Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dravid scales yet another height

There comes a stage in every successful cricketer's life when personal milestones cease to matter. Rahul Dravid is never going to scale the peaks Sachin Tendulkar has, and statistically speaking there is little left to achieve. He had a two-year shot at the captaincy and relinquished the role voluntarily, ticking the leadership ambition box. The only avenue left for Dravid to continue taking enjoyment from the game is contributing positively to the team's cause.Then he hangs up his boots, the one thing Dravid will miss the most is that winning feeling, and he knows as much.Since I was a young kid, I have loved batting, loved being part of victories, said Dravid. "That sort of gives me the challenge now --- it's not really the number of runs I score now, centuries I score now. It's really about making contributions to winning Test matches. That's what gives me satisfaction. I love what the game has taught me over the years and what it is teaching me even today."On a day when he set a good platform with his batting --- 66 is no reason to celebrate for someone who has crossed 50 on 80 occasions in Tests --- Dravid spoke with genuine keenness on Monday's feat of equalling Mark Waugh's record of 181 catches, returning to the team aspect of this achievement."Taking catches has probably given me as much pleasure as scoring runs --- being part of someone else's success as a catcher. That has been a thrilling experience for me," said Dravid. "To have taken so many catches is also a reflection of the quality of attacks that I have played with for India. Srinath, Zaheer, Venky, Anil, Harbhajan, so many of them."While Dravid has not played an ODI since October 2007, he feels little angst about that part of his life (10,585 runs from 333 matches) being over, and is relishing the current phase of his career. "It has been an enjoyable period for me. I've actually had the time off to go back and play some domestic cricket, to work on my fitness and work on my cricket," said Dravid. "I am always happiest doing that --- when I am able to work hard and spend time in the nets."Just as much of the young ODI unit's success was linked to how happy they are as a group, being at peace with his role in the side and knowing his place in the scheme of things in the evening of his career is bringing Dravid success.

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