Dravid ready to spearhead RCB challenge

Experienced players have a role in T20 version, says ace batsman

 Rahul Dravid signs autographs at a function in Bangalore on Tuesday. DH Photo

They got the answer during the first edition of the Indian Premier League when Dravid emerged the top run-getter for Royal Challengers Bangalore, amassing 371 runs from 14 matches at an impressive strike rate of 124.49. If viewed through the prism of romanticism it was a brave effort from an unyielding soldier.

For Dravid, ever the meticulous planner, it was all about changing the mindset without altering the basics that helped him to fetch more than 20,000 runs in Tests and one-dayers. “Adapting to three different formats is little bit of mindset change. But the skills of the game remain the same. It is still a game between bat and ball, still played over 22 yards and still 11 players in the side,” Dravid said on Tuesday during an interaction.

Detailing on the skill level needed in T20, the Bangalorean said, “All you are doing is, perhaps, playing a few more shots, a bit quicker in the T20 format. But I believe there is value for good cricketing shots irrespective of the format you play. That’s never going to change. There might be some improvisations, but the basics will remain the same.”

But has the quicker pace of T20 pushed the older players a step behind the youngsters? Dravid chose to disagree. “Guys who have been around for long have the nous. They know how to change, they can figure out how to handle these changes. Probably, the younger guys, who do not have the baggage of being around for long time, are fresher and make the changes more quickly. So it works both ways and it should be a blend of youth and experience. In that sense, Royal Challengers are blessed with a good team combination.”

Dravid, a firm advocate of the tradition and history of cricket, did not shy away from the fact that T20 would constitute an important part in the future of the sport, and said it was imperative for the youngsters to learn the skills of the ultra-abridged version.

“T20 is a very important part for a 20-21 year-old cricketer. It is important for a youngster to learn and manage the T20 skills as this version is here to stay. When I was 20-21 there was no concept of T20, but I knew that 50 overs was going to be a part of the game, so I had to learn the intricacies of that format. So as a youngster you need to learn the skills required for all three formats of the game, at least now, so that you can excell in all of them and not just one.”

The former Indian captain said the Champions League, beginning on Thursday, will be an exciting tournament. “The challenge of the CL is that people come together from different parts just a few days ahead of the tournament. So it is one of the tricky areas of the competition. Lot of teams have not played against each other, amounting to the unknown. I think that adds to the excitement factor. It will be exciting to play against guys you have never played before.”

DH News Service

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