Dravid spills the secrets to youngsters

Published: Saturday, May 1, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Chennai:After the rigours of the Indian cricket team's victorious Pakistan tour, vice-captain Rahul Dravid chose to share his experiences and thoughts to 55 aspiring cricketers who hung on to his every word at a cricket academy in Chennai.

The venue, the V B Cricket Academy, about 40 km from Chennai and the gathering, a motley crowd of youngsters, shooting questions left and right on how to improve their skills to become international cricketers.

But the 'Wall', as Dravid is known in cricketdom, fielded them with aplomb, though he was caught off guard by a few 'tricky' ones.

Sample this from a boy... "Eight of my batsmen are back in the pavilion and my partner and I are at the crease and we have to make 30-odd runs to win with few overs to spare. What do I do to win the match".

Though taken aback, Dravid quickly regained his composure and said: "Eight batsmen losing their wicket is not under your control. You control what is possible by you. It is important not to think far ahead of your goal. You control each ball on its merit and stay put at the crease for 30 minutes and you will achieve the goal."

"You should not think of a result, if the pressure is on you. Think as to how am I going to get the 30 runs. Focus on every single ball," he advised.

Throughout the 'question-answer' session, India's stylish middle order bat harped on hard work, patience and concentration and the importance of practising at the nets if one has to make it big.

On his touching a purple patch, Dravid said "I worked on a lot of gray areas in my game. I got back to the nets and worked hard to find ways to resolve the mistakes. It is a different matter if your technique goes wrong. I think mental strength and approach to both versions of the game had helped me. I improvised a bit and developed new shots, improved upon my ability to run singles and it was due to a combination of many things...."

To a question as to how one could stay relaxed and be strong mentally, the ace batsman said "I try to relax with the pads on during a match. Watch the game in progress in the middle and not get worried about the game. Once a wicket falls and I walk out to the middle, I concentrate on my game."

Dravid advised the boys that they should spend more time at the nets. "Every bit of moment at the nets is important.

"You should concentrate on batting or bowling at the nets, play your shots, master it and then put them to good effect in match situations," he said.

Asked what it takes to be a Rahul Dravid, the star batsman said: "You need to have confidence, stability and concentration and no one should compromise on hard work".

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