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December 18, 2005
On whether there had been moments when he felt it was all over
Probably the shoulder injury. It was tough to even think of coming back then. It took me almost two months just to be able to lift my hand. But that's where support from my wife and family helped. They egged me on, and it's been good ever since.
On whether Rahul Dravid was missed at the morning function
I've seen Rahul debut for Karnataka, and it's unfortunate that he missed this. It's the first Test he's missed, but illness is not something that you can do much about.
On receiving the memento from Sachin Tendulkar
Receiving it from Sachin [who played alongside him on his debut at Old Trafford in 1990] and the team was very special. Sometimes, words not spoken say a lot. And the respect that they show me when they interact with me says a lot.
On his most cherished memory
The first day that I walked out to play for India.
On the biggest influences in his career
I've interacted with so many people, and spoken to various cricketers down the years, so it's hard to pick out one. When I first came in, Azhar was the captain and he played a major role. Ajit Wadekar was the coach then, and Bishan Bedi was coach when I made my debut. Obviously, John Wright was a big influence these past four years. And then there's Rahul, Sachin, Sourav and Laxman...I've played most of my cricket with these guys.
On whether he ever regretted not becoming a pace bowler after starting out as one
Not at all. I wouldn't have lasted 100 matches.
On what it took to become a great legspinner
It takes time and patience to get the kind of control that you're looking for. Legspinners are attacking bowlers, and I think that the captain, the people who watch, those who write and the ones that pick and choose all need to be aware that it's a special art. It takes time to settle in.
On the future of Indian spin
Harbhajan [Singh] is only 24. And there are some good spinners in the U-19s and in domestic cricket. I've heard good things about Piyush Chawla. But it's important not to put too much pressure on a 17, 18 or 19-year-old spinner. It's important that he gets the time he needs to settle.
On whether Gautam Gambhir and Mohammad Kaif had been guilty of playing rash shots
It's always good to know in hindsight whether you played a bad shot or not. It was a short ball, and those need to be punished. That's how they play, and it was just bad luck that it went to the fielder.
On whether Sri Lanka's overdependence on Murali could cost them in the long run
It's very tough to replace someone like Murali. The results that Sri Lankan cricket has been able to achieve are almost entirely down to Murali, and Vaas as well. But each team undergoes changes, and you have young players coming in. Bandara looks pretty good for a guy playing only his fourth Test.
On how he saw the match going
It's always nice to bowl having some runs on the board. Laxman batted brilliantly today, as did Dhoni and Pathan. Both are very positive players, and when someone can come in at No.7 or 8 and get runs quickly, it always helps.
On whether he expected such a sedate effort from Laxman
The situation demanded that. We were 97 for 5 with Dhoni at the other end. And I thought he handled it wonderfully well.
Dileep Premachandran is features editor of CricinfoFeeds: Dileep Premachandran
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala