Rahul Dravid is the batsman who has been most overshadowed by Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the most complete batsman of the quartet, which includes VVS Laxman, and Sourav Ganguly. Hailed as 'The Wall" or "The Great Indian Wall" for the mere impossibility at times, to breach his defensive play, he has been the backbone of the famed Indian batting line-up which still misses his services and collapses every now and then. An accomplished backfoot player with a rock-solid defensive technique, Dravid has made more sacrifices to the team than his more famous team-mates. He has kept wickets despite being a non-specialist wicket-keeper, batted at all positions despite being a specialist number 3. There have been umpteen instances where Dravid 's performance in a match has been matched or bettered by the other members of the accomplished quartet. Three specific instances are worth mentioning:
a) At Taunton, 1999 by Sourav Ganguly who scored 183, then the highest score by an Indian batsman in One Day Interntationals. Dravid scored 145 and started accelerating before Ganguly actually did. Again he was run-out by a direct-hit from the deep. India won the match by 157 runs and Ganguly was adjudged the man-of-the-match.
b) At Hyderabad, 1999 by Sachin Tendulkar who scored 186, again the highest score by an Indian batsman in One Day Interntationals. Dravid scored 153 in 153 balls, a considerable achievement for someone who was thought not fit for One Day Interntational cricket, gettting out in the 48th over. The partnership lasted for more than 46 overs and is still the highest ever partnership for any wicket in One Day Interntationals.
c) At Eden Gardens, 2001 by VVS Laxman who scored 281, then the highest score by an Indian batsman in tests.
Dravid scored 180 before being run-out in an attempt to increase the pace of scoring. This match should remain in the memories of any Indian cricket fan of the late 90s and early 2000s. This also marked the resurgence of the Indian cricket team as a prominent force in world cricket. It is to be noted that the partnership of 376 runs between Dravid and Laxman lasted for more than 100 overs spread across two days with the pair resisting the world-class Australian attack for the entire 4th day. The Australians were chasing their 17th win in as many matches, in what would have been a world record. Since, Laxman's innings was of the 'once in a life time' nature,
Dravid's innings was overshadowed. This is considered to be one of the greatest test matches ever played.
When he came to the international cricket arena he was branded as a test match player not fit for One Day Internationals. By the time he retired, he was among the top five run-getters in One Day Internationals, at a respectable average of 39 and a [career strike-rate|strike-rate of 71. He has scored one of the fastest fifties for India (off 22 balls).
If Tendulkar inspired confidence into Indian cricket,
Dravid kept its foundation intact. For lack of a better comparison in terms of accolades,
Dravid in India is what Meryl Streep is at the Academy Awards