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The wall is showing signs of dilapidation
by Amit Masram
Sep 22, 2008
While all the scanners focused on the exclusion of Saurav Ganguly from the Irani trophy, one man quietly escaped the notice .That man has been the architect of many Indian victories and has delivered the goods home and abroad .But Cricket is a great leveler in many ways, after those big years , it’s been a downhill for Rahul Sharad Dravid. The wall is showing signs of dilapidation, after having all those phenomenal years. The last two have been dismal, by Dravid’s high standards

While all the focus remains intact on the prince of Calcutta, as the new selection committee assumes charge by September end, I would be keen to see the development around Dravid. Known for his technical correctness and penchant for solid knocks, Dravid has been a shadow of his self for quite some time now and doesn’t look at ease when he takes the field .That colossal average of a shade over 58 has now settled at 54 thanks to a couple of mediocre years .

So, what’s really gone wrong for him? Well, the mode of dismissals surely depicts that he has been troubled most out side off stump, with the ball that leaves him .Also he has been out, when he tries to keep the bowl down or play too far out side off stump. The more he tries hard to come back into form the more he struggles .One just gets the feeling the confidence has evaporated in terms of being decisive whether to go back on the back- foot or come on to front foot.

A closer look at the statistics tells the dip in form While he was at the acme of his career on 2004 -2005 .It was the most fruitful time for Indian cricket as Dravid piled runs consistently year after year. Dravid is the current world record holder for the highest percentage contribution of runs scored in matches won under a single captain, where the captain has won more than 20 Tests. In the 21 Test matches India won under Ganguly's stewardship, Dravid played his part in every single one of those wins, scoring at a record average of 102.84 and piling up an astonishing 2571 runs, with nine hundreds - three of them double-centuries - and ten fifties in 32 innings. He contributed nearly 23% of the total runs scored by India those 21 matches, which is almost one run out of every four runs the team scored.

After relinquishing the throne, under controversial circumstances, to concentrate on his batting, the slump of form has stretched .Dravid over the years has taken every possible role that he might don to team’s cause. However with the selectors giving an inkling of things to come and the young Turks in Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma waiting in the wings , it would be imperative to start scoring runs . History bears the testimony that number 3 positions is the critical in any team as they forge match winning partnerships and bat the opposition out of the game.

The selectors might have put on the notice for a few seniors and Ganguly faced the music as well .But to Dravid’s side he is one of the fittest members in the team and a reliable campaigner in the slips cordon .As a result , things still look under control .

Dravid got the Test captaincy on full-time basis in December 2005 and has not done that bad, given the demands of captaincy and expectations coming with it .But definitely remains a far cry from Dravid the player.

From an Indian standpoint, if India have to stake a claim on the Border Gavaskar Trophy, Rahul Dravid must stay at the crease and more importantly score runs. What that would eventually mean is to start afresh and just enjoy the game without worrying too much about the past. .The Aussies will surely target him as he still assumes greater significance but having played international cricket for a dozen years, Rahul knows how to handle it. He has fond memories of the epic match against the Australians at the Eden Gardens, where his partnership with Laxman turned the series on its head. In the offing is interesting phase as Dravid readies to rekindle his old form.
 
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