Masters of the game: Rahul Dravid (right) and Sachin Tendulkar. Image Credit: AP, AFP

Dubai: The verdict is likely to stir up a favourite debate among the Indian cricket fans again - a poll conducted by Wisden India saw Rahul Dravid edging out the Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar, as the ‘finest Indian batsman in Test cricket’ in the last 50 years.

A total of 11,400 fans took part in the poll that saw David ending up with 52% votes while Tendulkar got 48%. The Wall, as Dravid is known among his fans, was trailing Tendulkar till Tuesday afternoon but much in keeping with his batting philosophy of ‘slow and steady wins the race,’ Dravid eventually prevailed.

The likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Virat Kohli were also included in the poll in the earlier stages. While Tendulkar saw off Kohli, Dravid got the better of Gavskar to find a place in the final.

Sunil Gavaskar

A third-place playoff was also held between Kohli and Gavaskar where the legendary opening batsman pipped the current Indian captain at the No.4 spot to claim the third place himself.

The quartet of Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Dravid and Kohli have their special place in the longest format of the game - maintaining the great legacy of batsmanship over the decades. If Gavaskar consolidated his position as ‘Mr Cricket’ ever since he made a phenomenal debut against the awesome West Indies in 1971, the responsibility of Indian batting rested squarely on his shoulders across the ‘70s and ‘80s till he retired in 1988. The original ‘Little Master,’ Gavaskar was also the first batsman in the history of the sport to have crossed the 10,000-run mark.

Tendulkar, whose longevity as an international cricketer of 24 years and holder of all possible batting records, puts him at a pedestal which has earned him the sobriquet of the ‘God of Cricket.’ He is still the batsman with the most number of Test runs (15,921) to his name, but Dravid’s contribution to the team cause - not to speak of an enviable record overseas, always had a special place in the hearts of afficionados.

Virat Kohli

Kohli, now 31, still has a lot of time left in his career, and could be the man to break some of the biggest cricketing records by the time he hangs up his boots.

Incidentally, it may be worthwhile to mention that a member of the ‘Fab Four,’ VVS Laxman has another rare honour from the Wisden. His epic 281 against Steve Waugh’s Australia during the 2001 Test series at the Eden Gardens was rated as the No.1 Test innings of the 2000s.

Player    Matches    Runs    Average

Rahul Dravid 164        13288    52.31

Sachin Tendulkar 200 15921    53.78

Sunil Gavaskar 125    10122    51.12

Virat Kohli        86      7240     53.62