India v West Indies, 9th match, Champions Trophy October 25, 2006

I try not to confuse captaincy and batting - Dravid



'I'm there as a batsman and try and do the job as a batsman and I'm there as a captain and have a job to do as captain' - Rahul Dravid © Getty Images

Rahul Dravid might just have come off a practice session in the hot, dusty B Ground at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera ahead of India's match against West Indies on Thursday. But he was relaxed, having gone home to be with family for Diwali, as had the rest of the team, and spent plenty of time answering questions

On the tournament being wide open with different teams beating each other
Yes, it's reflective of what I said at the start of the tournament. Any one of the eight teams are capable of winning this tournament. The results and performances have been reflective of that. There have never been any real favourites. That's how it will be leading into the World Cup - seven or eight teams have a chance. Tomorrow's game is an important one for us; we've got the chance to take things in our own hands. If we put in a good performance tomorrow then we have a chance of progressing further in this tournament.

On the dew factor and whether India had an edge because they were used to playing these conditions
I don't think you can say any team can be used to playing under dew. I don't think anyone has cracked it, but we are as used to it. I've played five or six games in these conditions. It does play a part and you have to look at ways to counter it. You have to look at your strategy, at your combination. Irrespective of it we need to play as best as we can. It will play a part in the game, whether it affects the outcome, I don' know.

On the conditions during South Africa's win against Sri Lanka
Pitch didn't play any different from what we expected it to play. As evening wears on there's a bit of movement for the seam bowlers with the hard new ball but as the ball gets older, softer, you lose the ability to utilise the ball. I think the South Africans bowled very well upfront, knocked over four of the Lankan top order very early and that made the difference.

On whether there was a danger in premeditating conditions and picking a team based on that instead of just putting the best eleven on the park
That could be a danger but I think you got to have a balance of both. You can't keep a blindfold to conditions as well; you can't just say the conditions don't exist. We're trying to keep a balance. Irrespective of dew we've got to play good cricket. South Africa showed yesterday that whether you bat first or bowl first it doesn't matter, you've got to play good cricket.

On dealing with different things, like failure, as captain and as a batsman
I try not to confuse the two things. I'm there as a batsman and try and do the job as a batsman and I'm there as a captain and have a job to do as captain. I have certain responsibilities and roles as a captain and I try not to get them muddled up. Irrespective of whether I score runs or not, I have a responsibility as a batsman and try and fulfil that to the best of my ability. I mean obviously it does help if I score runs in the sense that it helps the team in terms of the batting. If all the batsmen contribute, it helps the batting but I personally try not to confuse the two.

On Sachin Tendulkar returning to bowling fitness
He's coming along well, bowling a few balls in the net. We're trying to get him into it slowly. No point rushing him into something and risking it. We'll take it slowly, monitoring it carefully. We'd like him to be able to bowl as we know how effective he can be and we've got some very important cricket coming up. So we might see him bowl a few overs in the games. He's been bowling about 30 balls in practice but obviously it's a bit different in practice and nets. The pressure and intensity is a bit different. You can't always replicate that. But it's an ongoing process to getting him back to bowling consistently, but hopefully he'll be back to bowling 10 overs when the big tournament comes up.

On what specifically the team had been working on in the last four days
We've been working at staying at the wicket, ensuring that we build partnerships. The tournament has not been very easy on batsmen. If guys who've got set have gone on and got a big score, it's made a big impact on the game. These are the things we've been working on.

On whether India's recent inconsistent record against West Indies was a concern
Not really, it's a new game, a new tournament. I don't see the past as having too much of a bearing. Yes, we haven't had a great run but I don't think the past can have a bearing on what we do tomorrow. Tomorrow's really about us focusing on playing good cricket. That's the nature of the one-day game.

On whether the team has thought about being knocked out of the tournament
Not really. We're not thinking about defeat or leaving the tournament early. We have won the first game in the tournament and have put ourselves in a position where we control our destiny and I'm not thinking of losing.

On the West Indian pace attack hitting their straps
I saw a fair bit of the Australia-West Indies game and I think they're bowling well and like I said before, I think Windies are going through a period where they're playing very good cricket. They seem to have found some of their key players in form. I think we were not very far from that. Our performance in the last game, and with some of our key players performing, it gives us back that depth and balance. There are a couple of areas we can get better. We can get back to that kind of consistency and performance we showed a little while back. It's just a question of a few more players getting back into the kind of groove they can. The pieces are falling into place.

Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo