A batsman for all seasons, Rahul Dravid was one of the few Indian players who excelled in English conditions, including a fruitful county stint with Kent in 2000, where he made Graeme Swann feel like “an 11-year-old” off-spinner.
Speaking on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast, Swann, who was joined by current England off-spinner Dom Bess for the episode, recalled how different the experience can be when bowling to the same batsman at the county and international level.
“When you play Test, you think it is a magical game and you have to bowl magical balls every ball. You feel that these players are better than you. It’s when you later realise that the ball is the same size, the pitch is the same [as county cricket]. It’s all in the head”
“Rahul Dravid was the big one for me. I bowled against him in Kent, and he was unbelievable. I have never seen a better player in my life,” Swann said. “Then I played him in a Test match, and I got him, admittedly it was a great ball, but it would not have got Rahul Dravid out usually.”
In Tests, Swann dismissed Dravid thrice in six games — twice during England’s tour to India in 2008 – his debut series, and once during India’s visit in 2011.
“He would never get out in a county game, and that’s Rahul Dravid, one of the best in the world. You realise he is playing the situation, not the 11-year-old off-spinner, he made me feel like an 11-year-old spinner anyway!”