Dravid dons the blue one last time today
Rahul Dravid will be the cynosure of a nation on Friday, September 11, when he calls it a day in the one-day arena of a game that he has played as a true gentleman, a fighting player and arguably India's most technically correct batsman.
Dravid, when he takes field at the Sophia Gardens on Friday in Cardiff, will have his last day under the sun donning the blue for India.
For someone who has scored more than 10,000 runs in 343 matches at an average of just under 40, Dravid would have never expected to be called back in the ODI squad, but his brilliant form while the others struggled in English conditions forced the selectors to pick him for the current ODI series. He is also the seventh highest run-getter in the shorter format of the game.
It's bound to be an emotional moment for 'The Wall' since he hasn't been a regular in India's one-day scheme of things since 2007. Having led India to a disastrous World Cup campaign that year, he was dumped from the 50-over format and Dravid focussed his attention to Test cricket.
Surely, Dravid's heroics in Tests often overshadowed his consistency in ODIs. Besides that, he had to be contend with the phenomenal rise of openers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly.
Despite having spent most of his career under the giant shadow of Tendulkar, India's Mr. Dependable has carried on without even a single complaint, no matter how he was treated by the critics and the selectors. It's his single-minded attitude to the team's cause that sets him apart.
It was never an easy ride for Dravid. He coped with omission during the early days after making his debut in 1996. He scored his first hundred — 107 — at Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium against Pakistan in 1997 but it was a day that belonged to Saeed Anwar's 194.
Dravid never looked back from that day and went on to score 12 ODI hundreds and 82 half centuries till date and his 145 against Sri Lanka at Taunton in 1999 World Cup is the gem in his ODI crown. Along with an equally rampant Ganguly (183), Dravid shared a 318-run second-wicket partnership.
To knock the cover off the ball never came naturally to Dravid but there are a few instances when he has surprised himself by smashing the ball all around the park. The most recent of those memories is when he slammed Samit Patel for three consecutive sixes in his first and last T20 against England.