I don't have privilege of watching any of the Sunil Gavaskar's innings. Never watched Gundappa Vishwanath batting. Don't have any idea how Geoff Boycott and Vivian Richards batted as I never watched them batting. But I am lucky enough to watch Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Jacques Kallis and Virender Sehwag batting. All these stalwarts have class of their own and quite unique also in their way of batting. But one man who stands tall among all these stalwarts is Rahul Dravid, simply because of his great technique which made him one of the finest batsman of all time. Yet lost in aura of all greats.
I can say one thing for sure, among all the batsmen I watched, I found Rahul Dravid far superior when it comes to technique. Tendulkar have all the records in the world, Kallis is great all-rounder, Sourav Ganguly finest Indian captain ever, Virender Sehwag the crusader, VVS Laxman the elegant right hander. But among all Rahul Dravid stands tall, yet always remained in shadow of all these greats and never got the credit for what he did for Indian cricket. He is player who holds the distinction of scoring highest runs in the test matches which India won. So he is easily the match winner. With the retirement of Rahul Dravid, Team India lost the biggest ever match-winner of all time. When he started his career he was labelled as test batsman but with his sheer determination and dedication to the game, made him one of the finest ODI batsman as well who went on to score more than 10000 runs in ODIs as well, which is no mean achievement.
What makes Rahul Dravid, the champion? I think its his patience which make him the champion. I have seen bowlers getting tired because of aggressive stroke-making of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, which is quite natural. But Rahul Dravid is unique. He weared down bowlers and made them look vulnerable with his slow batting which was quipped with great technique. He never scored runs at rapid pace, yet he succeeded in murdering the bowling with his killer patience and cool temperament. There is more to Rahul Dravid, apart from is batting. His advices proved priceless for many cricketers of his era who came to him for tips. Ask Younis Khan, how Rahul Dravid's words helped him in coming out of lean patch. Ask West Indian Kirk Edwards, who scored century after talking to Dravid. Ask Rohit Sharma who learnt to put price on his wicket after Rahul's advice. Ask Ricky Ponting whose career was saved after getting advice from Dravid and this list is endless. Cricketers across the globe one way or other way benefitted from Rahul Dravid.
With the retirement of Rahul Dravid, an era has come to an end and it is impossible to replace someone like Rahul Dravid who did so much for Indian cricket and that too selflessly. Truly a great team-man and greater batsmen of all time. I rate him above Tendulkar when it comes to winning matches for India. Rahul is the encyclopedia of batting and any batsmen who wants to make it big in international cricket, must watch Rahul's batting videos. Even he is captaincy record is quite good and most of the matches India won abroad in his captaincy.Team India won series in West Indies, England and also won test match in South Africa. So truly a great captain as well.
I hope BCCI will use Rahul Dravid's experience for enhancing the quality of Indian cricket, so that we get many more great cricketers in future.