The euphoria over India’s series win in the West Indies after 35 years masks the fact that it was made entirely possible by Rahul Dravid‘s masterful batting in the series in general (496 runs from four Tests) and in the final Test (81 and 68) in Kingston in particular. Dravid now has a 66.64 average in away-matches, much higher than Sunil Gavaskar‘s 52.11 and Sachin Tendulkar‘s 55.52.
Statistics aren’t everything and Test cricket is not always about winning, but a simple search on cricinfo throws up something interesting. Dravid has an average of 94.93 in India’s 13 away-wins since his 1996 debut and an average of 69.46 in 20 home-wins. The corresponding numbers for Sachin are 108.7 in 10 away-wins and 54.02 in 31 home-wins. In contrast, Gavaskar has an average of 50.40 in 9 away-wins and 39.78 in 14 home-wins; and G.R. Viswanath has an average of 53.3 in 6 away-wins and 48 in 14 home-wins.
Question: As a twosome, have Dravid and Sachin served India better than Gavaskar and Viswanath, especially in bringing glory and honour? Or are their higher numbers merely a reflection of the kind of opposition they have faced and the better technology at their disposal? Or will you just cop out and say comparisons are odious, that it isn’t fair to compare players of different eras; that we ignore the role played by our bowlers in making victory possible?