August 22, 2011 9:13:06 am
The lone Indian batsman to click in what has been a miserable Test series against England,Rahul Dravid conceded that his side has been beaten by a much better team and the collective failure of the visitors needs introspection.
“Sadly,collectively it’s been a tough tour. It’s been a long time since it has happened. Generally 2-3 guys succeed in every series,people have bad tours but this is rare all batsmen have not played as a unit which is sad,” he said at the end of the fourth day’s play of the fourth and final Test here.
“We’ve been found wanting against a better team and we need to look at the set of skills we have and how we need to get better at it,” he added.
Dravid’s superb form has been in complete contrast to the wretched run of his teammates but he did not put it down to lack of effort on their part.
“It’s not for lack of effort with the guys. But cricket at the end of the day is a mental game also. It’s also about the space of your mind and how you get it right,” said Dravid who has scored three centuries in four matches,including the unbeaten 146 yesterday.
Dravid said India’s batting failure and England’s bowling superiority has led to his side’s series loss.
“(Our poor performance) has been a combination of things. Their bowling has been very good,they have shown a lot of discipline the ball has swung at pace right throughout,sometimes in 70-80 overs,the wickets have been spicy and we have not been on top of our game.
“There are lessons to be learnt. England are a well-drilled team at top of their game. They have good skills,good fitness. We were not up to scratch and they showed us. There are lessons to be learnt,things to work upon and get better,” said Dravid who became the fourth highest century maker in Test history with his 35th ton.
“It’s been very satisfying for the quality of my batsmanship against a very good bowling attack. It’s an attack which has all of its bases covered,” said Dravid.
Inevitably,Dravid was drawn to reply by mediapersons on his opening the Indian innings after Gautam Gambhir could not do the job yesterday as he was rushed to the hospital.
“It did help because of the rain break (yesterday),I had an idea England would declare and I would be opening. Generally when I have to rush in and come out,I feel rushed,” he said.
Dravid was asked how he recovered his breath in the 10 minutes between India’s two innings and whether somebody in the Indian team offered to open the second innings in his place.
“There wasn’t any debate. Gautam was still not feeling great. I knew I would be opening. I stretched,took a bit of liquid. 10 minutes is not a very long time. It wasn’t ideal but these were exceptional circumstances.
“Even while I was batting,I was mentally ready,it was back of mind right through (that I could be opening the second innings in a short while),” he said.
Dravid hoped Tendulkar would come good on the final day and his side would be able to draw the match.
“Hopefully Sachin would have his big day the whole of England has been waiting for this summer. We would have been happy if Laxman was still around. Losing him towards the close was a blow. It does make a difference with two set batsmen coming the next day and bat out for one hour. It gives confidence to dressing room.
“The first session is really important. The way Sachin is batting,he is looking good. We are hoping to draw this Test,” he said.
Dravid had words of praise for off-spinner Graeme Swann and rated him one of the better tweakers he has faced in his career.
“He bowled well,he varies his pace and is a clever bowler. The wicket was assisting him for the first time. He utilised it… he is up there with some of the better ones I have played,” said Dravid.
It could be the final Test for Dravid in England where,likewise in the present series,he also had three centuries in 2002.
“In 2002,it was a younger team. We were at the peak of our career then. We do realise some of us are towards the end (of our career) than at the beginning.
“Hopefully,some of the young guys would establish their place and set new standards and benchmark for Indian cricket. There is a lot of talent,ball-striking ability. Test cricket is hard learning school and given time and space they would find to learn.”
Dravid showed a sense of hurt when he challenged England to do as well in India as they have done here in home conditions.
“They were superior to us in home conditions. They come to India next year sometimes. Whatever the Indian team is,it would look to address and correct this series. Those will be our conditions. How the series goes in our conditions will be England’s biggest challenge,” he said.
“It’s not easy for a lot of sides. Australia and West Indies came and won. England needs to come and do it. They have skills and players but it still needs to be done. Lot of teams who came had skills but they did not win in India. We would be looking forward to that.”
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