Dravid happy to overcome 35-year-old hoodoo

Published: Monday, July 3, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kingston, Jamaica:Elated at becoming the first captain in 35 years to lead an Indian team to a Test series win in the Caribbean, Rahul Dravid said he was relieved to have broken the jinx and dedicated the victory to his young and inexperienced side.

Dravid scored 496 runs in the series and won the Man of the Series award. But the Indian skipper said winning the series was more fulfilling.

''Personally also this is a very good series but it is not as important as the victory for the team. I have played international cricket for more than 10 years now and it is the first win outside the sub-continent,'' said Dravid.

''The happiness that I get for winning the series is much more than anything else. There have been many players in our team who have played lot of cricket but havent managed to win a series outside the subcontinent. I would like to thank everyone in the team for this victory,'' he added.

Dravid said it was good to win the series but refused to call it a revenge for previous losses.

''I don't believe in revenge. Barbados was disappointing because after we played there it rained for the next two days and we did not have a chance to come back. If we had got 30-40 runs extra we would have done better. It's nice to have won this one in my third trip to the West Indies, probably my last too. It's nice to have won a series after 35 years,'' said Dravid.

''I am very happy especially for the team. It is because of the team spirit, our coaching staff, management staff -- everyone contributed. They have lifted the spirits of the team. You need such support on a long tour, it's very good for Indian cricket and I am very happy,'' said Dravid.

The Indian skipper also profusely praised his young seam quartret.

''I have seen fine spells in my career but this is the best I have seen throughout a series since 1996. They are young and inexperienced and yet they did it. Munaf (Patel) and (S) Sreesanth were impressive and VRV (Singh) also did well. Irfan (Pathan) also did well when he played,'' said Dravid. Dravid said it was great team effort that saw India victorious.

''It's been great team effort, everyone contributed at various stages. There can be only one Man of the Series but you look at the stats. (Wasim) Jaffers 200 helped us fight back in Antigua, (VVS) Laxman's 100 saved the Test at Kitts, (Virender) Sehwags 100 almost won us the game at Lucia, (Mohd) Kaif's 100 at Lucia was crucial.

And look at all the bowlers' performance throughout the series. Our spinners were brilliant right throughout,'' said Dravid.

''These couple of innings are probably two of the best I have played; it gave me a lot of satisfaction,'' said Dravid.

'It was not an easy wicket to bat, you needed a bit of luck, you are going to get beaten a few times, and you may nick one early on.

One of the keys on this wicket is to get fully forward and fully back.

''It's to play as late as possible and with soft hands. You have to be patient, trust yourself, trust your defence. There were going to be difficult periods you were going to be beaten a few times, some balls were going to kick up but you just had to play one ball at a time. I was trying to tell some of our guys the same thing to try and bat periods of time; every run was going to be important as we saw in the end,'' Dravid explained about batting on this track.

''I think the wicket was most difficult on the first day in the first three hours of the game. As the game went on, it kept getting worse and worse. I dont think at any stage any batsman however long he had batted was set. A lot of times when you are a batsman playing on good wickets you are set when you make 40 or 50 and can play certain shots but here it was different. (Ramnaresh) Sarwan was batting beautifully today but he got one that moved and he nicked it and it could have happened at any stage. There was lot of help for the bowlers and you never felt settled,'' said Dravid about the Sabina park pitch.

Dravid also said that the score line of 1-0 was not a true reflection of the series but he held no grudges.

''We played the better cricket throughout the series and if we had 90 overs in Lucia we would have probably won 2-0,'' said Dravid.

''Obviously we have got people like Ajit (Agarkar) and Zaheer (Khan) in the wings but it is good to have a young crop of fast bowlers doing well,'' he added.

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