15 years, 12k runs, Dravid still nervous | cricket | Hindustan Times
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15 years, 12k runs, Dravid still nervous

The frenetic pace of international cricket increasingly shows that ageing stalwarts have to constantly rediscover themselves to stay in the race with younger players. N Ananthanarayanan reports.

cricket Updated: Jun 19, 2011 00:24 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

The frenetic pace of international cricket increasingly shows that ageing stalwarts have to constantly rediscover themselves to stay in the race with younger players.

While Australia furiously debates the Simon Katich controversy, India have risen to the No. 1 ranking, thanks to the calmer atmosphere in the team in the last four years and the presence of players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.

While Tendulkar continues to set his own standards, Dravid found the last tour to South Africa testing his resolve to the limit in the final phase of his illustrious career after the runs dried up against a potent bowling attack. After a six-month break, the 38-year-old batsman is now hoping to find a fresh resolve, starting with the Test series against West Indies, which will be followed by the tour to England.

A keen student of the game that he’s, Dravid used his first meeting with coach Duncan Fletcher at the Sabina Park nets on Friday to talk about finer points of batting.

Dravid was slightly nostalgic about returning to the hallowed ground where he achieved one of his biggest career highs during the 2006 tour. His typically resolute batting as skipper made all the difference in clinching a series triumph in the Caribbean after 35 years.

He will complete 15 years in international cricket when the first Test kicks off on Monday. The player hoped he could help bring about a smooth transition in Indian cricket by guiding the younger lot on a pitch that promises plenty of pace and bounce.

Sachin’s inspiration
Dravid acknowledged Sachin Tendulkar's amazing run inspires him and wanted the likes of Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina to establish themselves like the batch of 1996 -- Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Dravid -- did.

“I am still enjoying my game. It is good to sort of re-connect with the team. That is why I still want to keep playing. I love the context, the energy of playing Test cricket for my country.” He is hopeful the transition in the Indian team will be smooth.

“Many of them are a lot more experienced than me or Ganguly or Laxman were when we came in. A similar group is coming through and hopefully two or three of them can go on to have a long career like we have had. If you can do that we know the team will be in good health.”

There is hardly anything left to achieve for Dravid, who is the third most prolific batsman in the history of Test cricket, and also holds the record for most catches in Tests.

However, he will fancy his chances against the West Indies. “There is a certain amount of pressure to score irrespective of what you are,” said Dravid. “You know there is a lot you have done that can't be taken away. So you do feel relaxed from that point. But when you go into a Test you still feel nervous. That will never change whether I play my first game or my 151st.”