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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Interviews

'The goal is to win the series in SA'
Subhash Rajta, Hindustan Times
Durban, January 01, 2011
First Published: 00:18 IST(1/1/2011)
Last Updated: 00:25 IST(1/1/2011)

Indian batsmen have always been regarded as vulnerable against genuine pace on seaming and bouncy tracks. Notwithstanding their individual and collective brilliance in the last decade, they have not been unable to shake off that impression. The Durban win was achieved by the enterprise of Indian bowlers with only VVS Laxman among the established batsmen making a difference.

We put the question to Rahul Dravid, who has a terrific overseas record and has been the architect of some of the famous wins abroad.

Is it time to stop questioning the Indian batsmen's ability to handle overseas conditions?
This question will perhaps never be answered. People will always say Indian batsmen are not good against fast bowling, or at least not that good. Just like we say foreign batsmen aren't good against spin bowling. Which, to my mind, is not true as players travel a lot these days and are exposed to all sorts of conditions. Still I think the question will never be laid to rest.

Nevertheless, the team has the confidence we could do well in all conditions and that's what we have proved in the last ten years.

What gives this team the confidence to do well in all conditions?
The knowledge of having done it before makes a lot of difference. We've been winning matches abroad for 10 years now, and the odd series here and there.

So there's a lot of confidence in the team that we can do well even if we are given hard and green tops.

Besides, youngsters have a lot more exposure to playing in foreign conditions than we had at their stage. Young boys come into the team having already played junior cricket in these conditions. That makes a big difference to how they approach these matches.

What's the team expecting for the decider in Cape Town?
It really doesn't matter what conditions we face at Cape Town. The critical thing is to play well, no matter what the conditions are. We are just not worried about what we get there.

The beauty of this team is we have the balance to do well in all conditions. We have quick bowlers to exploit seaming conditions.

If there's some turn, Harbhajan can use it and then we have top seven batsmen to score runs in any conditions. So we are just not worried and we back ourselves to do well.

India go into the New Year as the No 1 ranked team for the second successive year? How satisfying is that?
The No 1 ranking is made out to be a big thing, but I am not too concerned about it. I don't think we need to go out and try and justify this ranking and prove every time we are No 1.

What we can try and do is win every series we can. The goal is actually to win a series. I would rather be No 5 in ranking and win a series in South Africa than be No 1 and lose here. If we play well and win the series, ranking will take care of itself.

Having taken the 200th catch must have been satisfying?
It's a nice feeling, but it's also a reflection of the fact I've played in an era when India's bowling has been really strong.

No doubt I put in a lot of hard work to get better with my catches, but I could have taken catches only if someone had created the opportunity.

I have taken more than 50 catches off both Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. It has been a pleasure to stand in the slips for them, and same with Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath.


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