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Updated: March 10, 2012 14:53 IST

India’s Dravid in the making!

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Who will be Dravid's successor? (Above) Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. (below left) Cheteshwar Pujara and (below right) Ajinkya Rahane. File photos
The Hindu
Who will be Dravid's successor? (Above) Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. (below left) Cheteshwar Pujara and (below right) Ajinkya Rahane. File photos

Now that Rahul Dravid has hung his boots from international cricket, the uppermost concern dogging the cricket-crazy country is who is next Dravid in the making!

The frontrunner among the youngsters who could fill in Dravid’s big shoes are Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane.

23-year-old Kohli, who was elevated to vice-captaincy for the ODI format, has shown that he has the talent and temperament to occupy that crucial number three slot in Test cricket for the Indian team.

He has proved that he belonged at the highest levels in the longest format in India’s disastrous Test tour of Australia. On a tour in which India’s senior batsmen struggled throughout, Kohli stood out, scoring India’s only Test hundred -- a mature, composed innings in Adelaide.

In the eight Tests he has played so far, he has scored 491 runs at an average of 32.73.

Another candidate is the Mumbai top-order batsman Rohit Sharma. He has the talent and technique but lacks in fitness and consistency and is yet to play long innings consistently in the longer format after the 2008-09 Ranji season.

24-year-old Rohit has a very good ODI record with 1889 runs from 77 matches at an average of 33.14 but is yet to test his temperament at the Test level.

Another Mumbai batsman Rahane has shown that he can bat for long hours and grind for runs. He has scored heavily for Mumbai at number three and four in Ranji Trophy in the last few years.

The 23-year-old right-handed batsman has continued to churn out the runs in domestic cricket, hitting three hundreds each in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons of the Ranji Trophy.

Two centuries in the Emerging Players Tournament in Australia brought him a place in the India ODI squad for the tour of England in 2011 but he is yet to make his Test debut.

Another claimant to the pivotal number three Test spot is 24-year-old Saurashtra batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, known for his solid techniques.

His technique is tailor-made for Test cricket. It may be too early to draw comparison with ‘The Wall’, but looking at his first class batting record, one gets the feeling that Pujara is the rightly being called the next Dravid.

Scoring tons of runs in first class cricket at an average of 53.50 over the years, Pujara made the opportunity count by scoring an excellent 72 in a tricky fourth-innings run-chase in 2010 Bangalore Test against Australia. In the process, he became only the fifth Indian to score 50 or more in the fourth innings on debut.

Pujara, who had three triple centuries in domestic cricket prior to 2009, was sent up the order at number three in place of Dravid in a tactical change by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni which turned out to be a masterstroke as India went on to win the Test by seven wickets.

In the three Tests he has played so far, Pujara scored 107 runs at an average of 21.40.

Pujara, who is out of the game since 2011 IPL due to a knee injury, keeps his game simple and plays within his limitations. His technique is in classical mould -- upright at the crease and play with a midas touch on both sides of the field.

Pujara was a prodigy at age-level cricket, finishing the 2006 U-19 World Cup as the highest scorer with 349 runs. He has already displayed his hunger for big scores with a triple-century against Baroda at Under-14 level, a double against England Under-19, and 145 for Saurashtra in his second first-class match.

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It was impossible to replace or find replacements for Kapil, Sunny and Vishy and hence so will it be to replace Rahul Dravid, SRT and VVS. I am sure Gods will be kind enough to provide some other good player to take us forward. My team would look like this gambir, rahane, virat, viru, rohit sharma, pujara, and msd followed by bowlers after VVS and SRT announce their retirements.

from:  Sathish
Posted on: Mar 12, 2012 at 12:03 IST

Virat Kohli, Rahane or Pujara ? Such debates are superfluous quoting
their current statistics. The need of the hour in Indian cricket is
grooming young talents alongside the busy international scheduel for
Team India. To reach Dravid's stature, a young cricketer who is
fortunate enough to get into the team, must have the character
that the classic Karnataka veteran had been showing throughout
his career. Replacements cannot be done on comparison basis, so
to speak. Not only Dravid or for that matter Sachin, we need replacements for every talented player in the Indian team now.
The process of unearthing talent is continuous. Not as and when
a great player retires.
Only this will save Indian cricket from falling from grace as its
players age and slow down, as it were.

from:  v venkataramana
Posted on: Mar 11, 2012 at 15:45 IST

There was never a Mohammed Ali again...Never a Maradonna agian...Never a Bradman again...!
Rahul Dravid is a self made hard working cricketer with integrity and ethics...Lets not belittle his banyan-tree like achievements by comparing it with a sapling !
Although this sapling looks healthy to grow into a nice tree but there would be various storms it has to bear before it can sustain 16 long years like Dravid did.
Sport is a test of ones individuality and you become a better sportsman when you know your weakness better then your strengths.Dravid truely worked on his weakness and turned it into a "wall" for the opponent !

from:  Pani
Posted on: Mar 11, 2012 at 05:47 IST

he is exceptional in all forms.

He is real model, anyone in the nations who like cricket wants to be like him only.

You are real hero sir....

from:  Deepak
Posted on: Mar 10, 2012 at 15:40 IST

There is only one Dravid and i.e. Rahul Dravid.

from:  balram mohapatra
Posted on: Mar 10, 2012 at 15:18 IST
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