The upcoming Test series between India and Australia, starting onFebruary 22, would have a significant impact on the future of both teams, legendary batsman Rahul Dravid said here on Saturday.
Dravid, who was here to participate in the literature festival, said both India and Australia, having lost several senior players in the last six-eight months, were in a transitional phase.But what were India’s chances against Australia, especially in view of its disappointing performance in the recent Test series against England? “Australia also just lost to South Africa, so we are even-steven on that front,” Dravid said, referring to Australia’s recent home series.Asked whether a good cricketer always turned out to be a good commentator, he said while long years of playing cricket at the highest level did enrich a player’s perspective, the two were different skills. “In fact, some of the best cricket writing I have seen has been from those who have not played cricket at the highest level,” he said.
The former India batsman said cricket history needed to grow out of the boundaries of the English language and be available in Hindi and other regional languages.
‘Grateful for Padma Bhushan’
He said he was “extremely grateful” and “humbled” on receiving the Padma Bhushan. “The people of this country have loved me so much for just playing a sport, which was something I really enjoyed doing,” he said, adding he never took it for granted.
Post-retirement, Dravid said he was spending a lot of time with his family and had also been preparing for the Indian Premier League.
Earlier, in conversation with journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, he said that Sunil Gavaskar’s autobiography, Sunny Days, was his favourite cricket book and had inspired him a lot as a young boy.
“Unlike in the 1950s and 60s when most cricketers came from big cities, had a good education and spoke good English, a lot of young cricketers in recent times have come from smaller cities. Is that because these are the cities where the passion of the game now lives,” Mr. Sardesai asked Dravid, who replied that it was mainly because facilities had really improved in the smaller cities.
Regionalism in Indian cricket
Asked whether regionalism, which was widely prevalent earlier, was still around in the Indian cricket scene, the former India captain said he would like to believe it wasn’t. He pointed out how the Ranji teams nowadays had players from all over the country, instead of players from just a particular State.