India in Bangladesh, 2007 May 9, 2007

Cricket the sole focus: Dravid

Sidharth Monga in Mirpur



Rahul Dravid has refused to react to the sting on India's selectors © AFP

Having a news channel back home stir up a storm isn't the ideal situation at the start of a crucial series but Rahul Dravid simply chose not to respond to it. "I am not going to react to this sting operation and all this stuff," he said. Dead bat, typical of Dravid.

There were two broad themes to the revelations - made, allegedly, by four of the five national selectors - in the sting operation, carried out by Headlines Today and its Hindi sister channel, Aaj Tak: factionalism within the team, and Greg Chappell's performance as coach, but Dravid refused to dignify the affair.

Dravid says he hasn't seen or heard the footage and, even if he has, he can't be sure about the authenticity of the reports. He insisted, though, that he "had received as much support as I needed and I was very happy with the team that I had in the (World Cup). Beyond that I don't know much about this."

The Indian team flew to Bangladesh without having solved the contracts issue, but Dravid said that was not a deterrent. "Now that we have come here, the boys have not really had that on their minds. They want to really focus on cricket. Those things will be taken care of in the way they should be taken care of."

This is a new-look side, post the World Cup debacle, but Dravid maintained it was not the start of a new era. "I don't see it is a fresh beginning. We are going to play a lot of cricket. This is not the end of something and the beginning of something. It's an ongoing thing."

Asked how difficult it was to focus on cricket in times such as these, Dravid reiterated that once his side were on the field, there was little else to even think about. "Sometimes people from outside make a lot of things happen and think that players are affected by those things constantly," he said. "A lot of peripheral things happen around cricket, you have to get back and keep a perspective about it and that is the way I have done it all through my career."

Dravid also refused to compare the methods of current manager Ravi Shastri and his predecessor Chappell; specifically, the current arrangement of specialist coaches."We can't go on comparing. One or two days we can't get any tangible difference. I don't think it is rocket science; it is about preparing players for playing."

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer with Cricinfo Magazine

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