Ricky Ponting (left) Jacques Kallis (centre) and Rahul Dravid conquered the cricketing world with the willow © Getty Images
Ricky Ponting (left), Jacques Kallis (centre) and Rahul Dravid conquered the cricketing world with the willow © Getty Images

Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting, and Jacques Kallis had almost parallel careers that ended within two years of each other. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at three eerily similar careers.

Ricky Ponting had made his Test debut on December 8, 1995. Jacques Kallis had arrived six days later. It took Rahul Dravid six more months to be launched. They did not leave in the same sequence. Dravid went first, followed by Ponting, while Kallis was the last to quit.

The Trinity conquered the cricket world with their willow in style on either side of the millennium. Seldom has the world seen three careers that have moved so close to each other and have culminated in results this identical.

  M   I NO     R Ave

100s

50s

Ricky Ponting

168

287

29

13,378

51.85

41

62

Jacques Kallis

166

280

40

13,289

55.37

45

58

Rahul Dravid

164

286

32

13,288

52.31

36

63

Their careers have, indeed, been so identical that they can easily be termed the Millennium Triplets of cricket. Below is a list representing how their careers have progressed in terms of Tests: they seemed to have progressed almost identically over the years.

The Millennium Triplets: Runs after every Test

Dravid and Ponting had, of course, identical starts, scoring 95 and 96 in their debut innings respectively. Kallis had scored a solitary run. However, as time moved on, there was little to choose between the three men in terms of batting average. Perhaps Kallis chose to retire at the same time while the other two dragged their career by a series or so, resulting in a dip in batting average.

The Millennium Triplets: Average after every Test

1.2

If we plot a dateline, once again the three careers coincide almost exactly.

The Millennium Triplets: The runs timeline against date

1.3

However, if we plot the averages according to time, there are a few interesting observations:

-          Dravid had an easy lead over the other two. Though his average fell below the 50-mark during his first slump in             2000 (which was when Ponting had managed to catch up with him) he soon regained form and steered ahead               of the other two.

-          Roughly around 2004 Ponting raced towards the 55-mark (Dravid was already there) with Kallis in hot pursuit.

-          During a phase in early 2006 all three men were at their peaks with all of them averaging over 57.

-          Ponting’s form continued till he reached almost 60 in 2007-08. At this stage Kallis had also gone past the 58-                 mark while Dravid’s form was on the wane though he was still above the 55-mark.

-          Both Dravid’s and Ponting’s averages continued to deteriorate till they found stability in a range between 52.50             and 53.50. Towards the ends of their careers both underwent dips, and finished close to the 52-mark.

-          Kallis maintained the 57-mark till 2012 but thereafter went through a slight slump. When he eventually quit his             average was on the wane, but he still managed to finish with an average of over 55, something which had                         eluded the other two.

The Millennium Triplets: The average timeline against date

1.4