India v South Africa, 2nd ODI, Bangalore November 19, 2005

Dravid: 'I thought the boys were fantastic today'

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His 25th match as India's one-day international captain ended in a convincing six-wicket victory, and Rahul Dravid was a jocular mood at the post-match press conference. Irfan Pathan, who starred with 3 for 23 and a cultured 37, also spoke to the media as India looked back on a job well done.



Irfan Pathan produced a superb display with bat and ball © Getty Images

Rahul Dravid

On responding to the defeat in Hyderabad

In a five-match series, it's important to bounce back quickly if you've lost a game. I thought the boys were fantastic today. There was some pressure, but they came out and played some very good cricket.

On whether he felt low-and-slow pitches were the formula to beat South Africa

I don't think so. They're a good team; you don't go 20 matches without losing if you're not. I thought we played some very good cricket to win. Yes, the pitch was low and slow and it did turn, but our spinners also bowled really well. When you're playing good sides, there is no set formula.

On deciding to bowl first

I had a long think about it, both last night and then in the morning. The pitch was dry and I wanted to give our spinners the first go with a dry ball. I had planned for more than 20 overs of spin. Bowling second, with the dew, it would have been harder to grip the ball. And I think they responded beautifully after Irfan had set it up with three early wickets.

On Smith's belief that the toss had decided the game

It was a good toss to win, just as it was a good toss for Graeme to win in Hyderabad. Ultimately, it's about responding and performing. Winning the toss alone doesn't ensure success.

On whether Tendulkar may also be pushed down the order as Sehwag was today

Our strategies are based on each game. Veeru's been batting really well, he just hadn't gone on and got a 50. Today, he came in at two down and played beautifully, and he also took a couple of wickets. I think it just shows the kind of flexibility we possess.

On captaining the side to victory in front of his home crowd

The atmosphere was beautiful, very noisy. It was nice to lead the side, and nice to win, but it's just another game, as Chennai will be.

On whether he would classify Pathan as an allrounder

If you guys say so, he must be. You decide (smiles).

On yet another failure with the bat at the Chinnaswamy Stadium

I seem to save all my runs here for Karnataka (laughs). It was disappointing to get out so near to the target. But better to be out now than in a critical situation where the team needs runs more.

Irfan Pathan

On batting at No. 3

It's going pretty well. I'm not thinking about it, I just go out and do what the team wants.

On whether he's ready to don the allrounder's mantle

I don't think about it - whether I'm ready now or if I'll be ready later. My first job is to bowl, and I did that today.

On how he has come back after a disappointing end to the last season

I had a bad series [against Pakistan] but I've come back pretty well. The team management and my team-mates have helped, and going to play country cricket also helped a lot. I got plenty of matches, and am match-fit.

Dileep Premachandran is features editor of Cricinfo