Dravid, who had established himself as a middle-order rock in India’s one-day team by then, had also risen to be the side’s vice-captain, while also taking up a makeshift wicketkeeper role. Months after India’s run to the final of the 2003 World Cup, Dravid was hoping to build on his form while not playing “day-in, day-out”, before he was suggested to Scotland as an overseas professional by John Wright, India’s head coach at that point.
Newly married, Dravid travelled with his wife for an “extended honeymoon”, with the £45,000 contract reportedly been funded by NRIs by raising money through dinners and other events. The contract saw him play 11 one-dayers (plus one tour game against Pakistan) across three months in the second division of the National Cricket League.
Playing under Craig Wright, Dravid’s debut was against Hampshire, with his 41-ball 25 being overshadowed by Robin Smith’s 82 in Scotland’s six-wicket loss. It was followed by a second-ball duck against the touring Pakistan side.
Dravid followed it with a fine century in the next game against Somerset, scoring 120 off just 97 balls in the side’s one-wicket loss. Over the next few games, he blew hot and cold, his unbeaten 129 against Nottinghamshire lying in between two single-digit scores. After a month-long break, he was back in full flow, posting 69 against Sussex, 81 against Hampshire and a 114 against Northamptonshire, his third century of the season. His stint ended with a score of 1, with Scotland losing all but one of their 12 matches.
More than the runs though, it was the impact Dravid had on a young and inexperienced Scotland side that served them for years to come. He used to bat with a radio headset on, giving coaches and players an insight into the finer details of his batting. Tony Judd, the national coach, later said that the impact he had on the players on and off the field was “priceless”.
Overall, Dravid played 11 games in the National Cricket League, scoring 600 runs at 66.66 with three centuries and two fifties and a strike-rate of 92.73.
Right after the Scotland stint, Dravid went on to have a brilliant 2003/04 international season, averaging 95.46 in Tests with a best of 270, while also scoring seven fifties in 22 ODIs at an average of 41.77.
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