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The Old Batsman: Outside, Looking In...

by Bored Guest

As Rahul Dravid was adding the last few of his 12, 314 Test match runs over in West Indies, it was interesting to watch the volume of ‘advice’ from Indian fans that came streaming through the Twitter feed.

If you’d never seen Dravid bat and instead formed an opinion of him from these screams from cyberspace, you might have pictured a timid schoolboy who’d been dragged unwillingly to the crease, where he was now cowering somewhere between the stumps and square leg bent only on surviving the remorseless onslaught of Darren Sammy, rather than the imposing, infinitely skilled player that he is.

We never see ourselves as the rest of the world does. From the outside though - which is all I can write about – the Indian team looks much like Rahul Dravid must if you’re a bowler who’s been trying to get him out for six hours under unrelenting sun on a wicket that bounces about as high as a dead cat thrown into a swimming pool: a vast and sometimes unscaleable wall that will resist you forever.

It’s all about perspective: Rahul Dravid has scored 3,414 more Test runs than any Englishman who has ever played the game. And Dravid is not even the highest scorer in the team. Sachin Tendulkar has made 5,792 more runs than any English player ever. Of the current England side, only Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen have scored more than 5,792 Test runs.

Virender Sehwag has made 22 Test match hundreds. That puts him level with Boycott and Hammond, who hold England’s record. Dravid has ten more. Sachin has more than Boycott and Hammond put together. No current England player yet has 20.

Then there’s the other stuff. Harbhajan Singh has more Test wickets than any bowler currently playing. His 404 puts him 21 ahead of Ian Botham, whose England record has stood since 1992, but still leave him more than 200 wickets adrift of India’s best-ever, Anil Kumble. Zaheer Khan’s 271 mean he starts the series with 52 more wickets than Jimmy Anderson, who is by a distance England’s current leading wicket-taker.

India arrive with all of this weight, this statistical heft, behind them. It means as much as you want it to, of course, and England can counter with the ICC rankings of Swann and Anderson, and the remarkable Test match average of Jonathan Trott, which at 62.23 makes him either six runs an innings better than Sachin or the next Mike Hussey depending on your view.  

The point is that, from the outside, this Indian side is a monolithic thing, containing players whose greatness cannot be denied. They have their foibles because they are human beings, but they represent an era of cricket that will be looked on as a golden age: something that England cannot say they’ve had for a while. 

by
The Old Batsman

The Old Batsman is an English cricket blogger – www.theoldbatsman.blogspot.com

3 comments:

Naked Cricket said...

Welcome on Bored, TOB.

pRAFs said...

Welcome on bored, OB

Som said...

Nice piece indeed. Hope to see you more.