'It's nice to know we are seen as a competitive side abroad'

'It's nice to know we are seen as a competitive side abroad'

Great feeling to be ranked number one Test team, gushes Dravid

'It's nice to know we are seen as a competitive side abroad'

Rahul Dravid

The former skipper has been an integral, influential member of an Indian team that has steadily established itself as a formidable side all over the world, and marshalled significant series triumphs in the West Indies in 2006 and England the following year before stepping down from the hot seat in September 2007.

“This has been a long process, a journey that from my perspective began when I made my Test debut, in 1996,” Dravid told Deccan Herald. “As an individual, when you go out to play, you want to be the best you can be, day in and day out. It’s no different as far as the team is concerned, as well.

“I have faced some tough times early in my career, there were a lot of disappointments from a team perspective,” he went on. “For someone like me, therefore, to be a part of the team that is ranked number one in the world is very satisfying. What is equally, if not more, satisfying is the kind of cricket we have played in the last 18-24 months.”

Dravid said he did not believe there was a single breakthrough series, one decisive moment that accelerated the climb to the top. “Like I said, where we are today is a reflection of the quality of cricket we have showcased for a while now. At the beginning of my career, we always began as underdogs when we toured, the expectations were that we would be beaten away from now.

“It’s nice to see that today, we are viewed as a competitive team not just at home but overseas too. People have started to expect us to win when we travel, other teams too know that they are in a fight. That’s a wonderful turnaround.

“The rankings might change hands depending on how much Test cricket you play in the future, and unfortunately, we don’t have too many Tests lined up at the moment. It is thus important that we continue to keep playing the way we have been every time we get out into the middle, that we start to win Test series in Australia and South Africa whenever we play there.”

Tremendous confidence

There is a growing feeling that this Indian team is unfazed by adversity. “There is a tremendous confidence within the group,” Dravid acknowledged.

“We feel we have the personnel that can respond to any situation, that can bail the team out of any crisis. Sometimes, to come away with scrappy draws is as important as winning games. In the recent past, we have earned draws from difficult positions in matches that we might have lost sometime back.

“Such hard-fought draws from near impossible situations do as much for the confidence of the team as big wins, and there is the genuine belief that there is enough quality in the team to rise to whatever the challenge might be.”