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Getting beyond ?The Wall?

It's Thursday evening and Super Six eve before one catches up with the low-profile Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2003 03:02 IST

It's Thursday evening and Super Six eve before one catches up with the low-profile Indian vice-captain. He's constantly on the run. If he's not at nets, he's at team meetings, practising catching, having a 'special' session with the bat, buried somewhere with a book, almost always busy. But he did take time out for an informal chat on his emerging partnership with Yuvraj, Tendulkar and India's chances.

Excerpts from an interview

How did the team bounce back so well?

It's hard to describe in one or two sentences but I think the win in Harare gave us the boost we needed. We had been trying our best but in that particular match, we gave just that little bit more required to get our rhythm back. The big win was what we were looking for and from then on, we just pressed the right buttons. Things fell into place.

So you're also saying that the criticism and outbursts by fans had nothing to do with the suddenly improved performance?

See, there are only a couple of fans who reacted violently. We had a hundred crore behind us. Why should we react one way or the other because of a few disgruntled people?

How hopeful are you about India making the semi-finals?

Well, we are focusing on the job at our hand. We have to first play hard and well in the Super Six. Once we do that, we'll automatically qualify for the semis.

How would you describe that 98 from Tendulkar against Pakistan?

I've never seen a better innings from Sachin. His batting forced Pakistan on to the back foot. It was simply great.

You too have been among the runs from last year's England tour.

Yes, in a sense, but I haven't forgotten New Zealand either. I am trying to get back to the rhythm I had before New Zealand.

You have figured in both the 1999 and 2003 World Cups against Pakistan, in two wins. Why are people more excited about this win?

I think it's because we played them after so many days. The entire cricketing world had an eye on this match. Secondly, we had to chase 273 to win it, which is never an easy chase. And why only 1999, we have beaten them whenever we had met them in a World Cup match. This made it four in a row, that is quite something. Can you deny that we completely dominated proceedings on March 1? Our fans wanted to see this domination and so, they are ecstatic.

You've batted with Yuvraj and taken India to victory in the last two games. How does it feel to bat with him?

You have to say that we make a good pair. Spending quite some time together at the wicket, has given both of us the confidence to call for the singles. Confidence comes only with better understanding and nothing can improve unless we spend time at the wicket

Yuvraj was praising your professional attitude …

He is a talented batsman. On both occasions, I told him to stay at the wicket till the 50th over. I knew that if we could stay there till the last over, we would definitely be in a position to win the game. Exactly that happened.

Some experts are still of the opinion that India should have played with six batsmen and five bowlers --- your views?

We can't satisfy everybody. We had played with six batsmen and five bowlers but were not winning that many matches then. That's the reason we are now playing with seven batsmen. It seems to have worked and we’re sticking with a winning formula.