WC 2003 - It was just a few idiots out of a billion: Dravid

Published: Monday, February 10, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: A team-man to the core, Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid says that he is a better One-day player now, having "adjusted" to his new position in the batting order which demands strokeplay. With skipper Saurav Ganguly batting at number three in the World Cup, the technically-solid Dravid has been pushed to the number five position where he generally has no choice but to go for his shots. But the stylish batsman is not complaining and sees some positives in going down the batting order."I am a better One-day player now. Earlier I batted at number three and instruction to me was to bat 50 overs. Now I bat at number five or six and many a time, I just have to go for my shots." Dravid, who batted for the most part of his career at one down, gave the spot to Ganguly as the team management decided to allow Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag to open the innings during the World Cup. Dravid has not only adjusted to his batting slot but also in other areas to help out the Indian team. He said seniors in the side like him should guide the young guns to work hard. "As a senior you basically like to set an ideal example for the youngsters in the side. You have to show everyone is prepared to do the hard rounds. We as seniors have to put our hands ups." Despite all his efforts, at times Dravid gives the impression that he is struggling to accelerate the scoring. "It really depends on a lot of factors. There are times when the ball hits the middle of the bat then there are times when you struggle. One can't really explain this. Even Sachin Tendulkar wouldn't be having as great a day as he had against Pakistan all the time." Showering praise on the three pacers - Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra, Dravid said keeping wickets to the left-arm seamers was a big challenge."Srinath is like a father figure to Zaheer, Nehra and Agarkar. Initially we were a bit worried but the left-arm pacemen have been brilliant. Keeping to them is both a pleasure and challenge." Speaking on the angry reactions of fans after a poor start by the Indians at the World Cup, Dravid said only a few "crazy idiots" were responsible for what happened back home."It was just a few idiots out of a billion supporters. Indians are the most supported cricket team. Even the media was supportive. It's only a few crazy idiots who do such sort of things." Dravid was undecided on the need for a psychologist in the team but advocates a physical trainer and physio for every state side at the domestic level."I am not sure on psychologist. I feel there shouldn't be a psychologist just for the sake of it. He should be available when a cricketer needs him."As for a trainer and a physio, that's the way to look ahead. We should have men like them in domestic cricket. Since the national team benefits from the domestic structure, youngsters should benefit from the services of such experts." Commenting on Australia's performance in the World Cup, Dravid said the only way to beat the defending champions was to put them under pressure."They are playing great cricket and seem to have answers to any problem thrown at them by the opposition. Every time they are in trouble, they find someone to pull the team through."One guesses the only way to put them under pressure is what New Zealand and England did against them."Dravid, who rated Glenn McGrath, Wasim Akram, Shane Warne, Muthiah Muralitharan and Shaun Pollock as the five toughest bowlers in the world, said his most memorable moments in One-day cricket came recently.He said India's drubbing of England and Pakistan in the league stage of the World Cup was the most memorable game of his career while his best One-day innings came against England in the first match at the NatWest Trophy in England last year."I made 70-odd in the game. We were four down for very little and we were chasing 280. Yuvraj (Singh) and I saw the team through. I really enjoyed that knock." PTI


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