INTERVIEW WITH RAHUL DRAVID

"We are happy to be here and the over security thing doesn't play up on our minds"

By SHAHID HASHMI
Jan 30 - Feb 05, 2006

Indian skipper Rahul Dravid on arrival in Pakistan observed, "There will be tremendous interest in this series.I didn't think I would captain India when I made it to the Indian team in 1996. All I thought of was to establish myself as a batsman. After some years I got the vice-captaincy, then the captaincy. So it's been a gradual progression. It's not going to be a major difference this time. I have always thought it was important to play well abroad, in different conditions and I think I will aim for the same here. I think we have a good side with everyone contributing. It's important we continue to do the same. On less hype than 2004: There may be less hype than the 2004 series but from players point of view its always an important series. When India play Pakistan, its a pressure series. It always pump up players to give their best.

"On Shoaib Akhtar, Any bowler who is doing well is an asset to the team. Shoaib is also a very good bowler but we are up against their all bowlers so we would try to play well against all their bowlers. We are not tagetting any individual players, if they want to do that, its their strategy. My biggest challenge at the moment is to try and get my son to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night.

"On Sehwag's 254 in first Test the pace at which Veeru scored was pretty exceptional. He makes other batsman look like foolish. Some of the shots he hit were a joy to watch from the other end. Even thought it was a flat wicket, some of the shots he hit against the spinners were special. It's hard to match Veeru. He sometimes plays an incredible shot to a ball which I would have defended. It's important not to get carried away. I needed to ensure I didn't get out and put pressure on him."

On missing world record first wicket stand, "It was one of those things. It would have been nice had it come. Veeru plays that way - attacking and positive. He played a similar shot to get from 199 to 200. Lot of times, when people get out, it looks like why did they play that shot .. but when he's on song there is some exceptional batting. Veeru was a bit disappointed on missing the world record."

After the second Test, "I didn't expect them to set me a target to be very honest with you it was a pretty flat wicket and the way we batted in the two test matches so I was not expecting them to set us a target. For all five days wicket was dificult for bowlers it was not easy but it was good that a bowler who made debut for us got Man of the Match award. The way we have responded to big totals in both innings and the kind of starts we are getting. You prepare another wicket like this then it will be a draw.

"We had two very good series When we came here in 2004 Andy Atkinson I thought prepared I thought one of the best wickets I have played in my career. There was two great series because of quality of wicket. Before Karachi Test It looks like a good wicket. It might do a bit for the bowlers initially but would then help batting. I hope it gives a result because the first two Tests have ended in draws. I don't agree that after two draws the interest of the public will wane because Sachin Tendulkar was saying that there were four draws in the 1989-90 series and the interest remained. Playing in security packed Karachi, We are happy to be here and the over security thing doesn't play up on our minds."