Day 4, The Oval: Thank goodness for Rahul Dravid!

Posted: August 22, 2011 by The CouchExpert in Cricket, India in England 2011
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 Goutham Chakravarthi

 22 August 2011

The entire series has been about Rahul Dravid standing up for his team’s cause almost like another man back home fighting for the cause of anti-corruption. On a beautiful sunny Sunday, Rahul Dravid battled for his country with everything he’d got – with the skill of a sculptor, concentration of a chess Grand Master and the determination of a soldier. It was a throwback to the best days of Dravid between 2000 and 2006 when he scored runs with regularity and consistency of Indian government’s frequency in increasing fuel prices.

Rahul Dravid went past Gavaskar's 34 Test hundreds on Sunday.

A lower-order that has paled in comparison to the grit and skill shown by their English counterparts, showed admirable fight in supporting Dravid. Amit Mishra, showed twice today that he is made of good stuff. He handled the threat of Swann with great confidence and good skill. Alas, he was undone by a brilliant Bell catch. As a night watchman, batting overnight following on, he will be expected to carry the fight for his team for as long as he can. One the evidence so far, he is likely to.

Amid all the turmoil of wickets falling around him, Dravid looked at ease facing the turning deliveries of Swann, who has been highly impressive in this Test. Dravid looked unperturbed against some honest fast-bowling. If only the top-order didn’t acquiesce to the pressures of the English bowling, he may have helped hold the forte much longer. As it turned out, a determined lower-order helped India add another 197 runs in their first innings before the innings closed and Dravid became only the third Indian to carry his bat through.

The Indian fans would be relieved at the fight on display by the team battling a far superior team in all aspects this summer. Not often has the batting shown fight this summer, but today was different. The bowlers were made to work harder for their wickets and nothing was made easy. Even a skillful, determined unit that has had so much the better of its opposition was at times made to look tired and blunt by a determined lower-order. The message finally seemed to rub-off on the top order which looked more determined than before when made to follow-on. Finally, it looked a contest and it was a good battle.

Much of the series has been a disappointment for the poor standards exhibited by the visitors. Only Rahul Dravid has come out with his reputation intact. Enhanced as some would argue. Only cynics would argue of his stature or his greatness. Men of his ability rely not on reputation or pedigree but on deeds. Never the one to complain or seek excuse, he seeks pleasure earning his stripes and respect with deed on the field.

He is a clever man who studies administration and leagues of various sports across the globe and it is not difficult to see him get into cricket administration when he is finished with playing cricket. He was involved in the administration of world cup games in Bangalore for the KSCA (Karnataka State Cricket Administration). He makes case-studies on batting and presents them to young batsmen for his state Karnataka and for Rajastan Royals in the IPL. A selfless, but a clever man who is soaked deep in the games traditions and its values, it is but inevitable that his best runs should have come in a country that respects and values them as he does.

Alas, a controversial decision derailed his spectacular fight. India is proud to have such fighters represent it on the cricket field.


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