Dravid’s constant desire to improve his batting made him a legend of the game
Former India coach Greg Chappell has revealed that not all the team-mates of batting legend Rahul Dravid were celebrating his success, in a new book released about the retired batsman.
In the book, ‘Rahul Dravid – Timeless Steel’, Chappell wrote that even though Dravid had guided India to numerous victories through his calm batting demeanour, many of the team-mates were still extremely hostile towards him.
“Sadly the success of the team was not universally enjoyed within the team. Some individuals felt threatened by the new world order and appeared to work against Rahul,” Chappell wrote.
Chappell believes that if Dravid were given the same amount of support as the captain of the team received, he would have gone on to become one of the greatest captains the nation would have ever seen.
“Had he been given the same wholehearted support in the role that he had given others, I think the recent history of Indian cricket may have been very different and he could have gone on to become the most successful Indian captain ever,” Chappell added.
Chappell, a former captain of Australia, noted that Dravid had led India to nine ODI wins in a row after putting the opposition in to bat first, regardless of the conditions.
Dravid, soon extended the winning streak to 17, which is currently a world record for a team consecutively batting second.
“To learn how to get better at chasing a target, Rahul kept asking the opposition to bat first, no matter the conditions. Under his leadership, India won nine ODIs in a row against Pakistan and England, and went on to complete a world record of 17 consecutive wins batting second,” Chappell wrote.
Chappell also recalls that India tried using the same tactics in Test cricket.
“A similar approach to Test cricket brought about India’s first overseas victory in the West Indies for 35 years and a first-ever Test victory in South Africa, which could have been turned into a series win if the team had batted better in the second innings in the final Test in Cape Town,” he wrote.
In the book, Chappell wrote that he had a strong and healthy relationship with Dravid, unlike that of Sourav Ganguly.
“Men don’t say these things, but I have a genuine affection for Rahul Dravid,” Chappell wrote.
Continuing with his high praise of Dravid, Chappell wrote that the legendary batsman was a much better captain than anyone gives him credit for.
“He was an excellent deputy, in that he gave whole-hearted support without ever thinking he might be better than the incumbent, and when he got the job he was a much better captain than he will ever be credited with,” Chappell said in his book.
Furthermore, Chappell never recalls hearing Dravid ever mutter any ill-advised words on the field or make any rash decisions without thinking of the consequences.
Chappell, remembered a Test match between India and Sri Lanka at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, where Dravid had been removed cheaply in the first innings by Sri Lankan spin ace Muttiah Muralitharan, but before batting in the second innings, he constantly found ways to improve his batting, which allowed him to tackle Muralitharan with no problems whatsoever.
“Muralitharan took seven for 100 in the first innings, in which Sachin Tendulkar made a patient century. Rahul was one of many who had found scoring runs against Muralitharan (tough) in the first innings,” Chappell wrote.
Chappell, remembers Dravid coming and asking for advice on how to play the Muralitharan’s spin, and did not settle for the answer of you could not have done better.
“He wouldn’t accept that as an answer and insisted I do better, so I said that he had to look for scoring opportunities off every ball, no matter how hard it was,” Chappell wrote.
With the advice given to him, Dravid scored at a fluent rate to reach 53 in his second innings, before being run out.