He’s saved India the blushes uncountable times on the cricket field. Rahul Dravid started his career with the nickname Jammy – because his father worked for a jam manufacturing unit. But as he emerged as India’s knight in shining armor in times of cricketing distress, most fans, journalists and even critics honored him with the sobriquet ‘The Wall’.
The nickname was a tribute to the fact that Rahul Dravid can stand tall and wield his bat like a sword even among the most hostile bowling conditions.
His Childhood and Early Days in Cricket
Rahul Dravid was born in Indore on January 11, 1973. The family moved to Bangalore and soon Rahul Dravid, the batsman-wicketkeeper was a name to reckon with in the city’s cricket clubs. He began playing cricket at the age of 12. He soon dropped the wicket keeper tag to concentrate on his batting and was selected to the State Ranji Trophy team in 1991.
His cricketing debut in 1996 gave little hint to the greatness that lay ahead with a disappointing beginning in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. But he redeemed himself when he made a 95 against England during an away tour. Since then, he been Team India’s Mr. Consistent and Mr. Reliable.
The cricketer is married to Vijeta Pendharkar, a doctor, and the couple has two sons.
His Cricketing Milestones
Rahul Dravid, along with Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V V S Laxman made up an Indian batting line that made the world’s bravest bowlers wilt. Rahul Dravid’s maiden century came against South Africa in the 1997-97 tour. Since then he has – to date – 35 Test hundred in 157 matches.
His highest individual score is 270 and his total runs in his Test career stands at 12,775. Rahul Dravid’s Test average stands at 53.00. Yet another record that stands against his name is for taking the most number of catches in Test cricket.
Dravid also has the unique distinction of having scored a century against all the ten Test playing nations. He was made the captain of the Indian cricket team in 2006, but after India’s debacle in the World Cup and a string of rather indifferent performances by the team, he stepped down as captain in 2007.
The cricketer was awarded the Arjuna Award as well as the Padma Shri by the government of India. He has also been declared Wisden’s cricketer of the year in 2000.
India’s Constant Savior
Even as cricket changed and became flashier and quicker, Rahul Dravid remained his classically competent self. This at times has led to brickbats being hurled at him with the main charge being that he has been unable to cope with the changing tempo of the cricketing world.
He was dropped from the Indian ODI team and even his IPL stint with Bangalore Challengers and Rajasthan Royals has not been too successful. But the Wall stood firm and has always had last laugh – because each time the Indian team did badly, it was Rahul Dravid who pulled it back from the brink.