News by Venkatesh Govindarajan 16/12/03
Indian batsman Rahul Dravid, aka ‘The Wall’ has done it again and as usual from the background, whilst the attacking foreground wilted and then screamed to the reinforcements for support. VVS Laxman was the zinc coating and Dravid the steel beneath it. Slim and unassuming steel bars, but strong and supportive and the life of any flabby concrete structure – in this case, the Indian cricket team.
Without doubt, Dravid’s first innings knock of 233 runs and his second innings dig of 72 not out, were the deciding factors in India’s historic victory over the Aussie Juggernaut at the Adelaide oval. Dravid’s batting feat was as memorable as Laxman’s demolition of the Aussies at Kolkata in 2001.
Remember the time when Dravid was dubbed as unsuitable for One Day Internationals. His 50 runs from 30 balls most recently, made his detractors in the Indian media, eat humble pie. Well, that is old hat and maybe, a positive happening in his life, when seen in retrospect, as it taught him a valuable lesson – Adapt!
Dravid has been keeping a low profile and has insisted always that his actions will speak louder than all the noise originating from all directions about him, against him, in praise of him and what have you.
As Captain in Ganguly’s absence, he led the Indian team to victory in the first match against the Aussies in the TVS Cup during the recently completed One Day Series and could have done it again, at Kolkata, but then, this was another of those proverbial slips between the Cup and the Lip, for the stoic Capricornian.
The Big Guns failed to deliver once again during the Adelaide Test when it mattered the most, as is always the case! Talent exhibited when the chips are down and the circumstances are trying, is the truest. Dravid was omitted from a Test Side on the basis of his poor form not long ago (guess that was ‘by Mr Tendulkar’s decree’!). But, he proved a point by getting back with a match-winning double century in the Ranji Trophy Finals later that year.
If current form is what one should go by, then many players should never have been in the side for longer than 10 or 20 matches and should have been compelled to make comebacks, a-la the supremely-talented Mohinder Amarnath. This holds true for some players in the present side also. Well, these ‘one rule for A, B and another for the rest’ has been extant in our country from the 15th of August 1947. At least the British had one Law for all Indians – be he Mahatma Gandhi or a common peasant demonstrator!
Back to India’s Adelaide victory. Truly, a turning point, a watershed event for Indian cricket and a difficult time for Steve Waugh, who wanted to exit with one additional feather in his cap. But who knows, maybe he still will, with Lee in for the Boxing Day Test at the MCG and McGrath likely to return for the 4th Test at the SCG.