Middle order batsman and test veteran Rahul Dravid is due for some runs. He has had a poor run in 2010, averaging just 34.60, a steep drop from his usually high standards. Will he regain form in this series against New Zealand? It seems like the perfect opportunity. After all, a beleaguered New Zealand side, fresh from its 0-4 drubbing against Bangladesh, has had to regroup. There are no stand-outs among their run-of-the-mill bowlers. Dravid could take advantage of the fact.
In January this year, Dravid took a tumble at Mirpur from a Shahadat Hossain bouncer and landed up at a Dhaka hopsital to recuperate from his wound. It might have been more than a phsyical blow, perhaps a psychological one, as that incident seemed to signal a decline of sorts for him.
In the nine outings since that knock, Dravid had notched up just one fifty in the first test against Australia. He has been dismissed by left-arm speedsters on more than one occasion, going after deliveries well outside the off stump. He has looked impressive while playing on the front foot, but more often than not, that back foot remains awkwardly grounded causing him to play away from his body. Dravid had remained mum on this observation while many commentators have paid it no mind either.
Dravid is however, determined to get back in the best of knick. While the shutterbugs were craned to catch glimpses of Tendulkar, Dravid returned to the nets for an extra session against Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan. Some deliveries swung past his outer edge while he tentatively jabbed at others. No doubt, his fans will hope that things will fall into place for him as he comes out to bat in the first test against New Zealand at Motera.
There's another batsman who may be feeling the heat more than Dravid and that is Gautam Gambhir. His average is worse - just 27 from 6 games. He has been struck with injuries and been hopping in and out of the side. M Vijay filled in nicely in his absence. So will Gambhir bide his time before India leaves for what promises to be a fruitful tour of South Africa? Or will David and Gambhir reverse their flagging form in the upcoming series against New Zealand itself? We will find out on Thursday.