Rahul Dravid :: The best World Cup batsman India has ever had?


This article was prompted by a statement that Chinaman made in response to an earlier article that I had written on this blog.
In full flow
In that comment, Chinaman said, “I fail to understand why Rahul Dravid is in an ODI team. In the past he has kept, so did perform dual tasks, but now he is occupying a position as a single attribute cricketer. When all players are being encouraged to improve their weaker attribute, why do I not see Dravid bowl? That because he is ‘the wall’ we cannot do without him in ODIs is a myth. He has fallen for low scores time and time again. And when he does so, he has nothing else special to contribute for the rest of the match.

He did raise a few good issues and questions. But if he had a few facts at hand, his fears may have been dispelled!

I could have responded to Chinaman in the comments section. However, I was in the midst of constructing this article anyway! So, here goes…

If we look at the performance of a few top Indian batsmen in World Cups (min qualification of at least 10 matches), we have the following — arranged in the descending order of their batting averages:

Name |M |Runs |HS |Avg |100s |50s |W |Best |BowlAv |
Dravid1977914564.9125
Tendulkar33173215259.7241262/2878.16
Ganguly1884418356.264193/2231.44
Sidhu124549345.4006
Kapil26669175*37.1611285/4331.85
Vengsarkar112526336.0001
Gavaskar19561103*35.0614
Jadeja21522100*34.801232/3247.66
Azharuddin308269339.330853/1921.80
Sehwag112998227.180221/344.00
Srikkanth235217523.68020
Amarnath142548021.1601163/1226.93
Shastri141855718.5001123/2632.41

And yes, I do know that there are other factors to consider in ODIs, such as Strike Rates, fielding, etc. But please humour me as I only consider the batting average metric for this exercise.

It is clear from the above table, that Dravid’s performances in World Cups have been excellent. Given that he also ‘kept wickets in some of the games (in 2003) this makes for a fascinating contribution from a great Indian cricketer. But even if we ignore his ‘keeping, he would be in my ODI team any day just on the strength of his batting.

There are others like Sanjay Manjrekar, who have 11 games, but with an average of 26.81 (as a pure batsman in World Cups), do not really count. I think I have captured all the relevant personnel in the above table.

Let’s now look at performances of the top batsmen in the current Indian scene over their last 20 ODI appearances for India — the number 20 has been picked somewhat arbitrarily; we could carry this analysis over (say) the last 2 years. However, I decided to look at the last 20 games.


Name |M |Runs |HS |Avg |100s |50s |W |Best |BowlAv |
Yuvraj2063010342.001462/3434.50
Tendulkar20637141*39.812462/2550.83
Dhoni2050567*38.8404
Dravid205497834.3106
Ganguly205569832.700511/29105.00
Sehwag204629725.660341/2263.25
Kaif2030966*19.3103
Raina203225318.9401
Dhoni2050567*38.8404

Dinesh Karthik has an average of 21.28 from 10 games and Uthappa has an average of 39.25 from 5 games (clearly, early days yet).

Great Shot from DravidThe fact is that Indian batsmen haven’t been faring that well lately. However, even here, it is clear that Dravid’s place in the team is dictated purely on the basis of his batting strength. He earns his ticket purely as a batsman in form. The other batsmen who bowl a bit haven’t really set the world on fire with their bowling in recent games. Dhoni is the only one in the above list who can claim an effective dual-role. It is also perhaps clear from this why Kaif and Raina were dropped — perhaps they have only themselves to blame!

Given Table-1 which shows Dravid towering above the rest when it comes to performances in World Cup games, it would be safe to assume that he would have been the second (if not the first) name-pencil in the team sheet — just on the strength of his batting prowess!

— Mohan

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11 responses to “Rahul Dravid :: The best World Cup batsman India has ever had?

  1. Interesting post, Mohan…

    I wonder if you picked the best all time India One Day XI similar to the one the Aussies picked a couple of days ago, would you include him?

    I guess picking that XI would be a good post in itself.

    -Mahesh-

  2. He’d be my fourth pencil in the best-ever-team, behind Kapil, Tendulkar and Ganguly. Happy for you to start a thread on that Blogesh!

    — Mohan

  3. thanks Mohan

    its great to see my name so prominently displayed at the top of your post. 🙂
    you made my day.

    You have put in a lot of work on this,
    I apologise if I disappoint you by saying,
    I do not rely on statistics I am afraid, not even averages.
    To me they are numbers that can be stretched and twisted to support any point of view.
    My opinions are formed by what I see on the field only. (And definitely nothing from the TV pundits either)

    “— just on the strength of his batting prowess!”

    My question was in response to your other post on need for all rounders and multi attributes of a player.
    Not which are the batsmen that gets into an ODI team just on batting.
    I feel we may have ever so slightly shifted from your original line of thoughts.

  4. Pingback: All time India One Day XV « i3j3Cricket :: A blog for fans of Indian cricket…

  5. little indian: I dislike mindless hand-waves. I invest my faith in hard fact. Such analysis makes the hand-wave a bit stronger and meaningful in my view.

    Having said that, I think one can go overboard with statistics too. The quick-witted Sidhu has often said, “Statistics are like bikinis; what they reveal is suggestive, what they hide is essential!”

    The right path is to adopt a middle ground — a bit of supported subjectivity if you like. For if not, all we end up with is a shouting match where the people who hand-wave the most win…

    I think you may have misunderstood my point on allrounders. I do not believe I said the team needs to be filled with allrounders. There is always a place in my team for straight-out bats (and straight-out bowlers). Dravid is one of them. Zaheer Khan is one of them. We have a dearth of allrounders in Team India and that would, in my view, affect India’s chances.

    — Mohan

  6. Fair enough.
    Although I am not certain what you refer to as mindless hand-wave.

    You did not say
    that the team should be filled with all rounders,
    it was my comment
    that with a proven dearth of all rounders
    we need more players with dual attributes.

    What you have said in your original article
    is the accepted practise,
    what I said was
    discussions of a few questions are being held as taboos,
    and asked when will such questions be raised?

    I did not contradict what you had said,
    I brought forward a different perspective.
    My mistake, it was a wrong choice of blogsites.

  7. Rahul Dravid has out performed Sourav Ganguly in ODI and Test Cricket in this decade.

    Enough said……

  8. Pingback: News in brief: Thursday 8 March 2007 « i3j3Cricket :: A blog for fans of Indian cricket…

  9. For me, Dravid is the best Indian batsman of all times. He has served the Indian cricket selflessly and at crucial times. He has won many matches for India, which so few of the few elite Indian batsaman have done in the last 50 years. I wish Rahul Dravid hits a world score of over 400 in a Test innings and silence his critics.

  10. east or west dravid is everest
    east or west dravid is the best

  11. Righty claimed.Dravid is the best Batsman .He is the real performer who delivers when the situation is worse.
    Great Dravid!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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