- Indian cricket's latest star
If the legendary Sunil Gavaskar
first heralded his genius with a monumental performance of over 700 runs
in his debut series in the Caribbean islands way back in 1970-71 and talented
southpaw Vinod Kambli got off to fabulous back to back double centuries
in his very first season in 1992-93 while former skipper Mohammad Azharuddin
kicked off with a record breaking run of three hundreds in each of his
first three Tests in 1984-85, then India's latest batting sensation, Rahul
Dravid, has for his part made consistency his hallmark ever since debuting
in England last year.
Since he walked out to play
his first Test innings, Dravid with his impeccable technique and unflappable
temperament has been the pivot around which the Indian batting lineup revolves.
As the table given here shows, Dravid is now batting with an impressive
average of 47.89.
Dravid has been very consistent
in each series he has played in - the sole exception being the home series
late in 1996 against South Africa, when the national selectors bounced
him up and down the batting order like a yo-yo. Since then, he has returned
to steady run accumulation, time and again coming in when the team is a
wicket down for very little, and holding his end up with his obdurate batting
and calm run accumulation.
An interesting feature of
Dravid's progress is that his obduracy sometimes makes people forget his
stroke-making abilities. Dravid has been asked by the team management to
play the anchor, and he has filled the role admirably, even though doing
so has meant that he has had to curb his natural inclination to play strokes.
In fact, Dravid was rapidly making a name, among the more impatient of
cricket fans, for "boring" batsmanship, and it was being said that while
his temperament was unflappable, he did not have too many scoring strokes
in his repertoire. That assessment, Dravid proved wrong at his first opportunity
- in South Africa earlier this year, in the final of the ODI triangular
series, with India chasing a huge 251 runs to win in 40 overs, Dravid was
asked by his captain to play his natural game. And he responded with a
magnificent assault on the South African quicks that had the world's most
feared fast bowler, Allan Donald, losing his cool totally and mouthing
abuse at the Indian batsman - to which he promptly responded by clipping
Donald for yet another boundary.