Exactly 15 years ago on this day, a fuming Sardar decided to walk off the Indian team, paving way for his roomie to a dream Test Cap.
Yes, this date, exactly 15 years ago India went into a Lords Test Match under the captaincy of Azharuddin having lost the One Day series 2-1 and having lost the first test at Edgbaston by 8 wickets. They even had lost by 10 wickets to Derbyshire in a practice match before the Lords Test.
Things were never more glum, another pasting awaited them, Manjrekar was injured, Sidhu abandoned the team on tour, India was expected to lose easily, let alone being in a winning position and pressurising England on the last day buoyoed by two young batsmen who announced themselves.
India fielded two rookies, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, while Dravid selection was not as controversial, Ganguly was said to be a result of the quota system. However, this was the oppurtunity the Bengali had to show what he was made of. He was thrust in at no.3 at the drop of V.Rathore’s wicket with the Score of 25/1…
No I wont write what happened, I think everyone knows what happened next, Ganguly and Dravid became two of India’s most prolific batsmen. While Dravid has shouldered India’s charge as the Wall or Mr. Dependable, Sourav injected steel into Indian cricket and converted a bunch of talented cricketers into a fighting unit.
Today as Dravid takes strike at Kingston in Jamaica he would realise he has come a long long way.. at 12603 runs he still feels nervous and excited as he walks out to bat, thats what he said in a recent interview.
He still is motivated by Sachin, who made his debut 7 years before Dravid and has had an amazing last two years.
Dravid awaits one last hurrah, this series in the West Indies followed by England tour and subsequent home series visit of West Indies and the Australian tour will probably tell us where this champion cricketer is headed.
Now with Sachin, Veeru, Gauti not there on this West Indian trip he has the added responsibility along with Laxman to guide the young Kohli, Raina, Abhinav Mukund in the Test Arena.
Something tells me this champion cricketer cannot go down quietly as the last couple of years for Dravid have not been great. However, I have always believed in the old adage, that form is temporary, class is permanent.
In all 14 Tests this season awaits this RUN HUNGRY cricketer. I am sure he has been waiting now for almost 7 months waiting for his time and thinking a thousand times about how he is going to change things and what he is going to do and how he is going to make it count. Today ends his wait and he gets back to doing what he does best, in his whites. I expect mountains of runs from him this season. Let me just say he is due… DUE BIG TIME…
As the Umpires would say, “Let’s play gentlemen”