India batting legend Rahul Dravid reckons it would have been difficult for him to survive in modern day cricket going by the way he used to bat during his playing days. Dravid was known for his airtight defense and ability to occupy the crease for long periods as he blunted the bowling attack, end route to becoming on the finest Test batsman of his generation. Also Read - MS Dhoni Hasn't Given Enough Quality Players Like Sourav Ganguly Gave to Indian Cricket: Gautam Gambhir
However, Dravid observes that the batting strike-rates today has zoomed to a different level but he doesn’t mind being termed as a defensive batsman. Also Read - ICC World Test Championship Points Table Latest Update: West Indies Record First Win And Move Ahead of South Africa
“If it meant occupying the crease for a long time or tiring the bowlers out or blunting out the new ball in difficult conditions so that it’s easier to play later, I did it,” Dravid told ESPNcricinfo. “I saw that as my job and took great pride in it…That doesn’t mean I didn’t want to bat like Virender Sehwag and hit those shots but may be my talent were different. My talent was determination and concentration and I worked on that.” Also Read - Virat Kohli's Lockdown Look Goes Viral on Social Space | SEE PICS
“Of course I wouldn’t have survived today if I batted the way I did in my days. Look at the strike rates today. While my strike rate in ODI cricket weren’t up to the level of Sachin’s or Viru’s but that’s the level that we played at back then,” he added.
Dravid scored over 24,000 runs across formats during his career including 48 centuries and 146 fifties. In Tests, his strike-rate was 42.51 while in ODIs it vastly improved to 71.23.
The 47-year-old feels that Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have ringed in a new paradigm in ODI cricket.
“Obviously I can’t compare myself to Kohli or Rohit Sharma because they have blown the ODI paradigm to an all new level. But to be fair I grew up wanting to be a Test player,” he said.
While Dravid, the current director of National Cricket Academy, feels that the value of defensive cricket is decreasing but it’s still relevant.
“I think the value is decreasing but you still need to be able to defend your wicket. See, today don’t really need to be a Test cricketer to make a living. You can make a career in T-20 or ODI and easily survive without a defensive technique,” he said.
Dravid said during his time playing Test cricket was necessary to make a living but now, with the advent of T20s, players have options.
“A generation ago, you had to be a Test cricketer to make a living. Many players today have a good defense technique whether it’s Kohli, (Kane) Williamson or (Steve) Smith. Defensive technique is meant to help you survive or play out those difficult periods of the game … And the very best players of Test cricket are be able to do that,” he said.
Test cricket, Dravid says, continues to be the toughest format.
“… if you’re talking about pressure as a whole, the fact is that you have to play for five days in a Test Match. There is no running away from that. In any other format you can get away, but in a Test Match you go out and bat, then you watch you team bat then you watch the opposition bat and you have a lot of time to think. So I think pressure in a Test match is at a different level,” he explained.
However, he doesn’t feel that Test cricket is losing its value and endorsements from the likes of Kohli is a great thing.
“One of the great things for India is that Virat Kohli values Test Cricket. He is always talking about it … and I think that’s a great role model for our young cricketers. I work with a lot of younger players. And when they start off their heroes are Kohli or Kane Williamson or Smith. They want to play all the formats of the game,” he said.
“But some of the less talented or less skillful players realise that its difficult to break into a team with Kohli or Pujara or (Ajinkya) Rahane. But they know that if they practice their white ball cricket, they can definitely get into an IPL team and make a living,” he added.