India v New Zealand, 3rd Test, Nagpur, 3rd day November 22, 2010

Dravid not worried by critics' calls for youth

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rahul Dravid has said he is not worried by the clarion calls for youth that follow each of his failures. All he can do, he said, is to keep scoring runs.

"You do accept that when you are at a certain age and don't do well, people are going to ask questions," Dravid said. "When you are 23 or 24, certain questions are asked of you and when you are 37 or 38, the questions are different. It's part of being a sportsman and you can't complain about it. The only thing to do is to keep scoring runs. As long as the team is backing you, that's all you can ask for."

Dravid will turn 38 in January. His passport has proof of his footprints across the ten countries where he has gathered his 11,943 Test runs (just 10 short of Brian Lara), but his critics choose to fuss over one detail in that document: his age. In the seven games he played this year, prior to the series against New Zealand, he averaged 34.60. He said there was pressure on him, but it was born out of frustration of not contributing to the team's cause rather than from what his critics thought of him. "You accept the pressure and know you have to do well," Dravid said. "I don't think about failure or what people are saying. That's just a part and parcel of being an international cricketer and I have never had any complaints about it."

The way Dravid prepares for a game hasn't changed much over the years; he has just "refined" the process. "There are four or five boxes I need to tick every time [before a game]," he said. "Physical fitness, technical skills, mental preparation, and how I am feeling emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes you get the results, sometimes you don't. That's life, that's sport."

In the last year, Dravid has been dismissed by left-arm seamers six times. Chanaka Welegedara got him out thrice, Doug Bollinger twice, and Mitchell Johnson once. Dravid said he has worked hard at the National Cricket Academy and with Gary Kirsten, India's coach, to iron out the flaw. "It was a bit disappointing and I knew that it was an area I had to work on," he said. "I have put in some time at the NCA and also with Gary to tighten up my lines a little bit. I worked on trying to hit as straight as possible rather than opening my bat-face. I felt that I was opening it up towards the covers too much. It has worked a little bit. This was the only game we saw a left-arm quick [Andy McKay] in this series."

"Our plan was to bowl quite straight to him, and he played those deliveries well," McKay said at the end of the third day in Nagpur. "He waited for us to err off those straight lines, and capitalised on the opportunities. His wagon wheel shows he scored a lot of his runs through cover and midwicket. That's when we missed our lines."

Dravid batted for 573 minutes and faced 396 deliveries for his 191 before holing out off a tired shot. "At any stage in my career, batting for long hours has taken a lot out of me," he said. "But, I guess, I have to bat for a long time to score runs. It would be nice to be re-born as Veeru [Virender Sehwag] one day."

A steady approach has been the hallmark of Dravid's batting over the years and he said he enjoyed building long innings. "That's the way I play," he said. "I like to look at the game not immediately but two or three days ahead, see if I can build a platform, score some big runs, and watch the impact it has as the game progresses."

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  • Dummy4 on November 28, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    Age is never going to be a factor unless you play well for your country. People hardly questions Raina or Gambhir when they r in poor form. Sir Dravid has proved time and again that form is temporary and class in permanent. There is no harm for the even if players like Sir Dravid and Sachin plays for next 4-5 yrs for INDIA in test cricket and contribute more to our INDIAN CRICKET. So ppl pls stop calling for thier heads. They r matured enough to decide when to call it off for the day.

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2010, 19:51 GMT

    Am amused by all the comments about strike rate. Ok, Dravid's strike rate was 48+ but he scored 191 in the last test vs NZ and batted them out of the game. Today saw Mike Hussey who is supposed to have scored fast and his SR was around 55. This was fascinating Test Cricket, not ODI or T20 pyjama cricket. Haddin is a very attacking bat but chose to play a waiting game. Both batsmen knew that their getting out would mean a collapse. RD is in a similar position with an unpredictable middle order. Tendlya plays like a school kid at times and Laxman kicks in only when others fail. Less said about Raina and Dhoni the better. So RD has to play carefully and hit shots with "risk eliminated perfection" as Senantix says in his blog. RD is extremely fit and has missed very few matches due to injury. We need him in SA and am sure he will not fail India.

  • Muthuvel on November 26, 2010, 19:06 GMT

    Dravid is back, its SA next.

  • ganesh on November 24, 2010, 12:38 GMT

    I remember an interview in which rahul was asked,"what do you feel when the media adresses u has THE WALL,rahul had replied I dont believe in all these,some day the same media will write THE WALL IS CRUMBLING". Rahul is a gentlemen cricketer of this era.No Doubt.He has agreed that he cannot play like sehwag,very much before only.One thing I can tell watching dravid all these years is that he plays for the team & country ,he is not selfish player. Every great sportsman have a bad patch sometimes,thats game.He will retire when he feels that, he is not doing well for the team.thats the truth.And one thing is sure No other player can fit in dravids shoe.(I am not underestimating Youth,I am a huge fan of Pujara and Vijay). Congrats Rahul for the superb innings,Best of luck for South Africa to TEAM INDIA.

  • Dummy4 on November 24, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    @PontingForPM Compare these away records.... Mat Runs HS Bat Av 100 80 6664 270 55.53 17 - Dravid 64 5020 206 48.73 16 - Ponting and look at the home records.... 67 5279 222 50.75 14 - Dravid 79 6790 257 60.08 21 - Ponting Tells you how many runs Ponting piles on in home conditions.. Also try and look at Ponting's Avg against India in India. Whereas Dravid has been instrumental in India winning matches away from home. Also note that Ricky till recently had the cover of Superb openers to begin with till recently and in Dravid's case the opposite was true till Sehwag and Gambhir have formed a steady partnership. As for being overrated...... I think Ponting is most overrated as most of his runs were scored in a strong Aussie team and mostly at home.

  • Dummy4 on November 23, 2010, 12:11 GMT

    one thing, we should not get carried away with this success either; but a few positives from this innings: *he isnt shy playing his waiting game; he never seemed frustrated when he stated slower comparison to his partners *this pitch was sort of sporting, and he had a good batting practise despite against a weak bowling attack *he is working on his game even now(the vulnerability against left arm pacers is a concern to him) , may be Zaheer Khan could help him out with practise

  • Pradeep on November 23, 2010, 11:45 GMT

    @PontingForPM - You say Dravid is not a great player because he did not do well against Aus? If that's the case, do you agree that Warne is an ordinary bowler because he hardly took wickets against India? Can you guys produce one gentleman cricker like Dravid? I know why you are saying this - Because now Ponting can't catch up on Sachin. You are worried Dravid will catch up Ponting. Hahaha... Ponting for PM? Yeah, PM of the ISI (Insane Sledgers Island).

  • Dummy4 on November 23, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    If all the cricketers think in the same way of these greats like Dravid, Tendulkar, Waugh, Santh, Lloyd no youngster will ever get a chance to come back to the national side. It's not a surprise that anybody can improve their performance in any profession with long engagement and experience. Given the fact that India couldn't find a proper all-rounder Kapil can still find a place in the side with minor performs though he is above 50. BCCI on the other hand reluctant to give proper chances for the youngster, despite India is blessed with numerous batting talents. If somebody say he has a keenness to play cricket at the age of 38, then only god can look after younger player in that country from this greedy people.

  • Pradeep on November 23, 2010, 10:13 GMT

    @nskaile - Totally agree with you.... Indian media is pathetic. The news yesterday was full of what Sachin did not achieve than what Dravid achieved.

  • bala on November 23, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    For people who says dravid has to retire , look at the stats from 2000- 2009 period when india started to win more frequently at home and aboard .

    look at the cintributions of dravid & tendulkar and decide

    Player Runs HS Ave 100 50 R Dravid 8558 270 54.85 22 42 Sachin 7129 248* 53.2 21 31

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