13288 Test runs, an average of over 52, 36 Test tons, 63 half centuries, 210 Test catches, 10889 ODI runs. Can Rahul Dravid’s career for India be summed up in figures?
Dravid retired as not only India’s but the world’s second highest run scorer in Tests (since taken over by Ricky Ponting). India however lost much more than a legendary batsman.
He was the man that stood tall amongst the ruins whenever a green top confronted India’s famed batting line-up. One of the rare cricketers whose away record was better than his statistics at home (and he was no pushover in Indian conditions), Dravid’s penchant for putting his hand up to be counted in difficult circumstances is now the stuff of folklore.
From makeshift wicketkeeper to emergency opener, Dravid was always ready to step in for the team cause. Often overshadowed by his more flamboyant teammates during his playing days, Dravid’s true value has been realised since his retirement by both the game’s fans and the cricket community alike.
Though India have found a worthy successor for ‘The Wall’ in Cheteshwar Pujara, Dravid’s reassuring presence at the crease won’t easily be forgotten.
More than the runs he scored or the matches he won, Dravid will be remembered for the way he played the sport. He showed that cricket can still be a gentleman’s game, and earned the respect of both his peers and opponents. When Rahul Dravid announced his retirement in March, Indian cricket lost one of their best players but without doubt their best man.