Vantage point

Monday, July 03, 2006

Rahul Dravid!

This blog has blasted Rahul Dravid for giving up the chase at St. Kitts. But this test match has well and truly belonged to him, in every way possible. As a captain for sure, but more so as a batsman. It is on a bowler's wicket thar Rahul Dravid's true class shines forth. It was his batting and his batting alone that won us the game. The bowlers did well too, but then on a pitch like this, which bowler won't be deadly? The key was in batting and Rahul Dravid marshalled the innings to take India to its first series win away from the subctoninent against a serious test team in 2 decades.

The great Sir Don Bradman once said that he had seen many batsmen in his time who were better than him. The problem was, they would keep getting out too easily. In this test, Dravid prevailed simply by not getting out easily. In hindsight, it was his partnership with Kumble in the first innings that turned out to be the decisive one. Anil Kumble, probvably the most unsung cricketer of all time, has played a more vital role in this test with his batting than his bowling, no mean feat considering that he took 6 wickets in the second innings. Yet, his crucial knock will probably never be remembered.

Brian Lara lost the game in his mind when he displayed frustration at the pitch with mock-applause aimed at the groundsman. Of course, he has every right to be disappointed that his groundsmen prepared a pitch which would give India an edge, but letting it dominate his thinking so much probably cost him the game.

Let us savour this series victory, and let us applaud Dravid's boys for creating history. But let us also remember that this is one of the bottom-ranked teams in the world and tougher challenges lie ahead. We should look at the situation as analogous to a team which has followed on and has managed to wipe out the deficit. Not winning series for so many years in places like West Indies and Zimbabwe was as disgraceful as following on. By winning series in both those countries, we have wiped out the deficit.

Now it is time to build on this and build up a lead.