A lot of stats have been quoted about India’s upcoming test opener against England at Lord’s. It will be the 2000th test in history and the 100th between India and England. It will be a chance for the current World No. 1 Test side in the world to take on the side that will claim the throne once India goes into transition. It may also be the last time that Sachin Tendulkar will play at Lord’s and having scored 99 international centuries the media frenzy about the occasion being perfect for Sachin’s 100th & his first at Lords has overshadowed a lot of other things.
Fifteen years ago, a young man strode out to bat who was only playing as Sanjay Manjrekar had gotten injured before the test. Making a test debut at Lord’s after a disappointing start to an ODI career can be daunting to say the least. However Rahul Dravid did not let the occasion get to him. Batting with fellow debutant, Saurav Ganguly he proceeded to write a glorious story in the memoirs of Lord’s and test cricket. When he walked back dismissed on 95 the tears in his eyes were there for all to see. For a man who had struggled for over five years to get to the Indian team, fate had cruelly taken the enticing ‘century on debut’.
Dravid was back in 2002 and was in majestic touch in the series. He scored three hundreds and his century in Headingley set up a memorable test win for India. He went back in 2007 and became the first Indian captain to win a test series in England since 1986. In between he was one of India’s highest run getters in the 1999 WC in England.
However Dravid is yet to get what fate had cruelly taken from him on June 23, 1996- the opportunity to hit a Test century at Lords. So when Dravid takes guard this time around, for sure his mind will be on to win the match for India but he shall also be playing for a personal goal. A goal that would have rankled him all these 15 years irrespective of all the honours and accolades that has come his way since then. And being the kind of the player he is, it would surprise no one to see ‘The Wall’ add another feather to his hat. And he does surely deserve it!