Rahul Dravid is a legend. He has achieved all that there is to do as a players and batter, and is now serving his role as a coach with the team he was a part of for 16 years, but even The Wall was overwhelmed when the ICC paid tribute him via a video montage during the India vs Netherlands World Cup 2023 match – the last league game of the tournament – in Bengaluru on Sunday. Dravid was in the middle of his usual chores as coach while India were batting, comfortably sitting in the change room and watching the proceedings when Dravid ‘broke character’.
During the 38th over of the Indian innings, when Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul were going great guns and had taken the total to 259/3, a video montage of Dravid’s 1999 World Cup campaign popped up on the giant screen. The World Cup in England from 24 years ago was one of the most memorable ones for Dravid. After the video ran its course, the camera panned towards Bengaluru’s very own Dravid, who was seen acknowledging the crowd and his fellow Team India members in the change room with a wide, ear-to-ear smile across his face. Even Virat Kohli, sitting just behind Dravid, broke out in a child-like clap.
Watch the video below:
Dravid was all of 25, playing his first World Cup for India and setting the stage on fire as the leading scorer of the tournament with 461 runs from eight innings at an average of 65.85. He struck three fifties and two centuries – 145 vs Sri Lanka and 104 against Kenya – and was involved in two most memorable partnerships ever witnessed in Indian cricket – 318 runs with Sourav Ganguly and 237 with Sachin Tendulkar.
Surprisingly, there was another such moment involving Dravid earlier this year. In January, he celebrated his 50th birthday as India took on Sri Lanka in the 2nd ODI. Celebrating the day with the Indian team in Kolkata, he sat in the dressing room enjoying the game. The commentators then delved into the India great’s contributions, highlighting them in detail. As his stats appeared on the television screen, Dravid’s reaction was truly priceless.
Dravid’s time of redemption
Unfortunately, though, as a player Dravid never won a World Cup – the closest he came was in 2003 when India reached the final. As captain, Dravid endured his worst World Cup when India crashed out of the 2007 edition in the league stage itself. But after 16 years, Dravid has a chance to redeem himself. India have been unstoppable this World Cup, their 160-run win over the Netherlands yesterday giving them a 9-0 unbeaten run in the league stage ahead of the much-anticipated semifinal against New Zealand at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.
Regarded as one of the greatest batters of his era, Dravid graced 164 Tests and 340 ODIs for India. His leadership stint spanned from 2005 to 2007. Currently, he stands as the fourth-highest run-scorer in Tests with an impressive 13,288 runs. Dravid is also part of an elite group of only 14 players to surpass 10,000 runs in ODIs, solidifying his legacy as a true Indian cricketing great.