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Who is the Greatest Indian Test Batsman of All Time in Cricket
Rahul Dravid, the Greatest of Them All.
India has been playing test cricket since 1932, when India played its first test match at Lords in England against the MCC. All these years a number of batsmen have made their appearance and many have a left a lasting impact on the game. One can recount the names of Colonel CK Nayudu, Vijay Merchant, Vijay Hazare, Nawab of Pataudi, Sunil Gavaskar and more recently Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.
Most people would vote for Sachin Tendulkar, simply because of the fact that he has the maximum centuries in Test cricket (50) and for the fact that he has been around for nearly 2 decades. Perhaps this is the reason we cannot count him as the greatest as despite a plethora of records he has one ingredient missing and that is; he is not a match winner or a match savior. In his two decades in the Indian team Tendulkar has been unable to sustain any winning spree. On the contrary there have been umpteen occasions when India were within reach of victory, yet floundered at the post and lost, because Tendulkar was not up to the task and failed. Neither was he a match savior and on many occasions India lost to the lowest ranked team in world cricket Zimbabwe with Sachin in the ranks. He is certainly not a Bradman or Richards or a Sobers. In addition as pointed out by Sanjay Manjreker, he is averse to fast bowling and on occasions with a tough tour looming ahead would chicken out on some flimsy pretext like his not going on tour to the West Indies in 2011 and earlier in 2007.
In my opinion the greatest Indian batsmen since the dawn of test Cricket in India is Rahul Dravid. He is one man who is not only a role model, but has been the veritable ‘Wall’ who has blunted the opposition. His records and performance speak for themselves and this is one batsman who has never said ‘No” to either going on a tour or playing in a test. In fact his best records are on unplayable pitches like in the West Indies. On the present tour of the West Indies, he is the one single factor who stands between India losing. He is the man who on umpteen occasions has saved India and played match winning knocks from the hard wickets of the West Indies and the fast wickets of Australia to the swinging conditions in England. His 31 centuries are proof of his ability. But one does not go by statistics, but by the manner he faced the opposition, in particular the pace bowlers. After GR Vishwanath, he is the one player who has a tremendous record of courage and bravery against the most lethal bowlers in test Cricket.
Dravid is a soft spoken and unassuming player. One look at him and a person can sense his dedication to the game. Over the last decade and a half his record of being a factor in an Indian win or a match saved has largely gone unnoticed. He is humble and dedicated. It’s about time we recognized him as the greatest Indian Test batsman of all time.