And he was supposed to, as usual, save the Indian team from sinking. Was he successful? Maybe, from the final scoreline of 3-0, his critics would be ready to answer in the negative. "Dravid couldn't do any wonders for the team, he was away from the one days for a very long time, etc.", his critics would argue. But look from the point of view of a cricket enthusiast, look through the eyes of a fan of Indian cricket and you would know what he brings to the team.
What Dravid brings with him is immense respect, the feeling of someone reliable in the lineup and an impeccable persona. He is a rock solid batsman. Very few can point out flaws in his batting technique, his stance, his beautiful cover drives. Yes, when he debuted in ODIs, he was immediately dropped after a few matches for playing slowly. He was not considered fit enough to be in the scheme of ODIs. Many players would be happy to be in the test team and forget about playing in the one days again. And here lies the difference between good players and great players. Dravid, not only made a re-entry into the one day side, but held the Indian innings steady with innumerable knocks, which were a delight to watch.
There was never any doubt about Dravid's batting technique. If there was ever a doubt, it was about his batting style. He was slow to score runs; he didn't have a personality that one day players were supposed to have. He had replaced Vinod Kambli in the ODI team, when he started, and he did not have Kambli's irresistable strokeplay. He seemed a misfit in the One Days. But he bounced back and how! He not only played for the team for more than 12 years, he even captained the One day side. Not many would have thought that Rahul had the capability to lead an ODI side.
And talk about his commitment to the team!!He has played for the team even at position no. 7, when batsmen don't have much to do other than blind hitting. He has left his customary No. 3 position and opened the innings for the country, when required. He was never afraid to play quality pace, and he is one of the few players today in world cricket, who can play quickers and spinners well equally. Not just this, what takes the cake is that he has even kept wickets for the team, allowing an extra batsman to be taken into the side, and he did it with remarkable success. He was an established cricketer by then, who could have easily said no to keep wickets. But he always had the team's motive in mind. He never played for himself. He never played for records. He played for the team. He played for the country. And people love him for that.
He got the nickname 'The Wall' because of his ability to play long innings. His concentration was impenetrable. His dedication was unquestionable. But has he got the recognition that he deserves? I don't know. But he surely is a role model to the budding youngsters who love the game and love the spirit of the game.
Time comes and goes. Whether Dravid should have been dropped from the one day side is an altogether another debate, but Dravid not playing again for India in the shorter game is an inexplicable loss to the team. But, guys don't lose hope because this underrated hero of Indian cricket is still going strong in the Test arena and hopefully, will continue to give his best in his cricketing journey, which has been par excellence.