Back from England, Dravid promises turnaround

Sep 22, 2011, 08:25 IST | Sai Mohan

Rahul Dravid optimistic of India's revival after ill-fated England tour

Rahul Dravid optimistic of India's revival after ill-fated England tour

Rahul Dravid, India's best batsman on the recent ill-fated tour of England is optimistic of a revival. "As a team, we should digest this loss. Hopefully, it will hurt us and we will get better from here," he told MiD DAY last evening. Dravid's value to the team was underlined with his  three Test hundreds on tour.

It's fun: Rahul Dravid during a promotional event in Mumbai yesterday.
Pic/Bipin Kokate

However, it's a tour that he wants to forget. "I definitely wouldn't compare this tour to the 2003-04 tour of Australia when I scored 600-plus runs, or the series-win in Pakistan, or even the twin fifties I hit in Jamaica that gave us a Test series win in West Indies after a long time. So, those are the kind of tours that are more satisfying. Those are the ones that I will cherish after I am done playing the game.

"However, purely from a cricketing perspective, from a personal viewpoint, this (tour of England) was some of toughest conditions I had ever encountered. Surely, scoring three hundreds on a tour like this gave me great pleasure," he said on the sidelines of a promotional event for Gillette.

Asked how he was feeling during his flight from London back home, Dravid said: "It was a bitter-sweet feeling. There was disappointment of not doing well in a high-profile series. It was a series that was built up a lot. It (such disappointments) will always stay with you, will hurt you. We didn't do well as a team. There are lessons to be learnt for me personally. A lot of the hard work that I put is paid off on this tour."

Dravid reckoned it was important for the team to form a stable bowling attack. "Obviously, bowling is the key to winning Test matches and taking 20 wickets. That was the reason we started to win many Test matches abroad in the last decade. We always had an attack that could do the job. But this series, with the injuries and all, we became quite ineffective as a bowling unit. Hopefully, we can realise that bowling is critical. If we need to remain in contention for the No 1 Test spot, we need a solid bowling attack," he said.

An emotional Dravid thanked his family and fans for pulling him through the lean patch that saw him averaging 41.00 (considerably lower than his career average) between 2007 and 2011. During that period, Dravid averaged 25.20 in three Tests in England (2007), 26.66 in three Tests in South Africa, 22.09 in six Tests in Sri Lanka, and 33.85 in four Tests in Australia.

Thank you, fans
His average was drastically higher against weaker nations like New Zealand and Bangladesh. "Honestly, I didn't fare too badly in those three or four years. But, I didn't live up to the standard that I had set for myself. And it's nice to do well for the people who stuck with me during the tough times. I don't usually get to connect with the fans so much. That's why it's nice to give them something to be happy about.

"They (the fans) get upset when you stop doing well. So, for the support I received from them, it's nice to give people a chance to smile and be happy. It makes me feel quite good," said Dravid. He hinted the importance of this winter's tour of Australia for India was to regain its Test prowess. "That's a tour we have to go into with fresh minds and fresh thoughts. We have hopefully left everything back in England. But, there are lessons to be learnt. I am confident that we will bounce back strongly," he concluded.

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