India v England, 3rd Test, Mumbai March 17, 2006

'It's just another Test match' - Dravid

Cricinfo staff

The Mumbai Test will be Rahul Dravid's 100th, but for the man himself it is business as usual, as he played down the significance of the occasion, and instead chose to dwell on what the team needed to do to seal the series victory against England.



'Four bowlers will not be a backward step, and five will not be an over-aggressive step' © AFP

On playing his 100th Test
It's special, in the sense that I'll be joining a list of five other Indians who have been legendary cricketers. So from that point of view it's a great feeling. But it's just another Test match as well. The focus is on playing good cricket and trying to win the match. So while I have had time to reflect over the last couple of days and be grateful for a lot of things in my career, I think today it's just time to look forward and try on focus on the main task which is really to try to win a Test match. Statictics and numbers are great and nice to reflect upon, but while you're playing the game it's important that you focus on the cricket, whether it's your 100th game, or the 101st, or the 98th. I'm preparing for this match just as I would for any other game of cricket.

Thoughts on the pitch
It looks a good, firm wicket. It should have good bounce and carry early on, but i think as the sun beats down on it, as the game goes on, the red soil will help take some spin maybe towards the end of the first day or the second day.

Four bowlers or five?
We are formulating a few thoughts. We'll see what's best for the side. I'm obviously not going to announce the team here today, but we have the option of playing five bowlers and we will look at that seriously. We also know we have some quality batsmen who miss out if we play five bowlers, so that's another tempting feeling - to play some of the quality batsmen we have. We'll see and decide tomorrow. We are not going to be defensive in this game at all. If we do play four bowlers that does not mean we are going defensive. The philosophy is to take 20 wickets in the match, and we'll take the kind of bowlers we think can get us 20 wickets. Four bowlers will not be a backward step, and five will not be an over-aggressive step.

Reactions to Steve Harmison missing out
A little disappointed for England. Harmison's been a standout performer. Having said that they have some good young bowlers as well and sometimes it gives a youngster who's been sitting in the sidelines an opportunity, and we've seen that when we have given young kids an opportunity they have grabbed it. We will have to play someone new, someone we haven't played before, so thats a new challenge for us.

Whether the team is relieved that England's fastest bowler isn't playing
We look forward to challenges, to playing the best bowlers, that's what international cricket is about. And the guys in my team are proven performers who have played against the quickest and some of the best bowlers in the world.

What the team has done during the four-day break
We had a couple of good days of training. We had a couple of days off. Some of the boys went back home and celebrated Holi with their families, some of the boys spent a couple of days relaxing in Mumbai. The guys are now really keen and looking forward to the match.

On Monty Panesar
He has bowled very well, considering it's his first tour with the England team. To come to India and bowl against some of our good batsmen ... I think he has done a good job. England can be pleased. They missed Ashley Giles, but they must be heartened to see that there's a young kid who can come in and do the same job that Giles has been doing for them.

On Sachin Tendulkar, who will become the most capped player Indian Test player
Tendulkar has been a colossus. What he has done in the last 16 years, to carry the pressures that he has had to carry, the way people have looked up to him, i think he has been an icon of the Indian cricket team. And that's not an easy thing to do over a period of 16 years. Just to see him grow and develop to being the best batsman in the world and to see what he has achieved and the way he has carried himself through it all has been phenomenal.

On whether Tendulkar isn't as big a hero as he was a few years back
He still is a very big hero. But a lot of new young kids come through, there's a new excitement about youngsters coming through and that's the circle of life. When Sachin was a kid there was a lot of interest about him, now people seem to know everything about him, so there's an interest on the young kids coming through. I still think he's a huge hero and still very respected and adored by so many millions of people.

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