Rahul Dravid, the Wall as he is affectionately known, has been my cricketing hero—my role model for as long as I can remember.
My favorite memory of the great Indian legend—Rahul Dravid, was when he carried his bat in England at The Oval. In that series, when all the chips were down, he fought for the team until the very end.
At the end of his career, it was a reminder of what he stood for. Today I discuss my favorite Rahul Dravid memories and what he taught me.
My First Memory of Rahul Dravid
My first memory of watching cricket was Dravid’s roar and fist celebration in that famous 2003 Adelaide victory with a trademark square cut to Stuart MacGill after scoring 233 and 72*. Early next year, the 2004 ODI series versus Pakistan sealed my love for cricket and my awe for the dashing wicket-keeper batsman with sunglasses, as his image was in those days.Embed from Getty Images
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Rahul Dravid Stats & Highlights
Before we get into the philosophy, let us get the stats out of the way.
- 164 Test Matches and 344 ODIs, 48 international centuries, a 17 year international career, over 10,000 runs in each format
- Holds the world record for the most number of catches in Test matches
- Most balls played in a Test career (31,258)
- Indian Team captain (Led them to first Test victory in South Africa along with series victories in West Indies and England. Also was the captain during India’s 2007 World Cup).
- Holds the Test record for most number of runs in a partnerships (6921 with Sachin Tendulkar)
- With VVS Laxman, Dravid shared a 376-run partnership (2001) & 303-run partnership (2003), both vs Australia
Dravid in England
In England, his record even more stellar:
- Dravid’s first international match was a Test match in Lord’s against England, where he made 95, missing his century by just five runs (He would eventually get on the Lord’s Honours Boards fifteen years later in 2011).
- Twice Man of the Series (with 3 tons each) – 2002 and 2011
- Test series win as a captain – 2007
On the other end of the spectrum in limited overs cricket:
- Highest Run Scorer – 1999 Cricket World Cup
- 92* (63) – Man of the Match performance – 2007
- Even three sixes in a row in his T20 debut, or shall I say, retirement match.
Remarkable.Embed from Getty Images
Rahul Dravid Head Coach
After Dravid retired as a player, he tried commentary and coaching. Well, the commentary stint did not last that long. As a coach, Dravid took over as a player-mentor with the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2014 and later with the Delhi Daredevils.
The Under-19 & NCA Stint
National recognition in the coaching setup came when Dravid was selected as the head of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and the Under-19/A Teams. This is where Rahul Dravid had the most success as a coach. Training the next generation of Indian cricketers, helping them technically & mentally, and giving them confidence was what India needed at the time. Additionally, setting up A tours paid India dividends with the future overseas Test victories.
The rise of Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw & the contributions of Shardul Thakur & Washington Thakur in the historic Gabba Test could be traced back to this stint.
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The National Side
After India crashed from defeat in the first round of the 2021 T20 World Cup, Dravid was handed over the reins as the coach of the national side. Rohit Sharma replaced Virat Kohli as captain.
During the year, several players were given opportunities, a change of mindset was promised and even delivered. However, inconsistency in selection, multiple captains, overkill of cricket, injuries, & inability to play modern-day T20 cricket meant India crashed out in the 2022 T20 World Cup semifinal against England.
So, how can we judge Dravid’s coaching career so far? Not great, not bad, somewhere in the middle. Sort of like his captaincy career.
Numbers aside, it was how he carried himself on and off the field that shone through. Whether it was the ability to contribute to victories in tough overseas conditions, the consistency throughout his career, or the adaptability to suit the needs of the team, Dravid was always there. Opening the batting, donning the gloves to accommodate an extra batsman, stepping away for the youngsters in the 2007 T20 World Cup, and even bowling handy off-spin, he was a perfect team player.
Navjot Singh Sidhu summarized it perfectly, “Rahul Dravid is a player who would walk on broken glass if his team asks him to.”
Even in tough phases of his career, examples of perseverance and resilience were aplenty, like his 40-ball stay for a single against Australia. During days of batting collapses, or in the case of the 2011 tour of England- an entire series of collapses, we could depend on him. Grinding opposition bowlers down, building partnerships after partnerships, and staying in the game were his forte. For the highlight reels, his innings may not be the most flamboyant, but probably the most essential. As they say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Off the field, mentoring youngsters in the U-19, India A, or the IPL, delivering the Don Bradman Oration lecture, being an example of Fair Play as Rajasthan Royals’ captain, and avoiding controversies, Dravid’s genuine and graceful demeanor complemented his skills on the ground.
The combination of perseverance and resilience, determination and discipline, as well as humility and team-before-self attitude — that is what Rahul Dravid has taught me.
What We Can Learn from Rahul Dravid?
Challenges will come throughout life, but as long as we have the determination to face and overcome the obstacles, things will be get better. Giving up is not an option, but improving is. We should always strive for excellence without sacrificing morals. Even if we do succeed in achieving our goals once or twice, that is not enough. Being consistent with the process, adapting with time, repeating the good and learning from the bad, that is what matters. In the long run, the results do not matter as much as the journey. Finally, regardless if we are a member of a company, a leadership group, a sports team, or a band, interests of the team always outweigh individual glory.
These lessons can be applied to any aspect of life, not just cricket, and that for me is why Rahul Dravid is my cricketing role model.
I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes on Rahul Dravid:
“If you really want to see aggression, look into Dravid’s eyes”—Matthew Hayden
“The wolf who lived for the pack” — Harsha Bhogle
“If you can’t get along with Dravid, you’re struggling in life”—Brett Lee
Rahul Dravid – Frequently Asked Questions
Rahul Dravid was an Indian cricketer and is Team India’s current men’s head coach. From 1996-2013, he was India’s top batters. He is arguably India’s Best #3 batter, scored in numerous important overseas victories, and served as India’s captain.
Rahul Dravid’s middle name is Sharad. His full name is Rahul Sharad Dravid.
Rahul Dravid announced his retirement from international cricket in 2013. He retired from T20Is and ODIs in the horror series against England in 2011. He continued to play Test cricket, but retired after the tour of Australia in the next year. Finally, Rahul Dravid retired from T20 league after Champions League 2014, when he captained the Rajasthan Royals.
Rahul Dravid is called the ‘Wall’ due to his ability to survive tough sessions for long periods. Dravid has been the architect of several of India’s key overseas victories – Headingly 2002, Adelaide 2013, Rawalpindi 2004, Kingston 2006, and the disastrous England tour of 2011 (where India lost 0-4). Overall, Rahul Dravid faced 31,258 balls in Test cricket, more than any cricketer in history.
Rahul Dravid played a mammoth total of 46,591 balls in international cricket (31,285 Test, 15,285 ODI, and 21 T20I)
Rahul Dravid played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore from 2008-2010 and the Rajasthan Royals from 2011-2014.
Yes, Rahul Dravid represented Scotland as an overseas player. He played for Scotland in the national Cricket League against teams like Hampshire, Scotland, Lancashire, etc.
Dravid has had a couple of nicknames, The Wall and Jammy.
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Image Courtesy of Chubby Chandru / CC BY creative commons license, some rights reserved.