The lighter side of Rahul Dravid was evident on Thursday when he told the media on the eve of the Indian Premier League (IPL), “Somebody told me that the Bangalore team is a veteran team with young cheerleaders.”
The cheerleading squad of the Washington Redskins American football team will root for Bangalore in their opening match.
“I will tell my boys to stay focussed on the cricket ball and not be distracted by the cheerleaders,” Dravid said with a smile.
On to the serious side of Friday’s match and the concept, Dravid said that he would have an open mind as far as T20 is concerned.
“I played in a very good era of Test cricket. To be part of something new like this at its inception, I am not going to be dismissive about it. I will embrace the different cultures and the idea of having players from different countries in a team. It will be very good for the game of cricket.”
Dravid said that the IPL was not entirely entertainment off the field. ”T20 is so fast and entertaining that you don’t need any other entertainment. Our focus will be on cricket. All are looking forward to winning. Obviously there is a lot of entertainment and hype which you can’t help. If the quality of cricket is good, people will come back.”
The 35-year-old Bangalorean said that a captain has to be constantly thinking in a T20.
“It is a fast paced game. You bowl your overs quickly, you have to think on your feet, things change within an over or a couple of overs. You have to be reactive.”
Can’t take it easy: Ganguly
“When I play cricket, I don’t think money is everything. When you play Tests, you turn up for India. When you play in IPL, you play for Kolkata.” This was Sourav Ganguly, the Kolkata team captain’s response to a query if money in the IPL would prompt Test players to call it quits early.
Ganguly and his team arrived in Bangalore on Thursday morning for the inaugural IPL match against Bangalore. He said that everyone played to win and that passion was never a question. “There are big names, their reputations are at stake and plenty of money is involved. The games will be serious. The effort to win will be as much as in a Test or an ODI.”
The 35-year-old said that Test cricket would be the most important thing for him personally. “Tests have always been, and will always be, the most important thing for a cricketer. I am sure it will be the same for most others and that is how a player should be judged. At the same time, T20 and ODIs are important for the game.
“I asked Jacques Kallis during the Kanpur Test for how long he would continue playing. He said he still wanted to play Tests, and one-dayers and T20 as long as his body allowed. I still see players wanting to play Test cricket.
“You judge a player on his attitude and not arrive at a conclusion on his T20 performance. For example, I will judge Ishant Sharma on how he does in a 10-year period. How he handles himself in 10 years is important. If a captain wants him to bowl at 140 kph after tea in a Test, you see his attitude. Whoever manages himself well for a long period will be a good cricketer.”