Rajasthan Royals mentor Rahul Dravid was cautious when asked if an ideal environment exists after more than three weeks of the Pepsi-IPL-7 played in the UAE and in India, more so because of Sunil Gavaskar’s presence as interim president, BCCI for IPL-7.

In the course of a media interaction at the team hotel here on Wednesday, Dravid said: “You can never let your guard down. One of the lessons I learnt from last year is that you have always got to stay vigilant; you can never get complacent. I never believe that everything will be OK. Everyone involved in the game, the players, the support staff, the management, and the people who run the game have always got to keep their eyes and ears open.

“They also have to recognise that there will always be people wanting to spoil a very good environment. I think you can never be complacent. So far, touch wood, there is no controversy, but tomorrow something can happen. So we have to keep our eyes open.”

Rajasthan Royals, winner of the inaugural IPL in 2008, was the worst hit in last year’s IPL with a handful of players such as S. Sreesanth, Ankit Chavan, and Ajit Chandila were ejected from the tournament because of spot-fixing allegations.

Camaraderie

Dravid added: “The good thing about IPL is that there has always been camaraderie between teams; not only among players within the team, but also between players of different teams. For example many of us bumped into Jacques Kallis when we played KKR here. So that camaraderie will remain.”

The former India captain almost concurred with Gautam Gambhir’s view that he has not seen a match like the RR-KKR played here early this week.

After a 121-run stand KKR lost the match by 10 runs to RR. “It’s really a game of glorious uncertainties. I haven’t seen a game where six wickets fell in a span of eight balls. I have been part of four wickets falling. Such a collapse can happen with lower order and tail-enders. But here the top six collapsed. It shows how a Twenty20 game can change in one or two overs,” said Dravid.

Dravid also touched upon the changing phase of Twenty20 cricket. “The skills are incredible, especially the kind of shots that are being played. The bowlers also got smarter on the UAE wickets. We didn’t see a lot of high-scoring games there; that was a good thing. The grounds there had big boundary lines. That was a great positive and it gave chance to the bowlers. We have also seen success for spin bowlers. So the batsmen and bowlers are constantly innovating without changing the basics.”

Tambe praised

While praising leg-spinner Pravin Tambe, the RR mentor said: “I think he is a much bigger inspiration than I have been. Someone like Pravin who has spent so many years playing club matches and not even domestic cricket, he is just one among hundreds of thousands of players who keep playing cricket without even being part of the Ranji Trophy side. His success is just phenomenal.

“The kind of guy he is, how hard he works, how humble he remains, I think he is a great inspiration for a lot of us. The way he goes about his business at this age, how he has constantly improved and he is constantly willing to learn. His humility, his desire to learn; he lives those 240 balls of the match. He is an integral part of the team.”