By Syed Khalid Mahmood
As they say form is temporary and class is permanent. So is the case with Rahul Dravid, acclaimed as the technically the most correct batsman to have played the game for a long time.
Dravid has momentarily lost his touch. He looked a mere shadow of his own self in the recently concluded four-Test home series against Australia. He got the starts in a few innings but could not convert them into big scores.
He has been there for more than 12 years now. He has remained the country’s most consistent and the most dependable batsman in the majority of these years.
But let us not lose sight of the fact that Dravid is also a human being. Even the most efficient of machines also show variation in their performance if used for a longer period.
He has not scored heavily in the last few matches but there is nothing to suggest that his reflexes have slowed down or there is any lack of commitment on his part. He is a team man to core, someone you can look forward to.
Dravid is one man who has always given more than one hundred percent. He has not been afraid to switch his batting position in the interest of the team. He has delivered in the toughest of conditions. He has stood out where his illustrious colleagues have been found wanting.
Yes if look at Dravid’s phenomenal record of the past, we find his performance during the last one year as ordinary from his own high standards. He has managed to play the odd match-winning knock that he has been famous for even in this period.
Who will forget his innings at Perth earlier this year that allowed India to turn it around against Australia who had somehow won the first couple of Tests. A modest and unassuming person that he is, he had hardly smiled when reminded that he was the topscorer in the Perth won by India against all odds.
Dravid has played numerous match-winning knocks for India in his career. He has been the architect of so many victories recorded by India in the overseas Tests. He has had a very high percentage of runs in the Test match that India won.
The experts of the game have been unanimous in their assessment that technically he has been the most gifted batsman around. He has had the capacity of occupying the crease for a very long time and grind the bowlers for sessions.
Dravid still has a lot of years left in him. He has every chance to regain his top form. It looks a matter of time really. He has some time before the start of the two-Test series against England at home.
He may utilize this time in playing a couple of Ranji Trophy games to put some runs on the board. Or may be he can have some time off.
India cannot afford to be without him even though they have discovered quite a few outstanding young batsmen in the recent past. He is one batsman who anchors the innings. He provides the balance in the batting line-up having so many fluent stroke-makers.
November 15, 2008