'Dravid doesn't need pads while batting'
The Wall's willow is getting broader and broader each time he gets out to bat.india Updated: Jan 24, 2006 16:15 IST
Rahul Dravid doesn't need to put on his pads when he comes out to bat, that is the word of advice he has received from the opposition camp.
"He is so straight and negotiates almost every delivery with his bat, why does he need pads at all," said an admiring Danish Kaneria, shaking his head in part frustration and part admiration.
With two successive centuries and yet to be claimed by a bowler -- he was run out in the ongoing second Test -- in the series, Dravid's bat is getting broader and broader each time he gets out to bat.
However, one is not sure if his bat is also getting heavier.
"I only play with a 2.6 or 2.07 pound heavy bat though in one-dayers I tend to carry slightly heavier bats," remarked Dravid in a rare peep-in into his methods to the art of batting.
Interestingly, Dravid almost entirely relies on the "feel factor" of the bat and doesn't have a specific shape in the mind while choosing his piece of willow.
"I just rely on the feel of the bat, how it feels in the pick-up. Couple of grips are fine with me. I am also not much for the number of grains the wood should have," he said.
Dravid is also not the kind of batsman who discards his bat in a hurry.
"I usually hold on to my bat till it breaks. Right through the season, two or four bats are enough for me."
"I remember a defensive shot he played against Shoaib Akhtar. It was a pretty quick bouncing delivery and Dravid, on the backfoot, still didn't push his bat ahead of him. Usually, batsmen tend to stretch out their hands instinctively.
"When it happens it is pretty disappointing to a bowler. He gets the feeling that perhaps he is not bowling quick enough," the leggie said.
However, Dravid is a little more careful when it comes to the selection of his gloves and other accessories.
"I usually tend to wear inners inside my gloves. My hands are a little big so I go for specially designed gloves. On the two fingers next to the thumb, I prefer extra protection since I have been hit on them a few times."
Dravid also almost invariably puts on thigh pads inside his attire and puts it down to his experiences in England.
"It really hurts when you get hit in the thigh in the cold conditions in England. Once I started to wear thigh pads, it soon became a habit. Now I use it all the time."
However, one aspect of Dravid's cricket can still evoke the censure from the men who know their game.
Dravid has been involved in a run-out on 21 occasions. It is the third most by any player in Test cricket after Allan Border (29) and Steve Waugh (27).
Dravid himself has to trudge his way back to the dressing room on nine of these occasions while on 12 other occasions, his partners had been at the receiving end.
First Published: Jan 24, 2006 13:08 IST