For a change, Rahul is the hero at Kolkata | india | Hindustan Times
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For a change, Rahul is the hero at Kolkata

Rahul Dravid knows he has hit a good patch and is determined to try and make the most of it. “I’ve been through tough times, so I know how important it is to make it count while it lasts,” he said after Monday’s play. Nikhilesh Bhattacharya reports.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2011 12:28 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Rahul-Dravid-R-plays-a-shot-as-West-Indies-wicketkeeper-Carlton-Baugh-watches-on-the-first-day-of-their-second-Test-cricket-match-in-Kolkata
Rahul-Dravid-R-plays-a-shot-as-West-Indies-wicketkeeper-Carlton-Baugh-watches-on-the-first-day-of-their-second-Test-cricket-match-in-Kolkata

Rahul Dravid knows he has hit a good patch and is determined to try and make the most of it. “I’ve been through tough times, so I know how important it is to make it count while it lasts,” he said after Monday’s play.

Dravid would know, having spent a career watching some of his best knocks get overshadowed by better innings from teammates, or by superb bowling efforts, or simply by circumstances. On Day 1 of the second Test against the West Indies, though, he out-batted the hoopla surrounding Sachin Tendulkar’s awaited milestone to emerge as Eden’s hero; at least for 24 hours.

The 119 off 207 deliveries with nine fours and two sixes was his fourth century at Eden, and fifth this year. He is now the top run-getter in Tests in 2011. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/15-11-11-metro21b.jpg

Dravid played as straight as possible and as late as possible, defending with soft hands and attacking only the bad deliveries. He went forward to the pacers whenever he could, but hung back against the spinners, secure in the knowledge that the slowness of the wicket would let him adjust.

Second fiddle
Dravid agreed that given the context of the game and the conditions, this was probably the easiest of his hundreds at Eden. “The 180 (against Australia in a match-turning partnership with VVS Laxman in 2001-02) is celebrated, but the hundreds in each innings against Pakistan (in 2004-05) are also special because they were match-deciders.”

Yet, Laxman’s 281 stole the show against Australia and Anil Kumble’s seven wickets in the second innings won India the Test against Pakistan in 2004-05. Dravid’s contributions remained better etched on the scoreboards than on people’s mind.

Even his three Test centuries on the recent tour of England got lost in the gloom surrounding the 0-4 pasting India received. And how many people remember his second-innings 112 in Jamaica that won India the first Test of the series in the West Indies in June. For the record, the next highest score in the innings was 28, by Amit Mishra, and India won the match by 63 runs.

Pressure’s on
Three years ago, the selectors pushed Sourav Ganguly into retirement. They know that the ageing middle-order of Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman will also have to be phased out at some point, but the order in which they will go is far from certain.

Tendulkar is in a different league and remains more relevant because he plays one-dayers as well. That would appear to put Test specialists Laxman and Dravid in the firing line.

However, the youngsters will have to wait as long as the veterans keep coming up with the kind of knocks they played on Monday.