Gautam Gambhir, who played a total of 242 matches for India scoring over 10,000 runs, has revealed the name of a cricketer who he thinks is the most underrated captain and batsman in the history of Indian cricket.
Gambhir was also instrumental in making India win the finals of the T20 World Cup 2007 and 50-over World Cup 2011.
In a recent interaction, Gambhir praised the legendary Rahul Dravid for his excellence and his ability to lead the Indian team.
Dravid was the captain of the Indian team from 2005 when Sourav Ganguly was abruptly dropped from the Indian side. Dravid led the Indian team in the 2007 World Cup, where his team was knocked out in the group stages.
However, the Karnataka lad held the position after the tournament. And it was only after MS Dhoni-led young Indian team won the inaugural edition of the ICC T20 World Cup, that Dravid gave up his captaincy.
“I made my ODI debut under Sourav Ganguly; I made my Test debut under Rahul Dravid. It is so unfortunate that we do not give enough credit for his captaincy as well. We only talk about Sourav Ganguly or MS Dhoni and now about Virat Kohli. But Rahul Dravid has been a fabulous captain for India as well,” Gambhir was quoted as saying during Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
In his illustrious international career, Dravid scored 13,288 runs in 164 Tests, and 10,889 runs in 344 ODIs. Post-retirement, he was the head coach for the India Under-19 and A teams from 2016 to 2019 and is currently the Director of Cricket Operations at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) based in Bengaluru.
Gambhir said that Dravid’s record as a cricketer is underrated as well.
“Even his records, he’s probably the most under-rated cricketer and probably the most under-rated leader as well.
“We won in England, West Indies, we won some 14 or 15 games on the trot. If you look at Dravid as a cricketer, I think if you asked him to open the batting in Test cricket, he did, he batted at No 3, he kept wickets for India, he batted as a finisher, he did everything what Indian cricket asked him or what a captain asked him to do, and that is the kind of role models you want,” Gambhir added.
The southpaw further said that Dravid’s impact on Indian cricket was more than Ganguly and Tendulkar.
“For me, I think he has had a bigger impact. Sourav Ganguly has always had a bigger impact in white-ball cricket because of his flamboyance, but Rahul Dravid overall, in Indian cricket, had a much bigger impact than probably anyone.
“You can actually match his impact to someone like Sachin Tendulkar as well because he played under the shadows of Sachin Tendulkar all his life, but yes, impact wise, probably the same.”
Besides being a prolific batsman, Dravid also effected 85 dismissals in 73 matches as a wicketkeeper from 1999 to 2004. He even holds the world record for taking most catches as a non-wicketkeeper fielder in Test Cricket, having taken 210 catches from 164 matches.
“If you asked him to open the batting in Test cricket, he did, he batted at No.3, he kept wickets for India, he batted as a finisher, he did everything what Indian cricket asked him or what a captain asked him to do, and that is the kind of role models you want,” Gambhir added.