20th June is forever going to be an epic day in the Indian cricket history. Not often you hear a day being as special as producing three legends of the game. These 3 great cricketers are Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli and Sourav Ganguly. Time to have a little flashback and track their career progressions alongside in this article.
Let’s start with current Indian captain and the best batsman in all three formats – Virat Kohli who made his Test debut on this day in 2011. However, his debut wasn’t the one to remember as he could only manage to score 19 runs in 2 innings of that test and got dismissed by Fidel Edwards both of times but his career progression since then has been remarkable.
Kohli was then dropped from the Indian team after his poor debut series but then again got picked for Australia series where he was the top scorer for India in the presence of Sachin, Dravid and VVS Laxman after having a slow start to the series. That series gave a massive thrust to Kohli’s struggling Test career and he then just had to let capabilities take over.
After a successful South Africa and New Zealand tour, the setback came in England in 2014 where the best limited overs batsman of that time could only manage to score 134 runs in the entire series. Once again, it was the tour of Australia which gave his career a much required push and since then he has never looked before and put up some incredible performances in his Test journey.
Some of the best Kohli’s Test match performances involve 119 against South Africa in 2013, 141 in Adelaide in 2014, 49* vs England in Rajkot on 5th day at a turning pitch to save the Test in 2016, 235 against same opposition in the same series in Mumbai, 54 & 48 against South Africa in Johannesburg on a literally unplayable pitch, 149 against England in Edgbaston where he had to prove his mettle in English conditions after failing badly in 2014, 123 against Australia in Perth on a spicy wicket against one of the finest attacks in the world.
The best thing about these performances are they don’t look very massive scores to be called an ‘ incredible ‘ performance. These are just simple 50s & 100s barring a 235 but they are of such high pedigree that you probably won’t see better knocks than them in those conditions. Also, a lot of them came in the same year, i.e, 2018 which by data, has been the toughest year for batting in Test match cricket in a long time. For a batsman, batting in 2018 was like walking on a burning coal bare footed and having 3 of his top 7 performances in the same year goes to show that Kohli was immune to all this heat as he just not walked at it, the ease at which he scored those runs, he literally slept at the burning coal.
The bloke from Delhi who was considered a limited overs specialist and was once discarded by the experts thinking he doesn’t belong in Test cricket now has the most number of Test 100s and 200s among his contemporary batsmen. When it comes to 200s, he has 7 of them which is the most by any Indian while he has 27 Test 100s which is the most among any active batsman at the moment.
Shifting our focus from Virat Kohli to another Indian great, Rahul Dravid who also made his Test debut on this very same day but 24 years ago. His debut was a more iconic one as it was at Lords. Dravid scored 95 on his debut and missed an opportunity to score a 100 on Lords, that too on debut by just 5 runs but he didn’t miss too many opportunities to bat India out of trouble throughout his Test career.
Some of Dravid’s finest innings include 233 in Adelaide where he played a memorable square cut to give India a famous win on a foreign soil. He also scored 270 against Pakistan at Rawalpindi which is his highest Test score. Before Kohli, it was Dravid who had most 200s (5) for India in Test cricket. In his 16 years old Test career, Dravid scored 13288 runs in 164 Tests making him the second highest run scorer in Test cricket for India.
Sourav Ganguly made his debut in the same match in which Dravid made his debut and while Dravid missed his 100 by only 5 runs, Ganguly didn’t. He scored 131 runs after playing over 300 balls and made his debut as memorable as his cricket career for India. Ganguly played 113 Tests and it was his leadership skills which is more talked about compared to his batting.
Before Dhoni and later Kohli surpassed his record, Ganguly was India’s most successful Test captain, especially away from home. India went to Australia & England and drew the series on both occasions under his leadership. This prince of Kolkata also has over 7000 runs to his name in this format and considering the fact that he used to bat at 5 or 6, it is a pretty good record.