Rahul Dravid has played several memorable knocks for the Indian cricket team during his tenure. His knocks of 233 and 72* helped India break their 22-year jinx in Australia as they won an epic Test match by four wickets in 2003. After the tour to Australia, India embarked on a historic tour to Pakistan in 2004 and Dravid’s brilliant knock of 270 in Rawalpindi helped India win a Test series in Pakistan for the first time ever. Dravid became the first player to score a century in all nine Test-playing countries as he stamped his class on the cricketing world. However, the right-hander, dubbed ‘The Wall’ for his immaculate technique, has not picked any of his knocks as the best. Instead, he has dubbed this particular knock as the ‘greatest by an Indian’.
Speaking at the launch of VVS Laxman’s autobiography “281 and Beyond”, Dravid has said Laxman’s knock of 281 in the Eden Gardens Test against Australia in 2001 was the ‘greatest ever by an Indian’ and he enjoyed the knock immensely.
“Without a doubt, I think, the 281 was probably one of the most significant and greatest innings played by an Indian cricketer, in terms of the context, the consequence, the innings was played in. I really had the best seat in the house for the greatest Indian innings ever played. I was still imagining him and visualising him, stepping outside the leg-stump and hitting Shane Warne through the covers, for a ball that is pitched yards outside the legs-stump. Or to be able to flick a ball on the middle and off-stump on a turning track in Kolkata, across the line, against a great bowler like Shane Warne,” Dravid said.
Laxman’s magnificent 281, combined with Dravid’s 180 and their 376-run stand helped India turnaround the Eden Test in spectacular fashion as they won the Test by 171 runs to halt Australia’s winning streak of 16 Tests. After the Eden match, India also won the Chennai Test by two wickets to seal one of their best Test wins. Dravid said watching Laxman bat gave him confidence as the Karnataka batsman was himself going through a rough patch.
“To be honest, I was not in the greatest of form leading into that particular innings. By the time, I went into bat (at No 6), Laxman was batting at 90-odd. I was not playing well in that series and watching him play gave me a lot of confidence. It was a magical day. I am truly grateful and blessed to have had that opportunity and to have experienced that, with someone who I knew when I was a kid. In lot of ways, it (281) defines Laxman more than me. We did not have too much of conversation. All we did was punch the gloves and said ‘one more over’. We broke it down into small goals,” Dravid said.