Is he India's best batsman now?

UNIFORMITY is certainly a key factor in the career of a distinguished batsman. This is the factor which makes Rahul Dravid the best batsman as far as Test cricket is concerned. Certainly there is Sachin, but, the massive centuries and double centuries both at home and abroad make Dravid a signature of commitment and patience. He has won and saved matches for India, even to the extent of causing a miracle. Even on the hard wickets abroad, he has proved himself. Probably, his Test career is better than Sachin's. After his introduction as a wicket-keeper batsman in the ODIs, his one-day career record is on a new high.

Tanisha Datta, Kolkata

DRAVID has no matching contemporaries and your cover story is perfectly justified. Ever since I have been following cricket, I have not seen anybody better than Dravid. The assurance that he brings along when he comes to bat, confirms his status. What sets him apart is his consistency and temperament. Every team that he plays against hopes that he makes a mistake somewhere, but he has no apparent weakness. It is sad that he is not getting the recognition that he deserves. The other teams in the world may be praying for Dravid's clones in their teams!

Mohan Ram, Mumbai

IT is still early to claim Rahul Dravid as India's best batsman, but he is unquestionably one of the best. It has taken him a lot of time and perseverance to earn this position. He has improved tremendously ever since he started his career. He cannot be compared to other batsmen as he has a totally different style. His determination and impeccable calm has earned him the names `The Wall' and `Mr. Reliable', etc. His uncanny ability of remaining absolutely composed and having the ever-optimistic mind frame to win in pressure situations is admirable. This quality is something most batsmen lack. He has been a match winner many times, like in the World Cup, and the recent series against Pakistan.

Abhilasha Rao, Chennai

THE problem does not lie in innocently proclaiming, "Rahul is the best." The problem lies in the statement's sacrilegious implication that Sachin Tendulkar, the undisputed god of Indian cricket, is no longer the best. Again, the voice of common sense would question the very logic behind such comparisons. It is foolish to try and figure out which is the most important instrument in an orchestra — the violin, the flute or the clarinet. The charm lies in the impeccably coordinated music that they produce. Therefore, let us not scratch our heads and rattle our brains to see who scores over whom in a particular series. Instead, let us sit back and watch the batting maestros of Indian cricket as they enthrall us with their magical strokeplay.

Adityo Gaine, Mumbai

RAHUL DRAVID is certainly India's best batsman. More so because the question contains the word `now'. One cannot but admire him when one realises that he was able to gather runs and reach big scores consistently not by chance but as a result of sheer hard work, patience, concentration and above all commitment to the cause of the team and the country. Is he the most technically sound batsman? The answer is no. Best timer of the ball? No. Most aggressive? No. Most aesthetic? No. Such negatives can go on and on. But his internal attitude which has a bearing on his external performance and his principles make him the No. 1.

Albert Joseph, Mysore

`THE WALL' Rahul Dravid is the supreme Indian batsman at the moment. In the past four years he has been the most successful, reliable and dependable player. He is the most consistent batsman in the Indian team as he alone can cope with the game in quick time with his power of concentration, craft and commitment. He is an intense cricketer and he deserves all the accolades. His greatest strength is his coolness under pressure. He has wonderful selection of shots. He is real class.

Syed Sulfikar Ali, Palakkad

WITHOUT any doubt as far as Indian batsmen are concerned, Rahul Dravid is the best. Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the world's no.1, may be of better class than him or Virender Sehwag may have a triple century to his name, but when it comes to application Rahul Dravid `ka jawab nahin'.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

IT is quite difficult to understand why you are asking the question — Is Rahul Dravid India's best batsman now? We still hesitate to accept him as the best. No doubt he is a good batsman, but we Indians cannot put any batsman ahead of Sachin Tendulkar. We spend a lot of time talking about Tendulkar and thus dwarfing Dravid's efforts. But his recent performances should open the eyes of the people. In India it's very difficult to make name and fame especially when greats like Tendulkar are around. Rahul Dravid is not merely India's most dependable but most valuable batsman too. The time has come to recognise him for he is the pivot around which the Indian batting revolves.

Rajesh Kanna, Madurai

A batsman cannot be classified as best by just one big show. His performance should not only be consistent but also come under tough circumstances. The opponent's strength should also be taken into account. Rahul has the capacity to take enormous load — batsman, wicket-keeper, stand in captain. He is a team man always ready to help others. One without ego and not a showy type. He is a combination of both Sunil Gavaskar and G.R.Visvanath.

M.Ghouse, Chennai

RAHUL DRAVID, the best batsman in the Australian and Pakistan series, looks to be the best Indian batsman presently. Sachin Tendulkar has always been the top contender, but now we have a talented bunch of youngsters, who are all doing well. Hence it is getting tougher at the top. Yet a lot many factors point to Rahul Dravid as the right contender.

Navneeth Srinivasan, Chennai

DRAVID is certainly the best batsman in Indian cricket team at present and also one of the best in the world on current form. He is surely a batsman to look out for when the team is in crisis and his innings in Adelaide and Rawalpindi show how indispensable Rahul Dravid is. He has scored more double centuries than any other Indian batsman past or present and has the highest batting average overseas in the world. I am a die-hard fan of Sachin Tendulkar and he is surely one of the best batsmen of all time but as far as current form is concerned Rahul Dravid is the best.

Pabitra Behera, Bhubaneshwar

THE answer to your question is surely in the affirmative. If one looks at his as well as the other top performers in the last five years, Dravid has showed out on almost all occasions. He has an impeccable record both at home and abroad. Be it England, Australia or Pakistan he gives his best. He may not be an explosive kind but he is a stayer.

C. Parakram, Pune

MY answer is an emphatic YES and this is based on Dravid's performance in the past 3-4 years both at home and abroad and also in Tests and ODI's. Rahul has played key roles in India's victories over Sri Lanka at Kandy in 2001, against England at Headingley in 2002, against the Aussies at Adelaide in 2003 and more recently against Pakistan at Rawalpindi. Dravid has excelled on the low turning tracks of the sub-continent, on the seaming tracks of England and also on the bouncy tracks of Australia and South Africa.

K. Paul Abraham, Kottayam

DRAVID is the fortress on which the Indian arsenal depends. He is `The Wall' who frustrates all the bowlers. Previously all his performances were overshadowded by the efforts of his team-mates. But the vice-captain has always given his best. Over the years he has matured and played eminent roles.

M. R. Praveen, Shimoga

ANY team will love to have someone who can walk the talk of leading by personal example as Dravid does. It is the greatest fortune that the present Indian line up has quite a few players (and not just specialists) who portray similar professional skills, qualities and attitude that Rahul Dravid does. Being good after all need not be mutually exclusive. Hence it will be a folly to play the numbers game and try to pick the First Among Equals. It will perhaps be an insult to all that Rahul Dravid strives to stand for. Surely he and the Indian team deserve better than that — at least from those of us who wish the team well.

Dr. Girish Karandikar, Indore

IN my opinion, Rahul Dravid is India's best batsman now. The glamour of Tendulkar has blinded us from noticing the others achievements, especially Dravid. It is indeed a treat to watch Dravid in form. Many could not take their eyes off the TV during the second and third day's play of the Rawalpindi Test. The calm and controlled player, who abides by every rule in the book, has also proven to be a good supporter of anyone he plays with. Needless to say, he has also established himself as a successful captain who leads from the front.

Priya Cage, Chennai

DRAVID'S coming of age is one of the water-sheds in Indian cricket. He has come full bloom at the time Indian cricket has an embarrassment of riches. A decade ago, everything revolved around Tendulkar, who lent glamour and romance to new age cricket, when there were other occasional sparks of talent but no flares. To sustain the same tempo over one and half decades is difficult, even for the genius of Sachin. Dravid's calibre as a batsman is not compromised. Assuming Sachin plays for himself, he still remains the jewel in the crown.

H. S. Patra, Chennai

DRAVID is India's best batsman and is among the top three in the world. His statistics say it all. He is in peak form, but I believe his best is yet to come. Watch out Australia and South Africa, you have to go through "THE WALL" if you want to win. He has done a tremendous job for India in the last few years. His overseas record is outstanding. He has supported his captain and team at times.

Raja Halaharivi, San Jose, USA

DRAVID is essentially a classicist. He belongs to the good old world of classical batting, in which the ancient virtues of technique, perseverance and application are supreme. And of course we must talk about the energy, which he shows while batting for his long and patient innings. He has an intellectual approach to batting, in which skill and refinement come from sticking to grammar. This is Rahul Dravid. His last four years performance shows that at present he is the best batsman of India.

Rajarshi Ghosh, Kolkata

IF any object has to lean on something it is the wall. Similarly with our team if not for Dravid, the team will fall flat. Undoubtedly Rahul is the best batsman in the Indian team. He is consistent, reliable and above all plays for the sake of the team and is not after records.

B.V.N Rajasekhar, Hyderabad

THE current Indian batting revolves around Rahul Dravid and there are no second thoughts about the fact that he is the best batsman for India now. In fact, I would go to the extent of saying that he is already one of the top five Indian batsmen ever. His performances in the past few years have been nothing less than exceptional and if you add his level of commitment to the team's cause, this Indian team owes a lot to his recent successes.

Rama Mohana R. Turaga, Atlanta

THIS question has dawned pretty late. Dravid has been India's best batsman for a long time. Even during the period when Sachin was dominating, it was Rahul who was the lynchpin of our batting. He was the one who rescued India with his match-saving innings. The greatness of any player isn't measured just by the amount of runs he scores, or the way he gets them. The capability of an individual to rise to the occasion and play when the chips are down — this is the true barometer of a player's calibre. No player has performed more for the team cause than Rahul Dravid.

Sridhar Raman, Bangalore

IN my opinion, Rahul Dravid is the best. What makes him so? His consistency. Then his ability to score big. The hallmark of his batting is his ability to push the score. And some of his runs have come at difficult times and under hard conditions. When the going gets tough, Dravid gets going.

Roopak Selvanathan, Pondicherry

CERTAINLY Dravid is the best batsman considering the `now' factor. In the past, Gavaskar, Visvanath and Tendulkar dominated the batting scene, but now it is Dravid doing the utmost. Going by statistics we see that he is among the Indian batsmen to score centuries in both the innings. He is the first Indian to score four Test centuries in succession. The first Indian to score five Test double centuries. The best overseas player India has ever produced. All these suggest that he is not only the best batsman but also an all time great.

Sritharan Prabhu, Mayiladuthurai

I BELIEVE Dravid is nearing the gate of greatness. He has been instrumental in India winning Tests overseas. Whenever he scores "huge" tons, India has avoided defeat if not won. The same cannot be said of others in the team. All the plus points are in favour of Dravid to make him the best.

S. Thyagarjan, Pune

IN contemporary cricket, one force reckoned to be a dormant volcano is erupting now. It's Rahul Dravid. A batsman cool in crisis, known for his concentration, and one who loves to dominate the opposition by his solid batting. Dravid's batting can be trusted as he is consistent. And hence the vote goes to him. He is definitely the best.

Samuel George Matthan, Chennai

I FIRMLY believe that Rahul Dravid is the best batsman in India now and has been so for quite some time. I admit that I am an ardent fan of Dravid, but it is not from mere idolatry that I am saying so. Just consider India's Test wins. Dravid has been instrumental in almost all.

M. Sriganesh, Vellore

RAHUL DRAVID is at his batting zenith. This disciplined cricketer who is known for his great consistency averages a rollicking 58.09 in Tests at present which shows his dedication to cricket. His every innings is beautifully constructed like an architect. When the tables are turned on India he has stepped forward to do the crisis job. He is known for his strategy and his analysis is superb which according to him is the main thing in the game.

Swathi, Chennai

DRAVID is the cr�me de la cr�me of Indian batting. He is a gladiator who has fought many battles. His timing is immaculate, defence solid and his shot execution is a connoisseur's delight. Above all these he ranks among the contemporary greats of the world. So he is easily the best batsman of India.

M. Kuppuraj, Chennai

FOR Rahul Dravid, the biggest passion in his life is of course occupying the crease and tormenting the opposition. There are not many players who perform to potential in the field they pursue. But Rahul is quite hot and spicy for the bowlers. He is a nightmare for the bowlers and is rightly called `The Wall' of India. He can also be called as the master of the copy book style. His batting is an art of concentration and technique.

S. S. Vismayam, Palakkad