Similar roles and objectives make Rahul Dravid and Ricky Ponting intense characters on the field. Leading their respective teams, the two stalwarts have a task to perform, to whip the combination into a winning unit.
Dravid was an awesome winner on Wednesday night against a hapless Ponting.
Dravid was concise. “Everything had its importance. The start by (Shane) Watson and (Ajinkya) Rahane in the first six overs and the bowling in the first six overs by (Ajit) Chandila and (Ankeet) Chavan were crucial. I believe we controlled the match during those two phases.”
Launching spin at both ends was not unique. “It is not the first time that Chandila has opened the bowling. He mostly bowls the opening over. Chavan bowls within the first six overs. We experimented by promoting Dishant (Yagnik), because it was important to maintain the momentum. Dishant batted beautifully in the two matches he had played.”
Dravid justified S. Sreesanth’s omission and insisted it had nothing to do with his Twitter assault on Harbhajan Singh. “He (Sreesanth) is just emerging from an injury and can’t play every match. He had played four matches on the trot and we would have rested him in any case.”
The pitch by curator Taposh Chatterjee came in for praise from Dravid. “It was a good cricket wicket. If you are a good batsman you score. There was help for the bowlers, too. Taposh and his team have done a wonderful job.”
Ponting agreed. “The wicket was good as you can see by the first innings of the game. Rajasthan obviously batted very well. We can’t blame the conditions for our performance. We were just outplayed by a better team tonight.”
Ponting was self-critical too. “Two guys at the top of the order (he and Tendulkar) have not done their jobs as required by the team. Both of us need to play better.”