Rahul Sharad Dravid, simply regarded as one of the finest men to step on the cricket field, has all the skill and mind-set to grind out a big score on any pitch. He has the flair and shots to whack the ball out of the park in the shortest form of the game. His nickname is ''The Wall'' and for many years he has been part of what's been so good for India; an extremely consistent player and a gentleman. Everyone who plays with him admires him and when you see him play, you understand why.
He has been in the side since 1996 and was made captain in October 2005 but only stayed in the position of till September 2007. He holds the record for the most catches in Test cricket. He was the third international player to reach 12,000 runs in Test cricket and second Indian batsman to reach 12,000 after Sachin Tendulkar. While he is in very good company, he is the first and the only batsman to score a century in all ten Test playing nations. He has been involved in 19 century partnerships with Sachin Tendulkar, which itself is another world record.
His first big success was during the 7th Cricket World Cup where he was the top scorer with 461 runs. He is the only Indian to score back to back centuries in the Cricket World Cup. The scores he made were 110 against Kenya and a sublime 145 against Sri Lanka. He was selected as a wicket keeper batsman to accommodate an additional batsman.
One of his biggest and most important partnerships to date was with VVS Laxman in the second test of a three match test series against Australia in 2001 at Kolkata, and because of this partnership, it lead to one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the game. Australia had made 445 in their first innings and asked India to follow on after their own first innings of 171. In their follow on India made a huge total of 657, and then had set Australia 384 to win the test, but they had Australia all out for 212 and winning the test by 171 runs. Dravid and VVS had put on 376 runs for the 5th wicket. Dravid had scored 180 while Laxman made 281.
When you look at the batting strength that India had at that time, it wouldn't be a shock if one player was not given as much of the spotlight, especially when one of the players batting beside Dravid was none other than Sachin Tendulkar. However, Dravid has taken all the fame in his stride, produced score after score after score and in the late part of 2002 he scored four consecutive centuries; three against England and one against the West Indies. In August 2002 at Headingley, in the third test of the series he scored 148 in the first innings on a seamer-friendly pitch which went a long way to securing a famous win for India. In that series he notched up 602 runs in the four test matches against England and gained the man of the series award.
And Australia were to be done by Dravid and VVS once again in the second match in Adelaide, the pair put together a partnership when India were 85/4 in reply to Australia's 556, and the two put on a massive score of 303, when VVS was dismissed for 148 and Dravid went on to make 233, and he followed it with a 72 not out under a lot of pressure in the second innings to set up a famous victory for India. Once again he produced the runs in the series with 619 in total with an average of 103.16, and received another man of the series award, Dravid was by now was coming out of the shadows of Sachin and making his own name in Indian history.
During the late part of the 2003-2004 season during Ganguly's absence, Dravid led India to its first test victory over Pakistan in Multan, and in the third and final match of the series at Rawalpindi he scored a magestic 270 to take India to a historic test series in over Pakistan.
Rahul Dravid was asked to come back to ODI cricket and T20I cricket to help add strength to the Indian team, during their tour of England in 2011. India were confronted with injury after injury. Dravid being in such tremendous form during the series (arguably the only Indian batsman to challenge the English attack), he was asked to play once again in the shorter form of the game, and also the shortest form of the game.
He played his last ODI innings in Cardiff on the 16th of September 2011, scoring 69 from 79 balls before being eventually bowled by Graeme Swann. And in a funny twist he made his T20I debut while also playing his last T20I game, as he had announced his retirement before the start of the game. Despite his great ability to play T20 in the IPL he had never gone to play for India in the format till this game, instead deciding to save himself for the greatest form of the game, which is test cricket.
He had scored 31 from 21 balls at Old Trafford on the 31st of August 2011, but the biggest highlight of not only his innings but the whole day was Dravid hitting Samit Patel for three consecutive sixes which showed his class to play any form of the game.
He also has one test wicket to his name and that is of Ridley Jacobs in the fourth test against the West Indies during the 2001-2002 series. He has also been involved in two of the largest partnerships in ODIs; a 318 run partnership with Sourav Ganguly (the first to do so) and then a 331 run partnership with Sachin Tendulkar, which at this moment in time is a world record.
In 2004 he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India.
The honour board at Lord's has many great names on it, but it doesn't have Ponting, Kallis, Tendulkar and until the 23rd of July 2011, Dravid's name was not on the board either. Deservedly, after India's first innings he finally achieved this. He scored 103 not out and despite his team falling around him, The Wall stood tall. He got his reward for a lifetime of greatness, and it was one of the finest innings I've had the pleasure to watch.
Rahul Dravid remains playing test cricket for India and he is the backbone of the team. Despite his defensive qualities he can produce any stroke on any pitch, and is one of the best players in the history of the game to watch, with 35 centuries in test cricket at an average of 53.00, including 5 double centuries. He is also one of few Indians to average more at away test matches than at home.
He is The Wall, he is Rahul Dravid, arguably the finest player to play the game of cricket...