dravid's responsibilities onto them.

back to top

Other Cricket Experts:

Latest Posts in Cricket:

Women's cricket

Kate Cross blog

The England Women star reflects on the ODI series with New Zealand and some stunning panoramic views....

Latest News RSS feeds

Ireland stun Windies

Ireland secured the first shock of the World Cup with a four-wicket victory over the West Indies in Nelson.

Pietersen signs for Sunrisers

Kevin Pietersen will play alongside Eoin Morgan for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2015 Indian Premier League.

Porterfield targeting quarters

William Porterfield expects Ireland to qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals following their win over West Indies.

Ireland 'on track for quarters'

Ireland’s hopes of reaching the World Cup quarter-finals are firmly on track after their win against West Indies, says Kyle McCallan.

Kate Cross blog

The England Women star reflects on the ODI series with New Zealand and some stunning panoramic views.

Features

World Cup wallchart

World Cup wallchart

It's time to plan your next seven weeks around the cricket with the Sky Sports World Cup wallchart!

Sky Cricket Podcast: Bob Willis and Eoin Morgan on England's World Cup defeat to Australia

Sky Cricket Podcast: Bob Willis and Eoin Morgan on England's World Cup defeat to Australia

The 2015 World Cup has begun with thumping wins for co-hosts Australia and New Zealand.

Cricket World Cup: How the Associate members have stunned the big boys…

Cricket World Cup: How the Associate members have stunned the big boys…

Ireland, Scotland, Afghanistan and United Arab Emirates will be the Associate members mixing it with cricket’s powerhouses at the 2015 World Cup - but can any of them pull off an upset like these from yesteryear...