SOURCE : www.cricketfundas.com
The Great Wall of India stands Tall between Pakistan's Victory and Defeat
A featured article on The Wall-Rahul Dravid by B.V.Swagath
Rawalpindi, venue for the third and deciding test of the historic series, an opportunity for India to win a series abroad after a long gap; can the Indian team hold on to their nerves to win this deciding test? We have seen this team not winning a test series abroad even after showing early promise in the tours of Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, West Indies, England and recently Australia. But after winning the toss and putting the inexperienced Pakistan batting line up on a green top - it was the ideal start to their tryst towards a test and a series victory.
Pakistan batsmen failed to deliver the goods and fell cheaply to the young Indian brigade of Balaji, Pathan and Nehra. The home side may have been bowled out for a modest 224, but the Indian batsmen had to shield from any complacency and bat Pakistan out of the match. Shoaib Akthar and his team mates may have thought that they had created shivers in the Indian dressing room by sending the dangerous Sehwag back with the first ball. But with a determined Rahul Dravid, who was focused enough to bat long enough to secure the match for India, Pakistan were always in a strift. Ball after ball, Dravid was closing his eyes for a second and was focusing and refocusing on his mission. With a solid and technically sound batsman in Rahul Dravid at the crease, millions of Indians would have relaxed with great comfort. And little Parthiv Patel, learning from his senior partner, played according to the merit of the ball and ensured that India saw the new ball terror without any hurdles.
Patience is bitter...but the fruits it bears are sweet. Rahul Dravid, a batsman who knows when to defend the good balls, when to play his shots, but most importantly "leave the balls which he didn't have to play at". He is always a batsman who could be watched from close angles, whether you are an aspiring cricketer or for that matter an established cricketer at the highest level. Even the best batsman in the World, Sachin Tendulkar failed to deliver in the crunch situation, but Dravid battled out the fiery spells from the Pakistani attack and take India into a commanding position. Every long innings has a lucky break or two, so was with Dravid's. An uppish cut shot, one of the very few blemishes from Dravid and Yasir Hameed at point made a complete mess of an easy chance. That was heartbreaking for all the Pakistanis as everyone knows that Dravid would pay them badly with a big score.
A century is a milestone for young and inexperienced batsmen around the world to be satisfied, but not for Dravid who has a big appetite for runs. No flashes no swishes outside the off-stump even when he's batting on 100 or 150 or 200 for that matter. Such is the discipline instilled in this man and is therefore called THE WALL. He has the best cover drive in the world arguably. He can pierce the narrowest of gaps and still find the ropes with ease. All in all Dravid can be described as a complete batsman for any situation, any bowling attack and on any pitch.
With India in a commanding position, Dravid was required to step the tempo up and no difficulties at all for this man in doing so. He can battle out when the bowlers are at their fiery best and still cash in whenever he gets a lose delivery. He scored as many as 270 runs on what was supposed to be a bowler friendly track. This innings ensured a historic win for the Indian team and the whole Indian population would be grateful for THE WALL.
What was commendable about this historic innings by Dravid, was his fitness. Never in his entire stay of over 12 hours did he show signs of weariness and the sheer mental strength this man has was there for all to see. Although he was in his mid-200s, he still pushed hard for the singles and earnestly wanted them to be converted into twos, which shows the commitment with which he played this innings. This sign of a high level of mental and physical toughness can make this Great Indian Wall a difficult one to break.
With as many as 5 double hundreds to his name, Dravid is now one of the all time Indian greats and also an all time great in the game's history. Whenever India is in a shaky situation, look upon to THE WALL - Rahul Dravid to bail the team out of trouble, and most often or not he doesn't disappoint you!
[Edited on 14-5-2004 by pompous]