Kingston (Jamaica), June 23 (IANS): After rescuing the Indian innings with a gritty century, Rahul Dravid advised the youngsters in the team to fight it out in the middle rather than throwing away their wicket away.
Dravid “The Wall” was the epitome of patience in his 112-run knock on day three of first Test against the West Indies and single-handedly put India ahead in the match.
Dravid was the only Indian batsman to weather the storm against some inspiring bowling by the West Indies. The next best was Suresh Raina, who scored 27. The others fell cheaply in India’s second innings total of 252.
The 38-year-old said he was pleased that he could deliver for the team in trying circumstances.
“One of the things I tell the younger guys is that you have to weather the storm, the intensity of a particular spell, that will last for 6-10 overs. In Test cricket you need to fight your way through and then things will become easier. You can get caught up a bit with things happening in the middle, people making a lot of noise, the ball flying around or spinning past you.”
“I have committed that mistake, and thinking becomes really hard. But if you fight your way through that period, things will become a bit easier like a bowling change or the bowlers will get tired,” Dravid said.
The veteran batsman says he loves a contest.
“It is because I love the contest I still enjoy the sport. It is also good for me because we found ourselves a bit against the wall, and I had to fight my way through it. At this stage of your career you play because you love the contest, and want to make an important contribution to the team. It’s a satisfactory feeling when you are in the middle of a situation like this and make a difference.”
Dravid overcame a fiery spell from pacer Ravi Rampaul early in the day and went on to score his 32nd Test ton. He said he backed himself to get through that tough period.
“He (Rampaul) kept things tight for me and it was a good contest. I knew I had to get through that 7-8 over of good quality bowling from him. But you need to back yourself to fight through it rather than throwing it away.”
Dravid, who has scored more than 12,000 runs in 151 Tests, admitted that playing after a six months’ break was a taxing experience.
“It was tough physically, especially coming off after a long journey and getting up early in the morning. It was pretty hot out there, and I have not played a Test in a long time. You can do as much training as possible: sit on a bike in gym and run laps around the ground. But for batting and fielding fitness, you need to have practice.”
“With these breaks, I guess it takes some more time to get into the groove. But it’s not easy for someone like me who needs to bat long – I sweat a lot – so physically and mentally, it has always been a good contest. That’s why I work hard on my fitness.”