A press conference isn't what a cricketer would wish for on a birthday, let alone his 39th, but Rahul Dravid handled it with customary good humour.
He denied allegations of the team being divided (“When you are down 2-0, all these things happen; there is absolutely no truth to any of it”), joked about his age (“Any number scares you after 30. Actually, 40. I'll be scared of that number”), and accepted several birthday wishes.
Excerpts from an interaction
On handling criticism: One of the good things about touring is that you are in a bit of a cocoon. You can never gauge the feelings of what's happening back home. The spirit has been good. The enthusiasm to practice… just the overall energy around the squad has been really good. Obviously, it's a disappointment with the results we have had so far. But, overall, in terms of the spirit, it's been pretty good.
On being bowled thrice in four innings: I've definitely worked on everything… irrespective of whether I've been bowled or not. Obviously, when you get out three times, you do think about it. I don't think there's anything that I have drastically changed. It has been a very successful last year for me. I've looked through some videos of England. Worked on a few things, I hope I can fix it.
On the challenges of the WACA: If you do well here, in these conditions, like we did last time around, we won a Test here, it gives you a great amount of thrill and satisfaction. You want to come outside the country and play in conditions like these. And do well. You know that's what you're going to be judged upon.
On whether the seniors have talked to the youngsters: It's not like we sat down and had a big meeting and discussed these things. There are lot of conversations that happen in the course of the dressing room, dinner and when we go go-karting [laughs]. You don't learn anything through PowerPoint presentations. Like I said, there's a healthy conversation going on around the team.
On counter-attacking against a relentless attack: To each his own. I don't think one should try to change anything. I can't play like Viru [Sehwag]. There's no point of Viru playing like me. It's about executing those game plans in the middle.
Obviously, that's difficult when you have three fast bowlers that keep coming at you. They bowl a lot more good balls, build a lot more pressure over a long period of time. And like I said, the key for us is going to be able to execute those plans in the middle.
On his 100 per cent record at Perth: We should have quit when we were ahead, right [laughs]? I was really disappointed to play the shot I did on 93. It still gives me nightmares sometimes. It's always nice to come and play in these conditions. It's like an Australian team coming and playing on a rank turner in India and winning a Test match. We would like to do the same thing again.
On the dangers of going down the same road as England (4-0): We had our chances in Melbourne but didn't take them. Sure, we were outplayed in Sydney. But we had our chances in Melbourne. We can take heart from that. It's important for us not to go down the same road as England.