Friday, September 25, 2009
Donning the blue jersey after a long gap of two years, ‘The Wall’ is back to the 50-over format of the game. CastrolCricket.com analyses the reasons behind Dravid’s ouster from India’s ODI squad and questions their rationale.
Following a lean spell in his batting, and a run of poor results by India in 2007, Rahul Dravid was dropped from the one-day international squad.
While the selectors may have had reason to drop Dravid based on a short dip in form, former Pakistani bowler Waqar Younis begs to differ, “I think that he is one batsman who has such a good technique that he has always made a comeback from bad patches.” The year Dravid was dropped, his average was 37.40 with a strike rate of 82.05 against a career average of 39.49 at a 71.22 strike rate. Add to that, his average in a winning cause was 52.44.
This graph illustrates Waqar Younis’ point about Dravid’s ability to bounce back from a lean spell:
The ICC rankings have always given a good measure of a batsman’s performance. While Dravid was ranked amongst the top Indian batsmen all year, his consistent showing as against his contemporaries’ as well as the youngsters’ proved he still had a lot to offer.
It also appears that Dravid may have been given less time to find a way out of his poor string of scores. While some of his peers were given time to get out of a dry spell, it is worth asking whether Dravid too could have been afforded a similar luxury.
As a fielder, Dravid’s form and fitness have been largely spot on. He has even donned the keeper’s gloves for India with much success. Commenting on the subject, well known columnist Ayaz Memon said, “This is an area where the youngsters can learn from Dravid. His fitness record is absolutely marvellous. I cannot think of another player who I know in the last 30 years who has been as careful about his fitness.”
A look at Dravid’s career stats as a fielder further strengthens Memon’s point:
Barring the Australia series, Dravid performed consistently well all year around, much better than most of his peers did. So was it justified to view him as the weakest link in the side?
Dravid’s performance in the year 2007:
What to expect:
Dravid finally made his comeback to one-day international cricket in the tri-nation Compaq Cup held in Sri Lanka. Playing under a lot of expectations, while he may not have had an outstanding series, the Bangalore batsman managed to hold his own and put in some strong performances.
Performance in the Compaq Cup:
A ##### in the Indian armour was the fact that, while most of them were not at their best playing abroad, they seemed even more at odds while facing the short-pitched delivery. The West Indians knew this too well and they exploited that weakness.
No. of times Indian Batsmen got out to short-pitched deliveries in 2008:
Waqar Younis believes, “Dravid always handled short-pitched deliveries well. In our heydays, when I and Wasim (Akram), and all the other great quickies of our time like Glenn McGrath, Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose were around, Dravid managed to play all of them beautifully. “
If one were go by the yardsticks used above to measure Dravid’s performances, it could raise doubts over the need to leave him out of the ODI squad back then. But with no changing the past, one can only look forward and see if Rahul Dravid lives up to the reputation built by him.
From : Arvind Iyengar and Rohhan Divanji
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