We aren’t saying either of them was a lesser player than the other, but for many Rahul Dravid remains a bigger role model than Sachin Tendulkar. If you go by stats in terms of runs scored and centuries made, Tendulkar scores a march over Rahul. We’re talking about only Tests here for the sake of a healthy argument.
There are certain areas where Rahul Dravid has far better stats in the longest format of the game. For example, against an arch rival like Pakistan, Rahul averages 53.73, while Tendulkar averages 42.28. Even against England, Rahul has a better average than Sachin’s. You see when it came to soaking up the pressure, Rahul had a bigger responsibility than Sachin’s since he usually batted at No. 3 – a position reserved for the team’s most dependable batsman.
Astonishingly, even though Sachin has played 36 more matches than Rahul, the latter trumps him in terms of balls faced. While Sachin has faced 29,437 balls, Rahul has faced 31,258. In Test cricket, grit and gumption are admirable values that need to be appreciated. We’ve often seen Rahul Dravid carry the bat in numerous occasions, and form some great partnerships with the lower order.
Probably the biggest telling factor is that Rahul has a better average than Sachin in Tests that India won. While Rahul averages around 65, Sachin averages around 61. Also, Rahul Dravid has never won a MoTM award in Test cricket when India have lost, while Sachin has won it thrice.
The difference may appear marginal, but when you see the love that Sachin got instead of Rahul, you can’t help but feel a little pinch. Rahul was the silent warrior, getting his runs quickly, while Sachin was a flamboyant player capable of hitting shots with a superhuman degree of finesse.
In his book, Numbers Do Lie, Aakash Chopra argues why Rahul Dravid was a more impact player than Sachin. “Rahul absorbed more pressure because batting at No 3 and No 4 are two different things. So Rahul was invariably batting at 10 for one and had Viru (Virender Sehwag) for company. By the time Sachin came in it’s just that the pressure was not the same all the time. Also, Rahul’s overseas performances have been the clincher,” he wrote.
All said and done, we know that both players are good friends and close teammates, otherwise they wouldn’t have formed the many memorable partnerships that they did.