On January 11, 1973, Rahul Sharad Dravid was born, better known by his stage name, The Wall. The former Indian cricketer and skipper is now the head coach of the country's team. He served at NCA (National Cricket Academy) as a Head Coach for the India U-19 team. Under his coaching, the Under-19 team won the 2018 World Cup and finished as a runner-up in the 2016 Under-19 World Cup. He is always known for his classy batting style and techniques. He scored more than 24,000+ runs and was named among the best cricketers in history. Because of his defensive nature, he is often referred to as "The Wall" in cricket.
At the age of 12, he started playing cricket and played U-15, U-17, and U-19 as a representative of Karnataka. He currently holds fourth place in a list of most runs in Test cricket worldwide. He was the first player to reach a hundred against every Test-playing nation in 2004. He has owned the world record of never getting out in the first test cricket ball in his 286 matches. Once in Test cricket, he was on the wicket for 44152 minutes, the most time spent by any batsman. Batting together, the total partnership between Rahul and Sachin is 6920 runs, the highest partnership in Test cricket between two batters. At the first ICC awards presentation in 2004, he was given the Player of the Year and Test Player of the Year awards.
He declared his ODI retirement in 2011 and T20I retirement in 2012 against the England team. He also retired from first-class cricket after international retirement. After his retirement, he started playing IPL (Indian Premier League) as the captain of the Rajasthan Royals team in 2012.
After his retirement, Rahul decided to join Gosport's Foundation, Bangalore. In this foundation, he mentored future Olympians. The first batch of athletes Rahul Dravid tutored included teenage golfer S. Chikkarangappa, para-swimmer Sharath Gayakwad, and an Indian badminton star Prannoy Kumar.
Early Life of Rahul Dravid
He was born in a Brahmin family in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. He did his schooling at St. Joseph's Boys High School in Bangalore, Karnataka, and later received his business degree from St. Joseph's College of Commerce in Bengaluru. He was selected for the team while pursuing his MBA at St. Joseph's College of Business Administration.
At Bangalore's University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering, Rahul's mother worked as a teacher. His father worked in a company named Kissan, best known for producing jam. Due to this, Rahul was given the nickname "Jammy" by his friends. He also has a younger brother whose name is Vijay.
International Cricket Career
Rahul's performance in domestic cricket has been very consistence, and for this consistency, he got the maiden call for the national cricket squad for Wills World Series in 1994. But, he did not get a chance to participate in the playing 11. After this, he went back to domestic cricket and played hard to get a place in playing 11 of the national team. However, even after working so hard, he did not find a place even in the national cricket team for the 1996 World Cup.
He finally got the chance on April 3, 1996, and made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in Singapore for Singer Cup in place of Vinod Kambli right after the 1996 World Cup. But he failed to perform and impress in the match. He just scored 3 runs in that match and got bowled by Spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, and his poor performance continued in another match against Pakistan, where he just scored 4 runs and got run out.
Later, he also made his Test Debut against the England team (India tour of England). He first played two practice matches against Leicestershire and Gloucestershire and performed well. But it couldn't help him to find a place in the final playing 11 for the first Test. But in the second Test against England, he got the chance and made his debut in Test cricket in place of Sanjay Manjrekar. He scored 95 runs in that match while batting at No. 7 and formed a great partnership with Sourav Ganguly (he also made his debut in this match) but was dismissed by Chris Lewis before scoring his first-ever century in Test cricket. However, he got another chance in the next Test series against British University, where he scored his maiden century. He won everyone's heart with his performance in this series.
Rise of Dravid
The international career after his debut was not so good for Rahul in many long and short format matches. He quickly established himself in Test matches, but it took him some time and effort to prove himself in ODIs.
He participated in a single Test against Australia in Delhi, his first Test in India, following a successful Test debut in England. He scored 40 runs during the first innings while batting at position 6. After this, he got a chance in another Test series against South Africa in the home series and batted at No. 3. At that time, his performance was not so impressive in this position as he scored only 175 runs in 3 Tests at an average of 29.
With South Africa, India participated in 3 Test matches in Africa. On the Durban pitch, which had significant bounce and seam movement and a target of 395 runs for the First Test, the Indian squad was mercilessly bowled out for 66 runs. The only Indian batsman to achieve double digits in the innings was Dravid, who scored 27 (not out) while batting at position 6. He got one more chance to play at no. 3 in the second inning of the second Test. He scored 148 runs in the first inning of that match and 81 in the second inning, but the team could neither win nor draw the match as Cullinan scored a century and saved South Africa from a big loss. He scored 277 runs at an average of 55.40 and got his first-ever Man of the Match award in Test.
Dravid's next series consisted of five Test matches against the Windies, during which he made 360 runs at an average of 72, including four fifty-plus scores. He got a joint Man of the Match award with Shivnarine Chanderpaul for scoring 92 runs in the fifth match. He scored 852 runs in 12 matches at an average of 50.11; in 1996-97, he was at the top of most run-scorer with a hundred and six half-centuries.
He became the second Indian, following Gundappa Vishwanath, to strike 6 fifty in six straight innings against Australia and Sri Lanka. After 1997-98, he played 22 matches in Test and scored 15 half-centuries, with four-time scoring 90s and a hundred.
In 1998-99, he scored 752 runs in just 7 matches this season at an average of 62.66. He scored four hundred and a half-century with this, one more time top the highest run-scorer for India. Later, India lost a test match against Zimbabwe, but Dravid scored the most in this Test, 118 runs in the first and 40 in the second inning. In both innings, he was the highest run-scorer for India.
With a series against New Zealand right after the Zimbabwe series, the first match got cancelled without delivering a single ball in the match. In the second test match, Dravid got the first-ever duck in his Test career. Still, he scored 190 runs in the first inning and 103 runs in the second inning of the third test match and became the third player who scored centuries in both innings. Earlier, only Vijay Hazare and Sunil Gavaskar have done this. He was the most run-scorer in this series, 321 runs at an average of 107 in two matches, but the team couldn't win the series against New Zealand.
After a month, India played a test series against Pakistan where he (Dravid) didn't contribute many runs, and India lost the first test match against Pakistan. But, later in a champion series, another game against Pakistan was a historical match for India, especially for Anil Kumble, who took 10 wickets in an inning and was the only Indian player to do this. Dravid took the catch of Mushtaq Ahmed (8th wicket of Kumble). This was the first Test of the championship series, and after that, India played the second match against Sri Lanka, and Dravid scored his fourth century of the season. But he got injured by the shot of Jayawardene. The ball hit his face through the helmet grill while fielding, got a break, and didn't come for the bat in the second inning of the match, and the Indian team couldn't qualify for the finals as the match ended as a draw.
Dravid was at his peak in his Test career, but on the other hand, he struggled in his ODI career. He was not a regular player since his debut in 1998. But the struggle ended in a Friendship Cup match in 1996 against Pak in Toronto. He got the very first ODI Player of the Match award in this series after scoring 220 runs in five games with a scoring rate of 68 and won the first-ever ODI Man of the Match in this series. In 1996 during the SBI International ODI against South Africa, he scored 280 runs in eight games and got the Man of the Match award for his 84 runs in the final match of the series. His first ODI century was in 1997 against Pakistan in Chennai. He scored the most runs for India in the quadrangular series, with 189 runs at an average of 94.50.
But his ODI career failed with 14 runs in two matches in Pepsi Sharjah Cup in 1996, 20 runs in two in Singer Cup, and 65 in four in Friendship Cup (1998).
World Cup Debut
At Hove, England, where he made his World Cup debut against South Africa, he scored 50 runs, but in the next game, he just scored 13 against Zimbabwe, but the Indian team was defeated in both games. They needed to win the following three games in the first round to make it to the Super Six stage after losing the first two games. In the match against Kenya at Bristol, he and Sachin did a partnership of 237 runs in which Dravid scored his maiden World Cup century. India won the match by 94 runs. India's wicketkeeper, Mongia, got injured, and Dravid took the keeping gloves for the rest of the innings against Kenya. As a result of Mongia's injury in the next game against Sri Lanka at Taunton, he took over as the full-time wicketkeeper. In the match against Sri Lanka, he played one more partnership with Sourav Ganguly of 318 runs in which he scored 145 runs with a six and seventeen four in that inning and became the second player to hit two consecutive centuries in the World Cup. He also scored a half-century against England in the last match of the group, and India claimed a win and reached to super Six matches. In Super Six matches, he scored just 2 runs against Australia, 61 against Pakistan, and 29 against New Zealand. Unfortunately, he couldn't help India to reach the semi-final as they lost games against Australia and New Zealand.
After World Cup ended, he played Aiwa Cup in August and scored just 40 runs in four games. But after this cup, he came in his form and scored the most runs in two consecutive series. In DMC Cup, he scored 77 runs and took 4 catches in the final match of the series, where he got the Man of the Match award for his performance. In 1999, he scored 782 runs in 19 games and became the top run-scorer in the world. After this, India played 3 match series in India, where he scored 144 in the second inning and saved India from a loss in the First Test as they have all out in just 83 runs in the first inning. This was the 6th test century of Dravid and the first in India. In the ODI match against New Zealand right after the Test match series, he scored 240 runs in 5 match series, and India won the series by 3-2. In this series, his ODI career's best inning of 153 runs came in Hyderabad, where Dravid and Sachin contributed 331 runs jointly (the highest partnership in ODI till 2015). Since then, Dravid has scored 1761 runs at an average of 46.3 in 43 ODI innings.
In 1999, India went to play 3-match Test series against Australia where Dravid didn't impress with his bat, and India lost the series by 0-3. Also, in Australia, they played triangular series (ODI) where Dravid scored 3 half-centuries, but the team failed to enter the finals of this series.
Rahul Dravid as a Captain
He became a captain in the series against Pakistan in which Sourav Ganguly (full-time captain) got injured, and Dravid led India in Pakistan to win the match in Pakistan. He was playing just his 2nd Test as captain, and he took a decision that became the subject of controversies.
On the second day of the first Test, he declared an inning when Sachin Tendulkar was just 6 runs short of making his double century in the Test, while Sehwag scored 309 runs. He made this decision because Pakistan players had fielded for over 150 overs. Rahul wanted to take advantage of the earlier wickets of the Pakistan batters as they were already exhausted in the field after two days of fielding.
Rahul Dravid as a Coach
In 2014, he took charge as the coach of the Rajasthan Royals in IPL. He became the coach of the U-19 team and India A squad in 2015. Under his coaching, India reached the final in the 2016 U-19 WC but couldn't win. Later in the 2018 U-19 WC, they won the title by beating Australia with 8 wickets. Today's superstars, Ishan Kishan, Washington Sundar, and many players find Rahul Dravid helpful during their coaching.
In 2019, after four years of coaching in junior cricket, Dravid was appointed as the Head of the Cricket in NCA. Later in 2021, he was appointed as the coach of the Indian National Team.
Dravid married Vijeta Pendharkar, who belongs to a Brahmin family like him. She was from the family of an Air Force Commander. Dravid and Vijeta had two children, Samit (born in 2005) and Anvay (born in 2009).