great wall

Friday, December 3, 2010

the wall is back in action

Was the recent 191 against New Zealand Rahul Dravid's last Test innings on Indian soil? Such things matter when you are on the cusp of 38 and the youngsters have been making their knocks heard. For the moment, however, there is the tour of South Africa to come. Dravid might think further ahead. To England, where it all began in 1996, with a near-century at Lord's. For someone whose batting evokes geometry, that would be a perfect circle, writes Suresh Menon.


Much has been written about Sachin Tendulkar's Second Coming but a similar revival by Rahul Dravid has been pushed into the background. It is unlikely that Dravid will mind. He is too much the team man, too much the professional to worry about perceptions. Tendulkar found his salvation after a brief dalliance with near-ordinariness by becoming more Tendulkarine. He reconnected with his best years with batting that married the exuberance of youth with the calmness of maturity.

Dravid did something similar, becoming more Dravid-like. His 77 in the first Test against Australia suggested that he was striking the ball with the assurance of his best years, but the uncertainties rose to the surface in the opener against New Zealand.

Yet by the time the teams left Nagpur after a win in the final Test, Dravid had worked it out. The essential difference between India's two greatest batsmen has been the manner in which they have reacted to personal crises at the crease.

While Tendulkar has been instinctive, trusting his natural ball sense and ability to be creative under pressure, Dravid has been Euclidean, bringing to his responses the mathematical efficiency of straight lines and arcs.

Dravid worked it out in his mind, Tendulkar on the field of play, and that is why these two have been the Apollo and Dionysius of Indian batsmanship; the intellectual Dravid and the instinctive Tendulkar.

The seeds of Dravid's immaculate 191 in the third Test were sown in that innings of 104 in the first Test. The pressure on him is always greater than on most Indian batsmen simply because he thinks too much. It is not quite the golfer's paralysis by analysis, but it is close. While a Virender Sehwag works out the percentages in striking to different parts of the field, Dravid understands the odds on failure better. Others don't know enough to be worried, Dravid does. Sehwag makes it look easy because he knows no other way to bat; Dravid, when struggling, makes it look difficult because he is always conscious of other ways to bat.


Dravid agonises after being dismissed for 191 in the Nagpur Test. He has the curse of remembering. In a recent conversation, he revealed how he remembers every single dismissal of his in international cricket. That is a small matter of 253 Test innings.

Dravid will never tell himself while struggling that it is one of those days. That he is doing everything right, and yet not scoring because that is the nature of sport. He will rationalise every breath he takes, every move he makes. Is his bottom hand gripping the bat too hard? Are his feet immobile? Is he jabbing at the ball? Is it the angle of the delivery, the bounce, the pressure that comes from long periods of scorelessness?

No wonder Dravid — who has a fine line in self-deprecatory humour — says he wants to be reborn as Sehwag. The opener does not clutter his mind, and he has the greatest ability any sportsman can have — the gift of forgetting. Dravid has the curse of remembering. In a recent conversation, he revealed how he remembers every single dismissal of his in international cricket. That is a small matter of 253 Test innings.

And when you get out to left arm medium pace in six innings (Chamaka Welegedara thrice, Doug Bollinger twice, Mitchell Johnson once), you see patterns. Dravid averaged under 35 this year before the New Zealand series; two centuries later, it had risen to 49.

In some ways, that knock of 104 revealed something deeper in Dravid than the 191. To score a century while struggling, to stymie all efforts by the bowler without any overt aggression speaks of rare strength of character. It was an important century — statistically it took him past Don Bradman and into the company of those with 30 Test centuries.

Understanding the geometry of batsmanship meant, however, that he knew where every ball was meant to go if played by the book. The flip side of this philosophy is that a fielding captain can block the runs by having his fielders in the right positions to Dravid. The batsman will not hit himself out of trouble; he prefers to frustrate the bowler into bowling loose deliveries. And when shots go straight to the fielder, he is willing to wait it out.

He wasn't allowed to play his favourite square cut. There is a thumb rule for gauging the mood of the Indian batsmen. Watch their early strokes. If Tendulkar push-drives one past the bowler, or V. V. S. Laxman turns either to square leg or between mid on and midwicket, then it is likely to be their day. There is an element of Browning's ‘God's in his heaven, all's right with the world' about these batsmen playing their signature strokes.

In Dravid's case, it is the square cut. When he leans back, sometimes waiting for the ball and then you see the swish of the bat, you know all is well. If he plays the cut off the front foot it might even be a sign of early over-confidence! All is well. Perhaps too well.

The square cut wasn't employed much in the innings of 191, but there was something else — a sense of calm. Dravid's self-possession had returned, as had his on drive in an innings 27 minutes short of 10 hours.


Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar have been the Apollo and Dionysius of Indian batsmanship; the intellectual Dravid and the instinctive Tendulkar. Here, in September 2008, both are before The Wall — a massive structure with 10000 bricks — erected at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in honour of Dravid's exploits in Test cricket. Tendulkar had unveiled it.

The sub-text of a Dravid innings was in place too. The amazing fitness, the concentration, the ability to ignore all temptation. And then he suddenly steps out and mis-hits Kane Williamson, against the run of play, to end it all. Homer nods.

Was that Dravid's last Test innings on Indian soil? Such things matter when you are on the cusp of 38 and the youngsters have been making their knocks heard.

Figuring out the last innings of the famed Indian middle order has been a cottage industry for some time now. Sourav Ganguly surprised everybody by announcing his retirement at the start of a series two years ago. Since then the rest have given the impression that if this is the twilight of their careers, then night time is a long way off.

For the moment, however, there is the tour of South Africa to come. Dravid might think further ahead. To England, where it all began in 1996, with a near-century at Lord's. For someone whose batting evokes geometry, that would be a perfect circle

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sr Day/Dt IST GMT Team vs Team Venue
1 Fri-12 20:00 14:30 Deccan Chargers vs Kolkata Knight Riders DYP - Mumbai
2 Sat-13 15:00 09:30 Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals Mumbai
3 Sat-13 20:00 14:30 Kings XI Punjab vs Delhi Daredevils PCA - Mohali
4 Sun-14 16:00 10:30 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Bangalore Royal Challengers Eden - Kolkata
5 Sun-14 20:00 14:30 Chennai Super Kings vs Deccan Chargers MAC - Chennai
6 Mon-15 20:00 14:30 Rajasthan Royals vs Delhi Daredevils Ahmedabad
7 Tue-16 16:00 10:30 Bangalore Royal Challengers vs Kings XI Punjab MCS - Bangalore
8 Tue-16 20:00 14:30 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Chennai Super Kings Eden - Kolkata
9 Wed-17 20:00 14:30 Delhi Daredevils vs Mumbai Indians FSK - Delhi
10 Thu-18 20:00 14:30 Bangalore Royal Challengers vs Rajasthan Royals MCS - Bangalore
11 Fri-19 16:00 10:30 Delhi Daredevils vs Chennai Super Kings FSK - Delhi
12 Fri-19 20:00 14:30 Deccan Chargers vs Kings XI Punjab Nagpur
13 Sat-20 16:00 10:30 Rajasthan Royals vs Kolkata Knight Riders Ahmedabad
14 Sat-20 20:00 14:30 Mumbai Indians vs Bangalore Royal Challengers Mumbai
15 Sun-21 16:00 10:30 Delhi Daredevils vs Deccan Chargers Nagpur
16 Sun-21 20:00 14:30 Chennai Super Kings vs Kings XI Punjab MAC - Chennai
17 Mon-22 20:00 14:30 Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders Mumbai
18 Tue-23 20:00 14:30 Bangalore Royal Challengers vs Chennai Super Kings MCS - Bangalore
19 Wed-24 20:00 14:30 Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals PCA - Mohali
20 Thu-25 16:00 10:30 Bangalore Royal Challengers vs Delhi Daredevils MCS - Bangalore
21 Thu-25 20:00 14:30 Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings Mumbai

22 Fri-26 20:00 14:30 Rajasthan Royals vs Deccan Chargers Ahmedabad
23 Sat-27 20:00 14:30 Kings XI Punjab vs Kolkata Knight Riders PCA - Mohali
24 Sun-28 16:00 10:30 Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings Ahmedabad
25 Sun-28 20:00 14:30 Deccan Chargers vs Mumbai Indians Nagpur
26 Mon-29 20:00 14:30 Delhi Daredevils vs Kolkata Knight Riders FSK - Delhi
27 Tue-30 20:00 14:30 Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab Mumbai
28 Wed-31 16:00 10:30 Chennai Super Kings vs Bangalore Royal Challengers MAC - Chennai
29 Wed-31 20:00 14:30 Delhi Daredevils vs Rajasthan Royals FSK - Delhi
30 Thu-01 20:00 14:30 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Deccan Chargers Eden - Kolkata
31 Fri-02 20:00 14:30 Kings XI Punjab vs Bangalore Royal Challengers PCA - Mohali
32 Sat-03 16:00 10:30 Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals MAC - Chennai
33 Sat-03 20:00 14:30 Mumbai Indians vs Deccan Chargers Mumbai
34 Sun-04 16:00 10:30 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab Eden - Kolkata
35 Sun-04 20:00 14:30 Delhi Daredevils vs Bangalore Royal Challengers FSK - Delhi
36 Mon-05 20:00 14:30 Deccan Chargers vs Rajasthan Royals DYP - Mumbai
37 Tue-06 20:00 14:30 Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians MAC - Chennai
38 Wed-07 16:00 10:30 Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab SMS - Jaipur
39 Wed-07 20:00 14:30 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Delhi Daredevils Eden - Kolkata
40 Thu-08 20:00 14:30 Bangalore Royal Challengers vs Deccan Chargers MCS - Bangalore
41 Fri-09 20:00 14:30 Kings XI Punjab vs Mumbai Indians PCA - Mohali
42 Sat-10 16:00 10:30 Deccan Chargers vs Chennai Super Kings DYP - Mumbai
43 Sat-10 16:00 10:30 Bangalore Royal Challengers vs Kolkata Knight Riders MCS - Bangalore
44 Sun-11 16:00 10:30 Delhi Daredevils vs Kings XI Punjab FSK - Delhi
45 Sun-11 20:00 14:30 Rajasthan Royals vs Mumbai Indians SMS - Jaipur
46 Mon-12 20:00 14:30 Deccan Chargers vs Bangalore Royal Challengers DYP - Mumbai
47 Tue-13 16:00 10:30 Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Daredevils Mumbai
48 Tue-13 20:00 14:30 Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders MAC - Chennai
49 Wed-14 20:00 14:30 Rajasthan Royals vs Bangalore Royal Challengers SMS - Jaipur
50 Thu-15 20:00 14:30 Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils MAC - Chennai
51 Fri-16 20:00 14:30 Kings XI Punjab vs Deccan Chargers Dharmasala
52 Sat-17 16:00 10:30 Bangalore Royal Challengers vs Mumbai Indians MCS - Bangalore
53 Sat-17 20:00 14:30 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals Eden - Kolkata
54 Sun-18 16:00 10:30 Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings Dharmasala
55 Sun-18 20:00 14:30 Delhi Daredevils vs Deccan Chargers FSK - Delhi
56 Mon-19 20:00 14:30 Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians Eden - Kolkata
57 Wed-21 20:00 14:30 1nd Semi-Final - Team 1 vs Team 2 MCS - Bangalore
58 Thu-22 20:00 14:30 2nd Semi-Final - Team 3 vs Team 4 MCS - Bangalore
59 Sat-24 20:00 14:30 Play-off for 3rd Place - Team A vs Team B DYP - Mumbai
60 Sun-25 20:00 14:30 Final of IPL 2010 - Team 1 vs Team 2 DYP - Mumbai

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rahul Dravid is an Indian professional cricketer who was born on January 11, 1973 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Popularly known as “Jammy” or “The Wall” in the cricketing circles, this right-handed batsman also keeps wickets besides bowling right-arm off spin occasionally. Rahul Dravid graduated from the St Joseph's College of Commerce in Bangalore and resides in Bangalore with his wife, Vijeta, and son, Samit.

Rahul Dravid had a passion for cricket right from the age of 12 and his talents were first spotted by Keki Tarapore, an established cricket player-turned-coach. He broke into the senior national team in June 1996 and made his mark by scoring 95 runs on his Test debut against England. In the tour of South Africa that year, he made a thundering 148 in the first innings and followed it up with a 81 in the second innings in the third Test at Johannesburg, which fetched him the Man of the Match award. He scored centuries in both the innings of the New Year's Test match against New Zealand, played in 1999, to join an elite band of Indian cricketers who have scored centuries in both the innings, namely Vijay Hazare and Sunil Gavaskar. Rahul Dravid made his first double century against Zimbabwe in Delhi, helping India to a victorious finish.

2001 proved to be a remarkable year not just for Rahul Dravid but also for Indian cricket. In the second Test match against Australia played at Kolkata, he joined hands with VVS Laxman to build a 376-run partnership, of which he made 180 runs, to script one of cricket’s greatest comebacks. The following year too turned out to be fruitful for Rahul Dravid, as he made four centuries in a row, three against England and one against the West Indies.

Rahul Dravid scored three double hundreds during the 2003-04 season to become the second Indian batsman to score double hundreds thrice in Test cricket. He holds the distinction of being the only player to smash a century against every Test playing nation away from home. Rahul Dravid is also the third Indian to score more than 10,000 Test runs and he reached this landmark on March 29, 2008 against South Africa in Chennai. As of August 11, 2008 he has scored 10,246 runs from 125 matches at an average of 53.92 in Test cricket.

Due to his consistent performance and ability to lead the team he was named the captain of the Indian team. In 2006 his brilliant captaincy helped India win the Test series against the West Indies in its home, a feat last achieved in 1971. That year, Rahul Dravid also became the first captain to lead India to its first Test triumph against South Africa on its home soil as well as the third Indian captain to win a Test series in England.

Rahul Dravid entered the One Day International (ODI) scene by making his debut against Sri Lanka on April 3, 1996 at the Singer Cup in Singapore. He made his first half-century against Pakistan in the Sahara Cup held in 1996. Rahul Dravid gave a stunning performance in the 1999 World Cup, making 461 runs, to finish as the top run-scorer of the tournament. For this achievement he was named Ceat Cricketer of the 1999 World Cup. Under his vice-captaincy, the Indian team made it to the final in the 2003 World Cup, in which Rahul Dravid perfomed a dual role as a batsman and wicket-keeper. In the 2007 World Cup held in the West Indies he led Indian cricket team.

In the history of ODI cricket, Rahul Dravid was the third Indian to make 10,000 runs. He accomplished this on February 14, 2007 becoming the sixth player in the world to achieve this feat. Rahul Dravid also has to his credit the record of being the only batsmen involved in two ODI partnerships exceeding 300 runs. He holds the record for the highest number of catches by an Indian fielder and also has the highest ODI batting average of 45.58 as captain. His spectacular performances in ODIs have fetched him fourteen Man of the Match awards. He has made 10,585 runs, his career best being 153, from 333 matches in ODI cricket as of October 14, 2007.

Rahul Dravid represented the state at the Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 levels, not only proving himself as a good batsman, but also as a wicket-keeper. He was selected to play in the Ranji Trophy match against Maharashtra in February 1991, in which he played exceptionally well to score 82 runs. Following his 380 runs scored at an average of 63.3 in his first full season in 1991-1992, he was chosen for the South Zone team for the Duleep Trophy.

Rahul Dravid was an automatic choice to captain the Bangalore Royal Challengers owned by Vijay Mallya for the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008. He made 329 runs from the 12 matches that he had played for this team, his highest score being an unbeaten 75.

For his services to Indian cricket Rahul Dravid was conferred with the Padma Shri Award by the Indian Government in 2004. He was also the recipient of the 2004 Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy given to the International Cricket Council (ICC) Player of the Year

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rahul has been one of the main pillars of the Indian batting with his blend of technical
proficiency & stylish strokes. His strokes are so perfect technically that he is considered as
the "wall" of the Indian Team. His batting style was regarded slow for the ODI’s initially but with
his imaginative placing of the ball & innovative strokes he made himself as an integral part of
the Indian team for both Tests as well as ODI’s. His temperament for both the versions of the
game is exemplary and has earned him respect from all the other players. The Indian Vice
Captain has frequently played the sheet anchor role to perfection. . He was verily the batsman
of the 1999 World Cup with two hundreds and the highest aggregate. For this, he was named
as Wisden cricketer of the year, one of the few Indians to receive this special accolade. His
good and innocent looks make him very popular among the girls.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rahul Dravid, a cricketer who seamlessly blends an old-world classicism with a new-age professionalism, is the best No. 3 batsman to play for India - and might even be considered one of the best ever by the time his career is done. He already averages around 60 at that position, more than any regular No. 3 batsman in the game's history, barring Don Bradman. Unusually for an Indian batsman, he also averages more overseas - around 60, again - than at home. But impressive as his statistics are, they cannot represent the extent of his importance to India, or the beauty of his batsmanship.

When Dravid began playing Test cricket, he was quickly stereotyped as a technically correct player capable of stonewalling against the best attacks - his early nickname was 'The Wall' - but of little else. As the years went by, though, Dravid, a sincere batsman who brought humility and a deep intelligence to his study of the game, grew in stature, finally reaching full blossom under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy. As a New India emerged, so did a new Dravid: first, he put on the wicketkeeping gloves in one-dayers, and transformed himself into an astute finisher in the middle-order; then, he strung together a series of awe-inspiring performances in Test matches, as India crept closer and closer to their quest of an overseas series win.

Dravid's golden phase began, arguably, in Kolkata 2001, with a supporting act, when he made 180 to supplement VVS Laxman's classic effort of 281 against Australia. But from then on, Dravid became India's most valuable player, saving them Tests at Port Elizabeth, Georgetown and Trent Bridge, winning them Tests at Headlingley, Adelaide, Kandy and Rawalpindi. At one point during this run, he carved up four centuries in successive innings, and hit four double-centuries in the space of 15 Tests, including in historic away-wins at Adelaide and Rawalpindi. As India finished off the 2004 Pakistan tour on a winning note, on the back of Dravid's epic 270, his average crept past Sachin Tendulkar's - and it seemed no aberration.

Dravid's amazing run was no triumph of substance over style, though, for he has plenty of both. A classical strokeplayer who plays every shot in the book, he often outscores team-mates like Tendulkar and Laxman in the course of partnerships with them, and while his pulling and cover-driving is especially breathtaking, he has every other shot in the book as well. He is both an artist and a craftsman, repeatedly constructing innings that stand out not merely for the beauty of their execution, but for the context in which they come. By the time he entered his 30s, Dravid was already in the pantheon of great Indian batsmen, alongside Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar.

In October 2005, he was appointed captain the one-day side, began with a thumping 6-1 hammering of Sri Lanka in a home series, and was soon given responsibility of the Test side as well, taking over from the controversy-shrouded Sourav Ganguly. While his captaincy stint started encouragingly with ODI victories against Pakistan and England, it soon nosedived with an embarrassing defeat against Bangladesh which led to an early exit from the 2007 World Cup. As a Test team, though, India had plenty to celebrate under Dravid, winning their first Test in South Africa and achieving two historic away series wins in the West Indies and England. Dravid stepped down from the captaincy after the 2007 England tour. A poor run in a one-day series at home against Australia saw Dravid dropped from the subsequent series against Pakistan. His Test form suffered too through the next year, but he hit back in 2009, scoring consistently in New Zealand and notching up two centuries in the home series against Sri Lanka to end the decade on a high.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dravid named World Player of Year
India batsman Rahul Dravid has been named World Player of the Year at the inaugural International Cricket Council (ICC) awards. He was chosen by a 50-strong panel of former cricketing greats, national captains, umpires and referees. "It is quite unbelievable, I am really proud," said Dravid, who was also named Test Player of the Year. "I am so happy to be recognised by some really great people."
The batsman, who has also turned his hand to wicketkeeping in the one-day game, received the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for being the best player in both forms of the game in the year to July 31, 2004.
England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff was chosen as One-Day International Player of the Year to top off a memorable week for the 26-year-old after his partner gave birth to a baby girl.
"If someone had said three years ago you would be getting One-Day Player of the Year I wouldn't have believed them," said Flintoff, who beat off competition from Australians Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist and India's Sachin Tendulkar. "It has been a special week. I am pinching myself."
Ponting was named captain of both World XIs and asked who would win if there was a game between the one-day XI chosen by the panel and his Australia side

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Full name Rahul Sharad Dravid (India)
Born January 11, 1973, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
Current age 37 years 22 days
Major teams India, Scotland, Asia XI, ICC World XI, Karnataka, Kent, Royal Challengers Bangalore
Nickname The Wall
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm offbreak
Fielding position Occasional wicketkeeper
Education St. Joseph's Boys' High School