Steve Waugh, one of the all-time great Australian players and a terrific captain, has lauded former India captain Rahul Dravid, calling him as important as Sachin Tendulkar to the Indian team during his playing days.
Waugh was speaking in an interview with Cricket Australia, also said that Dravid and Tendulkar formed the heart of the India batting line up which according to him was the best to date.
"He was unflappable, fierce concentration, there was no point in trying to ruffle his feathers because you couldn't do it. He was the glue who held them all together and the one banker they had in the side. I knew he was going to score runs, I knew he could occupy the crease and he could repel quality bowling which quality players can do.
If he stepped up the gear he could play shots as good as anyone, he was a world-class player and equally hard to overcome as Tendulkar was,” Waugh praised Dravid.
Dravid had made his Test debut in 1996 against England at Lord’s and went onto play 164 Tests and 344 ODIs for India till 2012. He made 13288 Test runs at an average of 52.31 and 36 centuries to his name; while in ODIs, he made 10889 runs at an average of 39.16 with 12 centuries to his name. He also played one T20I match, making 31 runs in it.
"His concentration and defense was impregnable when he wants to be and he had that fierce competitive attitude too, the big games really excited him, that's when he played his best. Once he got in, it was so hard. Obviously, the most famous (innings of Dravid) is the Kolkata win, he and Laxman batted all day. Pretty much turned the Test around. That was an unwinnable Test match,” Waugh recalled Dravid’s 180 in the infamous 2001 Kolkata Test.
"He was as important to the Indian side as was Sachin Tendulkar. Those guys formed the heart of what was probably India’s best batting lineup," Steve Waugh said in a video posted by Cricket Australia.
Rahul Dravid turned to coaching after his retirement and has coached the India U19 team to the 2018 Youth World Cup win and is currently the head of the NCA in Bengaluru.