He's not the most famous of Indian cricketers that title goes to Sachin Tendulkar, the flashy poster boy of the nation's favorite game, with contract endorsements and superlatives draped liked garlands around his neck. But more often than not, the Indian cricket team's success lies on the shoulders of Rahul Dravid, a quiet and intelligent batsman from Bangalore. On a squad of highly-paid superstars whom many fans accuse of punching below their weight, Dravid is India's Mr. Consistency. The 34-year-old's sense of timing and elegant stroke play is matched only by the best. But it is his reliability that has earned him the nickname "The Wall": his batting average of nearly 60 puts him among the top hitters of all time, while his average in overseas matches during which those of his teammates frequently tail off has remained constant. Countless times when the India side appeared to wither around him, Dravid has stood firm, beginning with a stoic performance during his test-match debut against England in 1996. Named captain in 2005, Dravid now must teach the next generation of players what Indian cricket lacks most: consistency.
By Ishaan Tharoor