Dravid just milks you, says Waqar Younis
He has taken nearly 800 wickets in international cricket, but Waqar Younis would not like to bowl to Rahul Dravid, who is "a teaser" and who "just milks you".
Only days ago Waqar announced his retirement from international cricket and one of his few regrets is that he played just four Test matches against India. His failure against the arch-rivals in the World Cup semi-final at Bangalore in 1996 is one of the lows of his career.
One of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of the game, Waqar took a Test wicket every 43.4 balls giving him the best strike rate amongst the top bowlers. In 87 Tests, he has a tally of 373 wickets and in 262 one-dayers he took 416, giving him a fabulous record in both versions of the game.
Looking back on his 15-year-long international career during a free-wheeling interview to PTI, the 32-year-old Waqar said that he was in contention to play against India in the recent series but was not picked up by the selectors. But that did not hasten his decision to retire because "one should go when one is running in and not jogging".
"Bonding" is a word he repeatedly used to describe the Indian team that beat Pakistan recently. "Look at the incident of the declaration when Sachin Tendulkar was on 194. It would have been a huge issue in Pakistan or England. Sachin did not like it, but he came out saying please do not make an issue of it. This brings out the bonding between cricketers."
"The Indian dressing room", said Waqar, "was excellent. You win matches from the dressing room. The way you behave in the dressing room is the way you play out in the middle."
The Indian batting, he acknowledged, is definitely a top line-up because even Yuvraj Singh who is "as dangerous as others" has to work hard to get into the team. "India's top six are all capable of making big runs, not 105 or 110 but 280 or 300. India has the batting which can always put 600 runs on the board."
Of Dravid, Waqar said that he is one of the few batsmen in the world who are technically very correct. "His feet movement, his body, his elbow are all text book. He is a top player but I will not call him great at the moment," he said.
"I would rather bowl to Virender Sehwag than to Dravid because Dravid is a teaser. He just milks you. If Sehwag and Dravid go into a bad patch, there are more chances of Dravid coming back because he is technically more sound," said the former Pakistani captain.
Even Tendulkar gives the bowler a little more chance. "If I continuously bowl four or five good balls to him I will probably create a chance but Dravid has such a good temperament also. He does not mind even if you bowl 20 balls in a good area. He will still block you," he said.