Rahul Dravid has faced most deliveries in test cricket's history. A staggering 29,125 before he resumed the self-flagellation in England and Australia.
And by the time he was sick with test cricket, Dravid had faced 31,258 deliveries, to go with the 15,284 in ODIs and 1369 in T20s.
Now -- and here I want you to follow closely-- if you quickly look around to make sure none is watching you and shrewdly put them together, Dravid has faced 47,911 deliveries.
For argument’s sake, let's assume every delivery took one minute each.
After all the sightscreen has to be moved; the batsman has to make sure the rival skipper has not sneaked in an extra fielder; the non-striker has to conclude his chit-chat with the mid-on fielder wherein both inquire about the female members in each other’s family and so on.
Also, the ball has to be licked, rubbed, roughened, scratched and its seam assaulted -– with nail, both human and iron, bottle-openers and even Afridi's teeth -– before the bowler starts his run up.
And if Shoaib Akhtar is the bowler, a batsman can afford a quick power nap without risking oversleeping as the Pakistani's grunt would wake him up just in time to face the ball.
You can safely say Dravid has spent an estimated 47,911 minutes waiting for deliveries.
Any stout calculator will tell you that’s slightly less than 800 hours or nearly 34 days.
To give you an idea, a female White Stork which has just laid a clutch of eggs would rush back expecting them to hatch after she had watched all deliveries aimed at Dravid at one go.
Now it takes a lot of patience to do that and I’m not talking about a female White Stork’s egg laying.
Even his staunchest detractor would admit Dravid has been patient.
In fact so patient that he was promptly drawn to a doctor who became his better half. Three-quarters, if you fuss.
So if Dravid looked like cricket's Methuselah, you know why.
He faced 47,911 deliveries, mind you. And that excludes his wife's two.
(P.S. This is a mildly-tweaked reproduction of a July 20, 2011 post)