One last time.......
Ah! finally got to watch some test cricket. Agreed that not everything was perfect about that the recently concluded India-Aus test series. Slow over rates, flat belters, 500+ totals, expert comments from 'L Sivaramakrishnan' are not exactly something that sets your pulse racing ! Still there were patches of brilliance that more than made up for it.
I made it a point to catch the action whenever possible, but there was one thing I did religiously. Whenever Dravid came out to bat, I used to switch of the television.Why? Cos I was tensed. I wanted him to perform. (His extended run of poor form in test cricket was baffling. Mind you if he averages 35 he is said to be out of form !! Those are the standards that he has set.) It pained me to watch Dravid have another lean series. I just could'nt understand how "the wall" could crumble brick by brick.
My very first memory of watching Dravid bat was way back in Toronto in 96 when he played a couple of match winning knocks on difficult pitches. ( I could'nt watch his 95 at Lords cos of the usual cable television blackout prior to an important series!). I vividly remember my brother telling me that this guy has class. What started thereafter was a journey – a journey where Dravid was the architect of all overseas test victories. Leeds, Adeliade, Johanesberg, Multan – green tops, bouncy tracks, rank turners, flat belters – he performed on all of them. Dravid was “pitch agnostic”. The amount of runs he scored was never a function of the surface that was provided to him by the curator. Not many liked his style of batting. People said he was too slow, he was boring. In this age where one night stands and slam bang boom boom words like “patience” and “perseverance” were considered an old school of thought. But for purists like me his batting epitomizes life in many ways. Grit, determination, fighting spirit and concentration. If you ask me to pick an all time test team the first thing I will do is put Dravid at 3. For sheer contribution to India’s overseas success I rate him higher than Sachin. I just hope he can have one magical series again – before he calls it a day.