Former England off spinner Graeme Swann recently said that Rahul Dravid was one of the toughest opponents that he came across, as he was left feeling like an 11 year old bowler who was not good enough for International Cricket.
The Northampton born off spinner with 255 Test wickets recalled the experience of bowling to him in the summer of 2000, when Dravid went to England to play County Cricket for Kent, albeit for only one season.
“Rahul Dravid was a big one for me; I bowled against him in Kent, and he was unbelievable. I’ve never seen a better player in my life. He would never get out in a county game, and that’s Rahul Dravid, one of the best in the world, and he made me feel like an 11-year-old spinner,” the 41-year-old said in his podcast, the Swanny show.
Dravid went on to play all 16 County matches for Kent that summer, scoring 1221 runs at an average of 55.50 with 2 hundreds. Although Kent finished 6th in the County Championship points table that season, but their fans, to this day, fondly recall the memories of him playing and consider him as one of their own and a benchmark of a professional cricketer.
Despite having a hard time coming up against him that summer, 8 years later, on his debut Test match for England, Graeme Swann picked up the wicket of Rahul Dravid in his first over itself along with the wicket of Gautam Gambhir, as he trapped The Wall in front of the stumps in Chennai.
About that incident, Graeme Swann said, “I got him out, admittedly it was a great ball, but it would not have got Rahul Dravid out usually.”
It was not the first time that the 1998 U19 World Cup winner heaped praise on Dravid. Back in 2011, India visited England for a 4 Test match series. Although India went on to lose every Test match in that tour, Rahul Dravid stood out from the rest of the Indian batsmen, scoring 461 runs averaging 76.83 with the only 3 hundreds by an Indian in that tour.
After the series ended, Swann admitted in an interview with the Sun Newspaper that Dravid was ‘fantastic’. He said, “He played me better than anybody has over the last couple of years by using his feet and the crease so well.”
Swann added that Dravid also showed what a selfless team player he was, “For a man of 38 who has played 150-odd Tests, Dravid was happy to move up from No.3 to open the batting because of injuries. He also kept wicket at Lord’s when M.S. Dhoni brought himself on to bowl.”
He also complimented Dravid on Twitter 3 years later, when the two met at the Nottinghamshire Pre Test dinner, right before the 1st Test between England and India. Dravid went to England as one of the members from the Star Sports commentary team.
“Just finished on stage with Rahul Dravid at the Notts cricket pre test dinner. He could be the nicest man I have ever met #thewall” the off spinner tweeted.