I've decided to make a thread on Dravid as I was just reminiscing and watching some of his famous Adelaide 2003 double ton.
I remember during the 4th test of the Australia in India test series in 2008 in Nagpur, Dravid had just gotten out to Watson caught behind at a crucial time in India's 2nd innings for 3. He had been out for a duck in the first innings, and was Krezja's 1st wicket.
I was watching on TV, and received a text message from a fellow Indian fan which said "That was Dravid's last ever test innings for India." I was inclined to agree. He looked gone.
As it turns out, it wasn't as he's obviously part of the current test team vs. Australia.
Since that very test match, Dravid has averaged 52.82 with the bat including four 100s. So he has been far from woeful. However, some of his runs have been padded up by a century against Bangladesh, and one of his centuries was against Sri Lanka on what was a fairly flat deck.
But forgetting figures, I think the biggest concern for Indian fans, or long time Dravid fans, is that Dravid doesn't give that sense of security and solidity when he's at the crease anymore, even when he does score runs.
There have been talks in the India vs. Australia tour thread that his place is under threat heading into the NZ and especially South Africa series. He hasn't been great vs. Australia in his three innings, with one good score and two poor ones. As said above, it was mentioned that even in his 77 he didn't look amazing, like say Sachin has during his knocks, or even Ponting has in his string of 70 scores.
Is this a reality that we have to get used to? I think it is safe to say that Dravid won't be the Dravid of 2003-2006 (which was quite frankly, amazing). Even though Sachin managed to return to amazing heights after a down period, most admit that a lot of his down period had to do with injury concerns. Dravid's poor (or inconsistent) form is purely down to age IMO. You can't be on top forever.
But does that mean he should be dropped? Names such as Vijay (who just tonned up in a very good knock), Badrinath and Pujara have been thrown up as possible replacements for Dravid. Then of course you have Yuvraj as well. Rohit Sharma, Abhinav Mukund and Virat Kohli are long term prospects as well that some want to see fast-tracked.
I think people are so distraught at seeing Dravid bat in such an unconvincing manner at times, that the immediate reaction is "he's done, he should retire" or alternatively, that he should be dropped. But I don't think either decision is right.
Firstly, after the NZ series ths Dhoni-led Indian tema have probably its most important test series yet. A 3 test series vs. South Africa, which will be #1 rank vs. #2 rank. It is the biggest test Dhoni's India will have faced, and India have twice been unable to beat South Africa at home. Away is obviously much tougher.
Simply because Dravid isn't averaging 70-80 and making centuries at will like he was years back doesn't mean he isn't one of India's six best test batsmen, overall and especially for South African conditions.
Unless you are a believer in blooding for youth at test level (which the Indian selectors most definitely are not... as we have seen over the years), I don't think Dravid should be dropped yet.
I think the NZ series is an important one for him, as well as his last innings vs. Australia coming up tomorrow. If he absolutely bombs, there will be calls for his head. But for now, do we really believe that Vijay or Yuvraj are better suited to facing up to Steyn and Morkel on fairly bowler friendly wickets in a do or die test series than Rahul Dravid? I'm not convinced about that just yet.
Overall, I think I'm going to back Dravid in. I think for at least another 12 months he's good enough to average around 45 in test cricket, and I think that is enough to be a better bet than the younger Indian batsmen who are fighting for his spot.
Do you agree? Or do you think it's time for Dravid to go so the transition post Tendulkar/Laxman/Dravid will be slightly easier, rather than two of them going at the same time? Arguably Ganguly retiring two years ago has allowed for India to try batsman in his spot, with Raina looking secure for the time being. Should that occur for Dravid as well, to ensure India's batting is more secure in the long term?
I think there is merit in that argument. But for now, I say stick with Rahul. I will be putting him in my avatar to show my support