Rahul Dravid’s tips before the England tour had a positive impact on India’s inexperienced batting line-up as they managed to win a Test match at Lord’s after 28 years. The former India captain may not be having another session with the Indian team before they leave this month for a four-Test series in Australia starting December 4, but his tips are invaluable nevertheless.
Rahul Dravid during a promotional event at a city hotel yesterday. Pic/Sameer Markande.
Dravid, who retired after the 0-4 drubbing in Australia in 2011-12, is keen that the Indian batters don’t repeat the mistakes they made on their last tour Down Under. During the 2011-12 tour, India’s famed batting line-up collapsed with only Sachin Tendulkar among the senior batsmen crossing the 200-run mark in four Tests.
“The real challenge will again be on and outside the off stump, and the bounce that you have to counter. Knowing where your off stump is will be critically important because if you play a ball on the fifth stump, there is a good chance that you might actually end up nicking it to the slips and edges do carry there,” Dravid, who boasts of an impressive batting average of 52.31 from 164 Tests, said on sidelines of a promotional event yesterday.
“One of the good things about playing in Australia is that their wickets are quite true. So if you do get set, unlike England, where the ball can seam and swing sometimes throughout the day, once you get set in Australia, you can score runs,” said Dravid, who has experienced four tours to Australia since 1999-2000, scoring 1,166 runs in 16 Tests that included six half-centuries and a century. His most successful outing came in the 2003-04 tour, where he accumulated 619 runs (three 50s and a 100) in four matches.
The Australian tour will also provide skipper MS Dhoni another chance to improve his overseas Test record. The win at Lord’s against England was Dhoni’s first overseas Test win in 14 matches, but thereafter India went on to lose the series 1-3.
Hoping for a better show
Dravid is hoping for a better show this time Down Under. “If you look at India’s record in the last three series, we came close in South Africa, New Zealand and then we won a Test match in England. I think that’s a positive. I feel at least they are going in the right direction. They have got some experience, this young team, but it is not going to be easy. I am not going to be standing here and saying India will win the series, but I’m hoping that they put up a good performance,” said Dravid.
Unlike in England, Dravid is hoping for some consistency in India’s performances in Australia. “The first part of the England tour went really well. Obviously, in the last three Test matches India struggled. But I’m hoping they will have a little more consistency in this series and irrespective of the results, actually play some good competitive cricket which could then be the making of a really good Indian side for the future,” the Bangalorean signed off.