Call him the 'The Wall', a pioneer of a patient and defensive batting, or a recently-turned mentor of young Indian cricketers, Rahul Dravid on turning 48 today has shown in the last one year that he is yet to give so much back to the Indian cricket as he took over as the head of National Cricket Academy in his hometown Bangalore in a COVID-19 hit 2020.
And to think of his immediate impact on the Indian cricket team touring Down Under is getting Rohit Sharma fit in time for the last two Test matches. Of course, his fans would like to see him playing a lead role in future and who could blame them when you look back at his unequivocal contribution to the national colours.
From making a gritty Test debut at Lord's to winning a series as captain in England 11 years later, Rahul Sharad Dravid has been the pillar of Indian cricket and on Saturday, he turns 48 and is still going strong but now away from the hurly-burly and hustle.
And wishes were bound to pour from all around the globe, including a certain VVS Laxman, who didn't forget to heap praises on his special friend.
Warm birthday wishes to a special friend with whom I shared a lot of wonderful memories and who continues to inspire us. Wishing you a very special birthday and a wonderful year ahead Rahul. pic.twitter.com/S3hWufvD9r— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) January 11, 2021
Wishing Rahul Dravid a very happy birthday. One of the finest batsmen India ever produced, a true gentleman, a brilliant mentor and an inspiration to many. #HappyBirthdayRahulDravid— Yusuf Pathan (@iamyusufpathan) January 11, 2021
509 international caps🧢— BCCI (@BCCI) January 11, 2021
24,208 international runs🏏
48 international tons 👍
Most catches (210) in Tests 👌
Over 10,000 runs in both Tests & ODIs 👏
Wishing Rahul Dravid - former India captain & one of the finest batsmen to have ever graced the game - a very Happy Birthday 🎂👏 pic.twitter.com/X2E181x5jK
🏏 More than 10,000 runs in Tests and ODIs— ICC (@ICC) January 11, 2021
🌟 194 fifty-plus scores
👐 Most Test catches by a non-wicketkeeper
🔴 Most balls faced in Test cricket
🔥 Only player to be involved in two 300-plus ODI partnerships
Happy birthday to the incredible Rahul Dravid 🎂 pic.twitter.com/YeSVrSwlbT
Here's wishing the first-ever Royal Challenger and a legend of the sport, Rahul Dravid, a very happy birthday!— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) January 11, 2021
May your year be as delightful as your watertight front-foot defence. 🙌🏻🤗#PlayBold #WeAreChallengers pic.twitter.com/SWdl7OMmHx
Dravid's introduction to cricket was somehow overshadowed by Sourav Ganguly's 131 in 1996 but the 267-ball 95 and 363 minutes at the crease gave India an idea of the hardwork, graft and ability of a man, who just got better and better with time.
Born in Indore, Dravid's contribution has been immense for his state as well and a sold technique and sound Test game brought him to the international fold, where he scored a total of 24,208 runs from 509 international games across all the formats. The now 48-year-old retired international cricketer also has 48 centuries to his name, out of which 36 came in red-ball cricket.
Dravid is the fourth-highest run-getter for India in ODIs with 10,768 runs from 340 ODIs at an average of 39.15. Only Sachin Tendulkar (18,426), Virat Kohli (11,609) and Sourav Ganguly (11,221) are ahead of him in the list. In Tests, however, he sits just behind Tendulkar with 13,625 runs at an average of 52.63 in 163 games. Tendulkar has 15,921 runs to his name from 200 matches. Overall, he is still India's second-highest run-getter in international cricket till now.
Another important contribution of 'Jammy' and something that is often not talked about when taking his name is his slip fielding. Dravid was a constant in India's slip cordon and in a day when players where not diving around and as fit as sprinters, Dravid's catching and fielding stood out. A selfless man, who also donned the gloves for the team, so that an extra batsman can be fitted in, Dravid finished with 336 catches overall with 210 of them coming in Tests -- which is the most by a fielder in whites. He is fourth in the list for overall catches behind Mahela Jayawardene (440), Ricky Ponting (364) and Jacques Kallis (338).
Dravid's record as a captain and leader however is perhaps the only thing he would feel hard done by. He has captained India in 79 ODIs, winning 42 and losing 33 of them and has a win per cent of 56. In Tests, he led India out in 25 games, winning 8, losing 6 and drawing 11 with a win per cent of just 32.
But, it seems, what he couldn't do with the captain's hat on, he is making up for it as a coach. Now the head coach of the National Cricket Academy -- India's feeder line of talent and as the former India U19 coach, Dravid's effect on the youngsters have been immaculate.