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Chinks in the Wall: Dravid fails yet again

cricket Updated: Nov 09, 2008 23:01 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
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This edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has seen highlights in heaps. Two titanic exits, Sachin Tendulkar's world record, VVS Laxman and Gautam Gambhir's double hundreds and the emergence of India's latest Test skipper - the list is long. On the flip side, Rahul Dravid has cut a sorry figure.

It's improper to keep talking about the poor form of a batsman who made the most significant of contributions in most of India's Test wins abroad. Looking at it from the other side, it is because the man who is going through a low is Dravid, that his failure has become a talking point.

After starting with a 51 in the first Test in Bangalore, the man synonymous with big scores has tallied just 69 more in six innings. What's more worrisome is Dravid hasn't looked like the batsman he was after quitting captaincy in September last year. A crucial 96 in Perth was the only exception apart from a century on a dead track against South Africa.

Batsmen go through bad patches and of the ones with big stature, Sourav Ganguly is the most prominent name coming to mind first who have faced this in recent memory. The problem with Dravid is, he is not scoring when the others including the openers are doing well to reduce the pressure on him.

Asked about it, Australia coach Tim Nielsen on Sunday said: "We have been pretty clear with what we have been doing with Rahul. I think he has had one of those series where he seems to have got quite a few good balls. Everytime he has nicked the ball, it has gone straight to the keeper or slips and they have caught it.

"One jumped a bit in the first innings and he gloved it straight to short-leg. He is just having a bit of a rut at the moment and not having a lot of luck. He has been training hard. We often see him down at the nets when we are there having a session by himself and working hard. I am sure he will make a lot of runs in the future. It was just his turn to have a bit of a dry spot this series."

Those are words that will reassure Dravid and also his captain. One advantage that Dravid has is that there is time between now and December 11, when India play their next Test, against England. This will give him a chance to play some Ranji Trophy cricket for Karnataka and regain form. Until he does that, the whispers that are doing the rounds will get louder till they reach screaming pitch.