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Dravid not complacent despite dream start

Dravid has just endured the most unforgettable two weeks of his life but the Indian captain is not getting carried away.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2005 19:24 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Rahul Dravid has just endured the most unforgettable two weeks of his life but the Indian captain is not getting carried away.

On October 11, Dravid was blessed with his first-born son. Two days later, he was appointed India's captain in place of Sourav Ganguly, the country's most successful skipper.

If Dravid was under pressure, he hid it well as India pulled off a rousing 152-run victory over Sri Lanka in the first one-day international at Nagpur on Tuesday.

The captain himself led from the front in wife Vijeta's hometown with a blistering unbeaten 85 off 63 balls that earned him the man of the match award.

Dravid, 32, himself admitted the dream was unlikely to last forever.

"It's not very often that you win games by such a big margin," he said.

"Everything clicked for us. All that we planned worked out to perfection. It doesn't always happen like that."

Dravid knows Sri Lanka, ranked second in the one-day rankings behind Australia against India's seventh, will come back strongly in the remaining six games.

"They are not the second best side in the world for nothing," he said. "I don't think I need to tell anyone in my team not to get complacent. We are not getting carried away."

In April, India squandered a 2-0 lead to lose the remaining four matches to Pakistan and Dravid hopes the embarrasment will not be repeated.

He also takes pains to rubbish suggestions that the team seemed to gel better under his leadership than it had done in the recent past.

"When you go out there and everything clicks for you -- you get a good start, your bowlers bowl well and everything works -- you look a great unit," he said.

"When you score 350 and knock the opposition over, you are going to look a good unit."

Indian cricket was rocked by controversy in the last few months following a damaging row between Ganguly and coach Greg Chappell, the former Australian captain and batting great who took over the Indian team in June.

It followed defeats in two one-day finals in September, by Sri Lanka in Colombo and by New Zealand in Harare.

Dravid, a long-time deputy to Ganguly, has been appointed captain for two home one-day series against Sri Lanka and South Africa as the selectors gauge his suitability for a longer term.

It is a job that no sane man should want, said the respected India Today weekly.

"Being India's captain," the paper said, "is like tap dancing with your shoes on fire. It gets you a lot of attention but no one else knows what it feels like."

It helps that Dravid is considered the team's leading batsman despite the imposing presence of Sachin Tendulkar.

Dravid, who was selected the International Cricket Council's player of the year in 2004, has scored 7,871 runs at an average of 58.30 in 91 Tests with 20 centuries.

In one-day cricket, he has made 8,514 runs in 266 matches with 10 centuries.

The second match against Sri Lanka will be played under lights in the northern town of Mohali on Friday.

First Published: Oct 26, 2005 14:46 IST