Better infra has transformed cricket in India, says Dravid

Investing in improving cricket infrastructure outside the four metros has transformed Indian cricket, feels Rahul Dravid. Taking part in a discussion at the literature festival here on Saturday, the cricketing legend also maintained that there was enough talent to fill the void created by the retirement of cricketers including himself.

The legendary cricketer was here for the launch of “Pataudi, Nawab of Cricket,” a book on former India captain Tiger Pataudi by Suresh Menon with Pataudi’s wife and actress Sharmila Tagore in attendance. The Padma Bhushan nominee said when they discussed who was the superior of the two, Pataudi would argue that there was only one India captain while there were many actresses, evolving loud applause from the audience.

Dravid then sat down for a discussion with Rajdeep Sardesai and said huge investment in cricketing infrastructure outside the metropolitan cities had transformed Indian cricket.

English-speaking elite cricketers had been replaced with people from all over the country, including small towns, he quipped. Maintaining that there was no dearth of talent to fill the vaccuum created by the retirement of many established players including himself, the former India captain cited Cheteshwar Poojara, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwari and Rahul Sharma as good prospects for the game.

The cricketer favoured continuing cricketing ties with Pakistan but added it was difficult as many issues were involved.

Dravid also said he was truly humbled with the bestowing of the Padma award. “Seeing the list of the cricketers who received it earlier makes it all the more important”. He said “I never take it for granted.” The cricketer was cautious in revealing his future plans. “I take one thing at a time. Now I can say I will play IPL this year.”  

A known reader with a voracious appetite for serious works, Dravid said writing a book also on his agenda. He said after his retirement he spent most of the time at home apart from some media work and preparing for IPL. He said his relations with the reading is a great stress-buster. “I looked upon books as a great stress buster.”

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