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I?m a more relaxed person now: Dravid

"The youngsters maturing quickly indicates the rapid progress of the team," says Rahul Dravid in this exclusive interview to Javagal Srinath.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2004 16:48 IST
PTI

"While the younger players can only blossom under the right circumstances created by providing right coaching, the role played by the seniors in mentoring and fostering the youngsters also helps the boys to graduate. The youngsters maturing quickly indicates the rapid progress of the team," says Rahul Dravid in this exclusive interview to Javagal Srinath. Excerpts:

Srinath: One cannot say that you personally didn't have the ingredients to succeed during the 2000 tour of Australia. It's not that you have had a long lean patch in your career. Having had a great series now, what factors do you suspect let you down during the 2000 series?

Dravid: During the 2000 series, I was too conscious of the fact that my true cricketing merits would be measured in Australia and it put me under pressure. Although I did reasonably well all around the world, I was not really sure about what to except in Australia when I came here in 2000.

The experience gained from the last 35 Test matches between 2000 and 2003 have helped a lot. I have come to understand my own personality and weaknesses better and know how to react to things at different situations. Back in my mind, I am a much more relaxed person now.

The dismissal in the first Test at Brisbane didn't perturb me at all. The atmosphere is very conducive in the team. The strategies to understand the opponents and upgrading our own game with the support of technology, the new belief in fitness regime, the psychological help and many other factors have contributed to the team's, as well as to my success in this series.

Srinath: Tell me something about your personal role in building the team and the team spirit like understanding the youngsters' dilemma in establishing themselves at this level of cricket.

Dravid: Frankly, all the senior players strive hard to follow the prime values and objectives of the team. I, along with the coach and the captain, try and create the right ambience for the guys. It is an environment where excellence is promoted and performance is valued. The engine that works at the backdrop of the team is equally important like the contribution of Andrew, John, and Greg. While the younger players can only blossom under the right circumstances created by providing right coaching, the roles played by the seniors in mentoring and fostering the youngsters also helps the boys to graduate.

Only the performance on arduous tours like this can make one realise the sense of achievement and what it actually takes to maintain those standards. Some of our lads are just 18 or 19 and they handle the pressure amazingly well at this level.

Srinath: You have been doing some strange things like closing your eyes every now and then while batting and it looks as if you have gone into a trance. What exactly do you do ....do you think about your wife?

Dravid: Ha ha ha! Uou people must have seen it on the TV a few times. Actually, if at any stage I feel my concentration is wavering and my thoughts are wandering, I just close my eyes to collect my thoughts and focus on my breathing and also keep thinking in the present state. I dread to drift into what had happened during the previous deliveries or what's going to happen in the coming few balls.

You have no control on the balls you have already played or the one you would have to play. But you are in complete control on the one you are about to face. Few thoughts like how to celebrate my 50 or a hundred, which is quite normal, come to my mind and that's the time I rearrange my thoughts to live in the present and get on with the job on hand.

One of the toughest things in sport is to be in the real time, all the time.

Srinath: Laxman and you strike it well.

Dravid: Well, it's not only Laxman, I have had a few serious partnerships with Sachin and Sourav as well. But with Laxman, I have played some crucial innings that had direct bearings on the results of the matches and one of them turned out be a historic win. The Calcutta innings and the Adelaide one would stand tall in the memories.

We both have played together from the junior level and now we understand each other well at the centre. During long partnerships, we are quick to notice any lapses in each other's concentration and keep sending alert signals to one another. Lax is a great player and I respect him a lot. And I think he is really coming of age as a player now.

At the same time, the family life, I strongly feel, is extremely crucial in development of one's career. Though the game is little glorified in our country, by the end of the day I have to come back to my family for the reality check. The part played by the family is the same, whether you are winning or losing.

The environment created by my parents during my formative days in terms of stress on the importance on education, sports and understanding of the basic family values has been instrumental in my success.

I wish all the youngsters have similar run in their childhood for a decent career in any walk of their chosen profession.

Srinath: Having known you as a cricketer all the while, I completely endorse and agree with the values that you uphold for the game of cricket. Though I sincerely share your sentiments after the unfortunate ball tampering issue and understand the agony that you went through for no fault of yours, please share your views.

Dravid: I cannot make any comment on that particular incident as we are bound by the laws of ICC. I have expressed my views on the game to the match referee Clive Lloyd.

First Published: Jan 28, 2004 02:57 IST