Rahul Dravid has been the one man the entire media wanted to talk to once the national selectors dropped him from the one-day squad for the first two ODIs against Pakistan. Since coming to Mumbai for the Ranji Trophy match here, he has been the cynosure of all eyes. His every step was closely observed, his facial expressions carefully watched. With journalists eager to get his sound bytes since the Karnataka team assembled last Thursday, their wish was granted on Tuesday, but on the condition that Dravid would speak only about the Ranji match that ended in a draw, and nothing else.
Asked to sum up his double hundred, the former Indian captain who made 40 on the first day as his team folded up for only 195 said, "I would have to liked to have come good in the first innings. But full credit to the Mumbai bowlers. There was a bit more bounce on the first day, but as the game went on, the track got lower and slower. Ajit (Agarkar) and Ramesh (Powar) bowled really well, and 195 was never really enough."
Dravid was pleased to occupy the crease and get runs under his belt. "It's always nice to get runs. I enjoyed the fact that the knock helped the team in the sense that we did not get under pressure in the second innings after conceding a big lead.
"Every time you play, you want to do well and make runs. It's not tough at all to motivate yourself when you are playing for your state. External factors have no bearing."
Dravid said international cricketers always loved to play in domestic matches but the packed schedule did not give them a chance to do that always. "It does help playing against people who have the experience of international cricket. It also gives us an opportunity to see young talent. Most of the boys will be happy to play domestic cricket, but the international schedule is so cramped that it is not so easy. It is a question of managing international and domestic schedules. But even when we are playing for India, we continue to follow the scores."
Karnataka 1st inn 195
Mumbai 1st inn 337
Karnataka 2nd inn 397 for 6 decl (B. Rowland b Verma 40, K. Pawan c Samant b Nayar 80, R. Dravid c Rahane b Abdulla 214, C. Raghu c Samant b Powar 13, Y. Goud c Nayar b Abdulla 1, VS Naidu 34 n.o., B. Akhil st Samant b Abdulla 1, S. Joshi 0 n.o.; Extras - b-5, lb-1, w-3, nb-5 - 14)
Total (6 wkts decl) 397
Fall of wkts: 1-69, 2-227, 3-281, 4-290, 5-390, 6-396.
Bowling: A. Agarkar 16-3-50-0, R. Verma 18-4-49-1, A. Nayar 25-3-84-1, R. Powar 33-4-122-1, I. Abdulla 38-11-73-3, A. Rahane 1-0-1-0, P. Naik 4-0-12-0.
Mumbai 2nd inn (S. Kukreja lbw b Vinay Kumar 23, W. Jaffer b Vinay Kumar 17, A. Rahane 22 n.o., A. Muzumdar 4 n.o.; Extras - w-1, nb-3 - 4).
Total (2 wkts) 70
Bowling: R Vinay Kumar 7-3-20-2, N. Aiyappa 4-0-25-0, A. Kumble 6-0-25-0.
Result: Match drawn