Nowadays we talk of modern cricket ODI, T20, T10 etc. But the ultimate answer lies in Test cricket, which we saw last at GABBA, Brisbane. And there’s also talk of tests to be conducted in 4 days, instead of 5 days. Can we go the memory line and recollect “Timeless” tests ?
Reg Perks, Bryan Valentine and Eddie Paynter take time out of the 1938-39 tour to South Africa for a trip to the beach. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images
The ultimate “Timeless Test “ was between South Africa and England played at Kingsmead, Durban (S.A.) played between3–14 March, 1939. Some interesting notes on that.
This Test was played for 10 days ( Excluding 2 Rest days and 1 day rained off) still it ended in a draw.
This test was played for 43 hours and 16 minutes.
England was set a target of 696 runs, scored 654 for 5 wickets, falling short of just 42 runs and the rain returned on the 10th day with England agonizingly 42 runs short of a world record. There was no option of extending the game further as the tourists (England) had to board a train for their 2 days, 1000 miles journey back to Capetown, where the steamboat “Athlone Castle” was waiting. One of underlying anxieties that meant England couldn’t delay their departure was the threat of 2ND WORLDWAR in Europe. On March 15, the day after the test was abandoned, Hitler’s troops marched into Czechoslovakia
Totally 5447 deliveries were bowled by all the bowlers, especially England’s Headley Verity (left arm spinner) bowled 766 balls nearly 1/7th of the total(680 overs) and Norman Gorden of S.A. bowled 738 deliveries is still the most by a fast bowler and Norman was the first cricketer to live for 100 years.
New ball was taken for 12 times. It was a 8 ball over
Eric Dalton ( Springbok leggie) whose legbreaks got him 6 wkts before this test didn’t get a single wicket. Sometimes his wife would hear him appealing at the top of his voice in his sleep.
Veteran cricket writer Louis Duffus facinated by the Kingsmead(Durban) regulars wrote like this”
“Men formed groups and discussed topics of the day, such as gathering war clouds, while little bands of women found themselves making remarkable progress with their knitting. “See you tomorrow” was the popular farewell.
Springboks scored 530 runs in 13 hours in the first innings. Headley Verity, England’s left arm spinner bowled 55.6 overs was hit only for his boundary after S.A. reached 500.
Ames, England’s wicket keeper kept superbly letting only 7 (seven) byes in the score of 1011 runs made by S.A. in both innings.
This being the 5th & Final test, England won the 3rd Test at this same ground 2 months back of this series and other tests were drawn . This test being the decider it was agreed to play this test till the result was achieved. Hence, this 10 days play.
While timeless Tests were a regular feature, players were beginning to lose faith in this idea. Only Australia alone stood in making all their tests timeless, which contributed a remarkable record of there not being a single test draw in the country (Australia) between 1882 & 1947.
Though there is raging controversy over the use of DRS (Decision Review system) in cricket, sometimes the DRS becomes curious in some international matches. One such curious DRS decision made a big impact on the outcome at the crucial point of the Test match in 2014 and it has become a talking point.
This Test match between England and Srilanka was played between 11th and 15th of June, 2014 at Lord’s ground in the first test of the 2 test series.
England posted a mammoth total of 575 in the first innings thanks to a magnificent double century by Joe Root and Srilanka replied with 453 in the first innings as Sangakara and Captain Angle Mathews scored centuries and England scored 267 in the second essay and set a target of 390 runs in 90 overs on the 5th day for the Srilankans. Srilankans started losing wickets regularly and were never in the race to win the Test. In fact they were content in playing for a draw.
DRS TO THE RESCUE
The crunch situation came in the 90th over, the last over of the match and England needed 2 wickets to win as Lankans were struggling at 201/8 at the start of the over.
89.1 Stuart Broad was bowling with his heart out and he stuck in the very first ball claiming Herath, who edged it to wicket keeper. So, England were just 1 wicket away from the win.
89.2 And the last man N. Pradeep entered the field. Broad bowled a bouncer which he ducked
89.3 Pradeep was beaten out side of the off stump
89.4 Played to gully
89.5 Pradeep played and the England players appealed for a LBW and the on-field umpire Paul Reifel raised his finger giving him OUT
And Pradeep immediately appealed for Review (DRS) as he believed there’s inside edge from the bat and the 3rd umpire using the Ultraedge technology found there’s an inside edge asked the onfield umpire to reverse the decision and declare him Not out.
89.6 This time though he edged, the ball fell short of the fielder and Pradeep survived and the Test ended in DRAW as Srilanka finished at 201/9 .
And Srilanka won the next test and won the series by 1-0 and it was the first time that Srilanka won a Test series in England.
So, the DRS made a great impact in the annals of Test cricket
Moniker “Silent Assassin” Anderson Montgromery Everton Roberts, aka “Andy Roberts” celebrating his 70th birthday today (29th Jan. 2021 ) was a fearsome bowler of yesteryear from the West Indies and the main fulcrum of the famous West Indian pace quartet along with Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Colin Croft. Andy Roberts terrorized the batsmen world over with his sheer pace for almost a decade, taking 202 Test and 87 One-Day International (ODI) wickets in the process. He was the first Antiguan to play for the West Indies.
Sir Andy Roberts was born to a fisherman’s family in a village in Antigua. He was one among the 14th children of his parents. He played cricket only at the age of 16 and he got his first break to play Leeward islands side at the age of 18.
It is startling to note that he was coached just for 6 weeks in his art. But the English county stint at Hampshire along with Vic Richards helped him to hone his pace bowling skill of bowling with his elbow nearer to ear and the follow through. He played for both Hampshire and Leicestershire. But for Hampshire retaining him in spite of his serious injury , he would have finished nowhere.
Deadpan And deadly, the two generously used words to describe Roberts. His innocuous look was deceptive. His bouncers were dangerous and in fact it was his lethal weapon and the opposition batsmen saw him as a demon. And often the ball would lift — steep and disconcertingly, putting the batsmen in immense physical peril. And u ask Imran Khan who would tell you how ferocious Roberts’ bowling was. Opposition batsmen dread to face him. His hunching shoulders and the run up slowly picking up menacingly and hurling the red cherry are a treat to watch. His repertoire of lethal bouncers were his great possession and got him quite a number of wickets. His deceptive tricks would unfold in a clandestine array of bouncers as the first one would come as a slow bouncer to hoodwink the batsmen to expect a similar in the second but to their utter dismay it would be a speedy bouncer to catch them unaware and fall into the trap. He was very adeptive in this demolition job.
The natural movement would be from off to leg, but sometimes the away swing would flummox the best.
His reaction would remain the same. Whether the catch was held at slip, or the woodwork went for a cartwheeling saunter, or the ball crashed into the face rearranging the features forever, Roberts would peer at the result of his handiwork, mull over it behind his deadpan face and walk back to his bowling mark.
His career best spell came in the Chepauk Test in 1974-75 series against India when he had 12/121 in the match, though in a losing cause as the diminutive Gundappa Viswanath held the fort and spoiled the chances of West Indies winning.
His career defining spell came in England in the 1976 series at Old Trafford. When the Englishmen had no clue to the guiles of “Whispering death” Michael Holding in the first innings and in the second essay it was the “Silent Assassin” of Andy Roberts’s brutal force . The Englishmen faced a barrage of bouncers hitting them all in their ribcage and body blows they meekly surrendered to this pace duo’s fiery spells. They were reduced to ashes as they could manage only 71 in the first innings and in the second 126 and Windies romped home with consummate ease.
In a Test against Australia at Queen’s Park Oval in 1977-78, Roberts almost killed Peter Toohey with his deadly bowling. As a lethal bouncer came his way, Toohey went for a hook, but missed it completely and it struck him on the forehead. The batsman fell on the ground and went unconscious. But Roberts was deadpan and went for his bowling mark.
In Adelaide in 1980, the Chappell brothers would vouch for his deadly spell of bouncers which sent them to pavilion in successive bowls with Greg going for a duck.
In ODIs, his batting came to the rescue of the windies team. In 1975 group stage match against Pakistan, the windies were in a spot of both when they were set to 267 runs and they were 203/9 when Roberts walked in to join the irrepressible Derryk Murray and Robert is no rabbit with the bat as he had 3 fifties in tests. And he and Murray saw through their side winning the outing.
Roberts was at his best during1975, when he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year. In October 2005, he was inducted into the United States Cricket Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2009 and in 2014, Roberts was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Nation (KCN) by the Antigua and Barbuda government.
In the shorter formats in Australia it was a mixed fortune as both India & Australia split the series wins while ODI was won by Australia 2-1 and India won the T20Is with the same margin. So , the honours were even in shorter formats.
So, the attrition of battle for supremacy started in the BG test series, as the stakes were high. The test series between the two countries were fought really hard as they are the two best teams in test cricket. As the defending champion of the BG trophy the onus is on India to prove his credentials.
It was a series of Indian debutants in the forefront delivering the goods at the hustings.
The first test at Adelaide was a D/N encounter with a pink ball. Though India played a solitary D/N test in India against Bangladesh in India, it was an uphill task to face the Aussies as they never lost a D/N test so far.
India did get a lead of 53 runs in the first innings after restricting the Aussies to 191 runs. But the disaster in batting happened on the 3rd day morning when India collapsed to 36/9 in the second innings in just 22.1 overs with Mohamed Shami Retired injured. This was their lowest innings score in Tests. So, Australians proved their best with the Pink ball. The pink ball exponents Josh Hazlewood with 6 wickets scalp and Pat Cummins with 4 wickets exposed the Indian juggernaut. They won the test easily by 8 wickets.
MELBOURNE TURN AROUND
The indian team drew flak everywhere and everyone predicted that the Aussies would steamroll India for the Test series and even said 4-0 in favour of Aussies as Kohli , the captain returned to India for his child’s birth.
Condemned to Ashes, the Indian team think tank brought in some changes For the 2nd Test at Melbourne. The out of form P. Shaw was replaced by young debutant Shubman Gill from Punjab to open with Mayank Agarwal and another debutant Mohammed Siraj from Hyderabad replaced the injured Mohd. Shami and the all rounder Ravindra Jadeja took the place of Kohli.
The bowling attack led by Jasprit Bumrah delivered the decisive punch scalping 4 and Ashwin claiming 3 wickets including the prized scalp of Steve Smith and the debutant Siraj chipped in with 2 wkts restricting them with just 191 runs . And India replied strongly with 326 as the Stand-in captain A. Rahane led from the front with a fine century and useful contributions from the debutant Gill (45 runs) and the all rounder Jadeja with a fine half century. And in the 2nd innings Australia again faltered and bowled out for just 200 as the indian seamers dented the batting line up led by the debutant Siraj claiming 3 and all the other 4 bowlers claimed wickets. And India finished the win in style by 8 wickets.
SYEDNEY STONE WALLING
Australia came back strongly with the world’s best batsman, Steve Smith leading the indian attack to swords and made a merry of making runs, hitting a powerful century and ably supported by M. Labuschagne (91) and the debutant opener Will Pucovski (62) and scored 338 runs in the first innings and indian bowling wilted under pressure. R. Jadeja took 4 wickets.
Sydney is synonymous with controversies. This time racial slur by the spectators on Indian players, Siraj and Bumrah and the “Sledging” by the Aussie players and silly act by Steve Smith scruffing the crease line created by R.Pant etc.,
India did start well with Rohit sharma playing his first test of the series opened with Gill putting 76 runs for the opening wicket but losing wickets regularly in spite of half centuries by Gill and Pujara. India lost a ludicrous 3 run outs and ended up 244 runs falling behind 94 runs of Australia. And Australia again made quick runs and set up a massive 407 runs for Indians to chase.
India started well again putting 77 runs for the first wicket but again losing wickets regularly until Rishab Pant, who was nursing injury, took up the gauntlet for the win along with C. Pujara added 148 runs in 44 overs and with him India threw in their towel for the win and Pujara also departed leaving Vihari and the tailenders exposed to the Australian attack.
Then came the Stonewalling act began when Ashwin joined Vihari. It was the testing time for both of them. As both were battling with injuries stood like the rock of Gibraltar. And they also faced a barrage of bouncers from the Australian speedsters hitting Ashwin on his rib cage and shoulder and Vihari already suffering hamstring injury batted and batted. Both were in trance unperturbed by the intimidatory bowling and the SLEDGING barbs by the Australian fielders led by their captain and they battled for 44 overs and BLOCKATHON delivered the desired result – a DRAW.
The 4th and final test was played at GABBA ground, Brisbane. The GABBATOIR was a fortress of the Australians as they were undefeated since 1988 and they won 32 tests there as the bounce and cracks used to help Australian quickies. India was plagued by injuries and four players were replaced by 3 debutants . The third test “stonewalling” heroes Vihari and Ashwin were out with injuries and Jadeja (broken his wrist) and Bumrah also joined the injured list.
So, there were 3 debutants viz., Washington Sundar, T. Natarajan, Shardul Thakur ( though played just one test and bowled 10 balls in a test). Sundar and Natarajan travelled with the test team as net bowlers were asked to don the indian tri colours in the test.
It was like 13 wickets Versus 1013 wickets as the test unfolded and India romped home with a great victory. The combined bowling of Indian bowlers had just 13 wickets between them before this test whereas Australian bowlers with rich experience and 1013 wickets between Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood and Lyon couldn’t deliver. And the inexperienced Indian bowling line up of rookie bowlers of Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Natarajan and Washington Sundar with just 13 wickets between before this test dealt a heavy blow and breached the “Fortress” of “Gabbatoir” in their backyard and sealed a spectacular victory in the history of Indian cricket and at world level no team could achieve back-to-back victories against Australians in Australia.
And the Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar and soothsayer predicted before this match that India would win this test and the series by 2-1 and Indian team did it so.
And India chased the target 328 runs in the tough conditions as the pitch developed cracks and the ball was rising viciously. In fact a beauty of the delivery from Siraj which caught unaware Steve Smith and he couldn’t avoid the delivery and the red cherry hit his right thumb before landing in the hands of A. Rahane at gully.
Indian batsmen rose to the occasion gallantly, led by R. Pant who took the fight till the last run to win, hitting a boundary with just 3 wickets in hand and 3 overs to spare.
And heroes in this test were –
1.the MOM Award winner, Rishab Pant, whose lusty hitting of 89 unbeaten runs in the chase
2. The debutants T. Natarajan, Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur who took 3 wickets each in the Australian first innings. And W. Sundar & Thakur with the willow scoring 123 runs for the 7th wicket in the first innings
3. Mohamed Siraj, whose 5 fer, first time in tests in his 3rd Test and Shardul with 4 wickets in the second innings
4. The Warrior, Chateshwar Pujara, who took 12 blows on his body in this match
5. Captain, Ajinkya Rahane, who led the bunch of young cricketers with calm and composure.
6. Shubman Gill, the opener, who set the tone for his whirlwind 91 in the second innings
7. And the last but not the least the Head coach and support staff deserves special mention.
In the Border- Gavaskar Trophy of 2020-21 we saw many injury prone Indian players making way for the newcomers to make their debut in Tests. And the debutants made much headway in winning the Series.
The stand-in players stand-out performances are chronicled here.
Wow ! what a brilliant hook shot of Pat Cummins in the defining innings at GABBA ground in the series decider. Gill, the tall and lanky Punjabi who was just 3 tests old showed his batting calibre in the international arena. The right hander set the tone of high chase of 328 runs in the fourth innings who was just on course to his maiden ton in tests just fall short of 9 runs. His penchant to play all along the ground was breathtaking. This hook shot off Cummins, the world’s No.1 Test bowler was shocking to the Aussies. On his debut at MCG in the 2nd test he made scores of 45 & 35 stamped his authority and proved his credentials as a reliable test opener.And in the next test at SCG he made his first half century. With his sterling performance in the series Down Under he staked his claim for a permanent berth as an Opener in tests.
Another debutant Siraj at MCG along with Gill also hit the headlines with 5 wickets in the match. The Hyderbadi speedster debuted after Mohamed Shami was ruled out due to injury and made strong claims in the Test side. Son of an Auto Driver from Hyderbad, who lost his father recently mid of the tour Down Under, could not attend his father’s funeral and stayed in Australia to realise his late father’s dream of playing for the country.
His best bowling performance came in the GABBA test when he scalped 5 wickets in the second innings in the hard and bouncy track. His rising delivery which caught unawares of the world’s best Test batsman Steve Smith hitting his thumb and the Indian captain took the catch in the gully was a testimony of his growing maturity in just 3 tests. His 5fer turned out to be a match winning and series winning too performance.
The Mumbaikar though debuted two years back bowled just 10 balls in that Test and was sidelined for 2 years in spite of his good performances in the domestic circuits. As there were as many as 4 players were injured on the eve of the series decider at GABBA, 4 players available on the tour have to be drafted into the playing XI and thus Thakur made his come back into the Test side.
He immediately announced his arrival at GABBA with 7 wickets including the 4 wicket burst in the second innings. He along with Siraj bowled out the Aussies for 295 runs in the second innings after the Aussies were making merry in the second innings of scoring nearly 4 runs an over. In fact Thakur got the initial breakthrough claiming the wicket of Marcus Harris. And his all round abilities came to the fore when he along with another debutant Washington Sundar added a very crucial 123 runs for the 7th wicket and he top scored with 67 runs.
When the India’s ace off spinner R. Ashwin, who battled with injury saved the Test at SCG, was ruled out for the GABBA test, this young just 21 years old lad from Tamilnadu, debuted into this Test. He claimed 3 wickets in the first innings on his debut. The offie from TN also showed his batting prowess and played some attacking shots in the first innings and sharing an useful 123 runs partnership with Thakur.
Hailing from a rural hamlet from Tamilnadu who has started playing Cricket ball only in 2010. He is famous for Yorkers. His case is peculiar. He was asked to join the Indian team to Australian tour in place of injured bowler Varun Chakravarthi for the T20 matches in Australia. He made his international debut in the last ODI match of the 3 match series at Canberra and made impact with his fine left arm seam bowling. And then into T20 matches where he did very well. He travelled with Indian test team as a “net bowler “. He played in place of India’s match winner, Bumrah, who was also injured .Natts immediately staked his claim with a wonderful bowling performance in the GABBA Test with 3 wickets in the first innings.
“Brave India pulled off a great escape at SCG “. “Defiant India holds on a famous draw”.
“Courageous Ashwin survives hostile spell” . “India’s Epic final day resistance “
“Pant turns tables on Aussies”
Some of the headlines on Aussies media after the great draw at SCG by India. So much acrimony went into the final day drama at SCG. India did its homework well at SCG.
With a question mark hanging over staging the Final decider Test at GABBA cleared , as Indians accepted some relaxations in the Bio-bubble arrangements.
As the two best test teams tied with 1-1 ready to clash for the final test at GABBA, Brisbane on the 15th Jan.2021 , the onus will be on Aussies as they have remained unbeaten here since 1988 ( in 31 tests).
Aussies won 40 of the 62 tests played here.
The famous quartet bowling contingent at the disposal of the Aussies includes the pace trio, Cummins, Starc & Hazlewood and the lone spinner Nathan Lyon is raring to go at the throat of Indians. In between them they have 109 wickets at GABBA.
And mind you, Aussies have won the last two tests played here by an Innings.
With 50% spectators ( 20,000) allowed with masks in and around the ground, the stage is set for a titanic encounter.
India couldn’t win a single test match here having played 5 tests previously though there were some creditable bowling performances by Indian bowlers in the earlier outings like,
Erapalli Prasanna – 6/104 in 1968
Bishen Singh Bedi – 5/55 in 1977 ( 1st innings)
Madan Lal – 5/72 in 1977 ( 2nd innings)
Zaheer Khan – 5/98 in 2003
Kapil Dev – 4/80 in 1991
In fact this is the only traditional test centre where India didn’t win a test. They could manage a draw in 2003 thanks to Zaheer Khan’s fiery opening spell.
The Gabba is traditionally considered a pacy wicket available in Australia. It generally offers healthy bounce and carry to the quicks while the stroke-makers thrive on the consistent bounce available.The groundsmen in Australia have resisted the calls for a drop-in pitch, saying it will be difficult to replicate the traditional characteristics, if a drop-in pitch was installed.
With so much heat being generated as who will upstage the other, Sunil Gavaskar, the legend, whom the BG Trophy has been named, is very optimistic about India winning the Trophy by 2-1.
Sunil Gavaskar declared that India will go on to win the series and breach the seemingly invincible Australian fortress in Brisbane as there is always a ‘first time’ to everything. The ‘Little Master’ concluded by emphatically stating that India will win the series 2-1 and retain the Border Gavaskar Trophy.
“I predicted on Australian television that India is going to win the series 2-1. At the moment the series is 1-1. I know that the Gabba in Brisbane is Australia’s fortress but India has the ability to take on the Australians. They (Australia) have hardly lost there since 1988 but there is always a first time. If Ajinkya Rahane and company do it, I won’t be surprised at all,” concluded Gavaskar.
On the eve of his 100th Test at GABBA Ground, Brisbane, let’s have a look at
Nathan Lyon, the Aussie Off spinner, who started his career as Groundsman in
He was an apprentice for 4 years at Adelaide ground as ground staff. He learnt off spin bowling there. His office breaks caught the attention of South Australia’s Big Bash Coach, who introduced him into BBL. Thereafter he was selected to represent the South Australian domestic team. And he made his international debut in ODI in 2011 and to Test in the same year.
A natural off spinner who flights the ball and looks for the wicketsThis wiry tweaker showed no nervousness in the first test and dismissed Kumar Sangakara, Srilanka’s wicket keeper in his very first ball in Test Cricket, and he became the 14th bowler and second Australian to do so. A great beginning indeed. In fact he took 5fer in that first Innings and that was also a record for a debutant. A dream debut.
He played his first Test in Australia at GABBA, Brisbane and took 7 wickets in the match against Newzeland in 2011. He was in and out of the team for some time.
He played in the 3rd Test of the 2013 Ashes at Chester-le-street, England and from there he is a regular member of the Australian Test squad.
In the 2014-15 BG Trophy series at Adelaide oval, he spun for Aussies with 5/34 and 7/152 and got the MOM Award.
Now, he is the main fulcrum of the bowling attack along with the trio pace bowlers viz., Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood. In fact this quartet bowling unit brought so many wins for Australia including the Ashes series .
He is also the highest wicket taker in spin bowling for the Aussies after he surpassed Hugh Trumble’s 141 wickets and his teammates call him GOAT.
He is bunny for Indian batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Chesteshwar Pujara in Tests as he dismissed them most of the times. Both were his victims for 10 times in Tests and which is also his best haul against a single batter.
He’s got a very good bowling average against Kiwis in Tests at 20.52 and he is also the best bowler in Trans-Tasman Trophy taking 50 wickets against them in just 10 tests.
He also does not lag behind in Pink ball ( day night tests) tests with 27.41 average.
He’s got a unique distinction of dismissing 45 batsmen for a Duck in tests.
In the 99 tests he played so far, his team became victorious in 52 times and lost 30 times and the average is 26.59 in wins, an enviable record.
An off-spinner playing consecutively for 77 tests is a great achievement.
His best year in bowling in Tests was 2017 when he took 63 wickets in 11 Tests.
His batting in Tests was just mediocre with 47 his highest test score as he is focussing only on bowling.
He’s just shy of 4 wickets for the 400 wickets club. Hope he completes this task in his 100th Test at GABBA to be played from 15th Jan.2021.
It was tough to leave “the life I have lived for 16 years and, before that, five years of first class cricket. It [cricket] is all I have known all my grown life … it wasn’t a difficult decision for me because I just knew in my heart that the time was right, and I was very happy and comfortable in what I had achieved and what I had done. You just know deep down that it is time to move on and let the next generation take over.” – Rahul Dravid announcing his retirement in a crowded press conference in a room at M. Chinnasamy stadium in 2012.
“Indian people love to give their heroes a nickname. As these things to, Rahul Dravid being known as ‘The Wall’ is pretty much spot on. ‘The fortress’ could also describe Rahul. Because once, Dravid was set, you needed the bowling equivalent of a dozen cannon firing all at once to blast him down “ – Legendary Spinner Shane Warne.
Rahul Sharad Dravid, who’s celebrating his 48th birthday today (11th Jan) is affectionately called as “The Wall” . With over 24,000 international runs and next only to Sachin Tendulkar for India, he was India’s prolific run scorer.
504 International matches
146 half centuries
Wisden Cricketer of the year 2000
ICC Test Player of the year 2004
ICC Player of the year 2004Rahul Dravid
In 2018 Inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame
Padma shri and Padma Bhushan Awards
In December 2011, he became the first non-Australian cricketer to deliver the Bradman Oration in Canberra.
Born in a Marathi family in Indore, his family moved to Bengaluru, where he was raised and studied there. He played cricket at the young age of 12 and represented Under-15, 17 & 19 for Karnataka and was making steady progress. While studying in college itself he made debut in Ranji Trophy alongside Javgal Srinath and Anil Kumble. With his consistent performance in domestic circuits, he was selected for national duties in ODI in 1996
DEBUT IN TEST
Sandip Patil, Coach of Indian team in 1996 recalls “ When Sanjay Manjrekar failed the fitness Test just before 10 minutes of the Lord’s Test, I informed Rahul Dravid that he was making debut at Lord’s , Dravid’s face was bright “. He went on to make 95 runs . He debuted along with Ganguly, who hit a century on Debut.
In a test career spanning over 286 innings, he faced most number of balls in the world 31,248 deliveries that put his grafting of runs. In terms of dedication of craft and working on perfection Dravid is second to none which fetched him many runs in his test career. He was the first Test player to score a century against all Test playing nations of the time. Incidentally, he is the second highest run getter next only to Sachin Tendulkar of the country.
Consistency is synonymous with Dravid. In his first ten series , he averaged 40+ in seven series. He was in great form during 2002-2006 when he amassed runs in all countries including 16 centuries and also helped the country to win more matches in away series , especially in 2002 when he scored centuries in consecutive innings in England including a double century scoring 602 runs in England with an average of 75+. All his away centuries were scored in tough conditions that led to Indian wins abroad including series wins. Seldom It was achieved like this for India with an astronomical average of 77.
The Bondage between V.V.S. Laxman & Dravid started at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2001 in an epic battle. As India were asked to follow-on by the Aussies Captain Steve Waugh , the odds were against India to win this test. But ultimately it turned out to be a much talked about match of the decade. The Aussies began their 3 test series campaign well as they steamrolled In Mumbai in the first test, and India were pushed to the wall in the 2nd test at Eden Gardens. India had a herculean task on their hands when they were asked to follow-on. And they began their 2nd innings steadily losing first 3 wickets within 100 runs, including that of Sachin tendulkar. Then VVS Laxman, the hero of the match, who was asked to bat at No.3 ahead of Dravid, built 117 runs partnership with the Captain Ganguly for the 4th wicket. Then came the mammoth partnership of 376 runs for the 5th wicket between Laxman and Dravid. It was a leather hunt against the mighty Aussies. They were ruthless against all bowlers including McGrath, Shane Warne, Gillespie and Kasprowicz who for the first time conceded 100+ runs in a Test. And after India put up a mammoth 657 runs for 7 declared , it was the turn of the indian spinners led by Harbhajan to guide victory for India.
In 2002 series against England in their own backyard started disastrously for India as they lost the first test at Lord’s and of course in the second test at Nottingham they held on to a draw thanks to Dravid’s century in the second innings. The third test at Headingly, Leeds was one of the watershed moments for India as they handed a humiliating Innings defeat to the hosts for the first time in their own den. It was again Dravid who stitched century partnerships with Sanjay Bangar & Sachin Tendulkar as India amassed 628 runs. England after scoring 270 runs in the first innings were asked to follow-on and despite a brilliant hundred by Naser Hussain were dismissed for 312 runs and India romped home handsomely. Dravid was declared the Player of the match for his strenuous innings. And this win ensured India to square the 4 test series with 1-1.
At Adelaide in 2003-04 it was again the pair of Dravid and Laxman who were showing signs of maturity put up a great fight into the enemy camp. After Australia hammered Indian bowling and scored 556 runs, India lost 4 wickets within 100 runs including Sachin and captain Ganguly. Then came the mammoth partnership of 303 runs for the 5th wicket in the first innings and Dravid made useful partnership with late order batsmen and he was the last man to get out after a marathon 233 runs. Then Ajit Agarkar’s sensational seam bowling (6/42) helped India to restrict the Aussies 196 runs and India had to chase 233 runs and again there were some nervous moments in the chase and Dravid remained unbeaten in the second innings and saw India winning by 4 wickets and India ended the series with 1-1 labelled as a great series.
The traditional rival battle began in the Pakistan tour of 2004 and billed as the most turbulent series. The 3rd Test at Rawalpindi aroused interest as both the teams won a game each. Pakistan were dismissed for 224 runs in the first innings and India began badly losing schewag for a duck. Then Rahul Dravid took the centre stage and stitched century partnerships with Parthiv patel and Laxman again and with captain Ganguly and 98 runs partnership with Yuvraj singh and he played a marathon innings scoring 270 runs his career best and a tight bowling by Anil Kumble helped India to inflict a humiliating innings and 131 runs defeat , a heaviest defeat and also won the series for the first time in Pakistan with 2-1 margin.
The captain’s defining moment came at Kingston in West Indies in 2006 . Rahul Dravid’s captaincy came to the fore during this 4 match series. The first 3 tests ended in tame draws. So, the focus was on this test. Rahul batted brilliantly scoring 81 & 68 runs in this test and he added a crucial 93 runs partnership for the 7th wicket with Anil Kumble. India won this test and along with it the Series 1-0. This was the first time in 35 years for an Asian captain to win a series in the West Indies.
An innings-by-innings breakdown of Dravid’s Test match batting career, showing runs scored (red bars with purple bars for not out) and the average of the last ten innings (blue line).
Source : wikipedia.com
After reaching 10,000 Test runs, he said , “ It’s a proud moment for sure. For me, growing up, I dreamt of playing for India. When I look back, I probably exceeded my expectations with what I have done over the last 10 to 12 years. I never had an ambition to do it because I never believed-it is just a reflection of my longevity in the game”.
. “When I look back at myself as a 23-year-old when I played for India, and when I look at the talent on show now, I just know that I was nowhere near as talented as some of these kids.
“Just being talented doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a successful Test career. There are a lot of things that go with it, how you face the challenges and deal with things that are more internal than external. I think it will be interesting and really fun for me, as I sit back on my couch, to watch some of these young players try to establish themselves over the next two to three years.”
In ODIs also, he contributed handsomely for India’s win.
Dravid often kept wickets for India in ODIs.
Dravid was involved in two of the largest partnerships in ODIs: a 318-run partnership with Sourav Ganguly, the first pair to combine for a 300-run partnership, and then a 331-run partnership with Sachin Tendulkar, which is a world record. He also holds the record for the greatest number of innings played since debut before being dismissed for a duck. His highest score in ODIs is 153.
Though primarily a defensive batsman, Dravid scored 50 runs not out in 22 balls (a strike rate of 227.27) against New Zealand in Hyderabad on 15 November 2003, the second fastest 50 among Indian batsmen. Only Ajit Agarkar‘s 67 runs off 21 balls is faster than that of Dravid.
He played 344 ODIs and scored 10,889 runs with 12 centuries and 83 fifties and also took 4 wickets.
Though T20 cricket was not his cup of tea, he played in IPL for RCB and RR and captained both of them for some seasons. He played 109 IPL matches.
After his retirement from international cricket, he held various positions at the national level. Dravid’s dedication towards the game, which he played and loved, took him to the next level of grooming youngsters to the national level. He was the Coach for India’s U-19 and India A teams. Under his mentorship the Indian colts won the U-19 World cup. Now he heads the National Cricket Academy, Bengaluru.
A world cup final played in a surcharged atmosphere. As the hosts England touted as favourites to win the title, it was a run for the money for them. For the Kiwis it was the second time they have entered the final consecutively. There was high drama unfolding as a run out throw resulted in an overthrow and the Umpire Dharmasena erroneously awarded 6 runs, which impacted in the final result as the match ended in a Tie. Some other captain would have contested this umpire’s decision. But the Newzeland captain didn’t. And the cup eluded for the second time for the Kiwis as England was declared winners by a ludicrous rule. Yes it was the 2019 World cup final and Newzeland captain was Kane Williamson. With so much hullah bullah going around, Kane Williamson kept his cool and he was like a Sage not showing any emotions.
After achieving Numero Uno position for Newzeland in ICC Test rankings recently in 2020, he credits his entire team for the success. Success never gets into his head and his feet are still grounded.
“It’s about trying to do as much as you can for the team. If you can contribute as much as you can and it can be reflected on the rankings, that’s really cool.” Kane Williamson, Captain after achieving the No.1 Test team in ICC rankings in 2020. (Watch the video below for his interview). Here Again it reflected his mindset.
Williamson who took over captaincy from the dashing batsman Brendon Mccullum in 2016 and forged a winning combination of players.
The pace trio of Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner were lethal especially in home conditions who played together in 36 tests won 22 tests and lost only 3 tests.
The triumvirate pace bowlers have between them picked up an astronomical figure of 490 wickets in the 36 Tests played together.
And another interesting stats: – 5fer wickets : Southee – 5 times; Boult & Wagner 6 times
And the latest sensation is Kyle Jamieson, the tallest pace bowler , who debuted against India in the beginning of 2020, claimed an unenviable record 0f 36 wickets in just 6 tests. And the all-rounder Colin Grandhomme who picks up wickets and a pinch hitter with a strike rate of 81.72 in Tests at Home.
And in the batting line up, Kane Williamson led from the front averaging 62.81 in 35 Tests with 11 centuries including 3 double centuries. Tom Latham, the opener with 47.64 average, the veteran Ross Taylor with 54.27 and Henry Nichols with 50.03 form the core group in batting.
Now Kane Williamson having played 83 tests scored 7115 runs with overall average of 54.31 with 24 test centuries is the highest run maker for Newzeland in Tests and He is also the No.1 Test batsman in the world.
NUMERO UNO IN TESTS
Newzeland from 2017 to 2020 strode into the road of success winning all but 1 of the 11 Test series, including 8 home series , drawn 1 away series in Srilanka and won a series in UAE against Pakistan for the first time and losing a series versus Australia in Australia. Newzeland have not lost a single Test at Home barring one test against South Africa in 2017 at Wellington. All this happened under Kane Williamson’s Captaincy. And they toppled Australia from No.1 position in Tests now and claimed the top rank.
The Catch of the Century in cricket history in a World cup Final 1983 lingers in our minds. And it was by India’s best all rounder, Kapil Dev. (Watch the above video of 1983 World cup moments). And the catch, running backwards nearly 10-15 yards, a mishit by the flamboyant Viv Richards, was the turning point in the Final as the “ Underdogs” India lifted the Prudential World cup played on 25th June, 1983.
The darling of the crowd who is celebrating his 62nd birthday today, the 6th January, is Indian Cricket’s’ Best all rounder, Kapil Dev Nikhanj, who was admitted in hospital some time back, coming out of the hospital cheerfully and started playing his post-retirement and his favourite game now, Golf.
He had his roots from Cahndigarh, Haryana, a north Indian state, which was not known hitherto to produce any bowlers leave alone pace bowlers. He was the first genuine pace bowler India has produced. Later on he became an inspiration to so many youngsters to pick up pace bowling in India and represented Indian tricolours on the international stage.
Kapil Dev made his international debut in an ODI at Quetta, Pakistan on 30th Sept.1978 and his test Debut on 16th Oct.1978 at Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Kapil Dev’s open chested action helped him to produce the lethal outswingers . His energetic curved run-up was a treat to watch. He was a fine athlete on the field and never missed a Test match due to fitness issues. He came across as a raw talent who was keen on just ‘ripping his shoulder off’ every ball, and ‘tonking the leather off the ball’ when he had the bat
He announced himself in no uncertain terms in his first series, exhibiting pace and aggression hitherto unseen among Indian bowlers.
His golden run started with the tour of England where had a rich haul of 16 wickets in 1979 and kept on increasing his wicket tally in the next series to follow viz, Australia 28 wickets and Pakistan 32 wickets in the home series at an average less than 18.
Between 1979 and 1983 his bowling average never crossed 32 except in 3 three series. These bowling performances heralded a new chapter in his bowling career when his incisive outswingers worked to perfection. He also collected seventeen 5fer in 52 tests at an average of 4 wickets per Test.
After his sterling all round performances both in home and away conditions, he was given the captainship responsibilities in 1983 especially after 1983 WC title win.. He relished his captaincy and marshalled his resources well especially in shorter format.
BEST MOMENTS IN TESTS
His 11 wickets haul in Chennai in 1979-80 series against Pakistan along with Gavaskar’s century paved the way for a win in the Test
His 5 wicket haul against Aussies in MCG in 1981 in the 2nd innings won manly hearts as this has helped India win this Test and square the series for the first time in Australia
His 9 for 83 against West Indies in Ahmedabad in 1983
His 8 for 106 at Adelaide in 1985-86
He was one of the best all rounders alongside his contemporaries like Ian Bothan, Imran Khan and Richard Hadlee.
He was the only all rounder in Test cricket to take 400+ wickets(434) and score 5000 runs ( 5248 runs) till date.
His 434 test wickets include twenty three 5fers and two 10 wickets haul in a match.
He was also an aggressive middle order batsman in Tests who scored 8 centuries and 27 fifties.
His outstanding batting performance in the One-day matches came in the 1983 World Cup against Zimbabwe. When India were in dire straits with 5 wickets down for 17, he lifted the game with a scintillating 175 runs which etched in memory of every indian fan which saw India romped home in the game. Then India surged forward with hard earned wins including in the semi finals against England. And when India met the mighty West Indies in the Final, everyone predicted West Indies would win hands down against India. India carrying the “ dark horse” tag went on to win the title despite the heavy odds. Kapil Dev marshalled his resources well setting himself an example while taking the Viv Richards catch. And a beaming Captain Kapil Dev receiving the coveted glittering Prudential Cup at Lord’s on 25th June 1983, the nation celebrated the heroes.
And the World cup win signalled a new era in ODI Cricket in the country and India were no more push overs in the shorter format.
After retirement in 1994 from International cricket, he served as coach for Indian team and in NCA.
He was voted India’s Cricketer of the Century in 2002 ahead of Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar , a great recognition of his all round talents.