London: Rahul Dravid has said he was too confused in the heat of the moment to contest the decision that ruled him out, caught behind off James Anderson in the second innings of the Edgbaston Test, when replays showed he'd actually hit his shoelace and not the ball. He also said, speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he wished he had gone for a review.
Dravid appeared to have nicked a James Anderson delivery in the 16th over but replays later showed it was the bat hitting the laces of his shoe that had caused the noise thought to be the edge. Dravid had seemed unconvinced of the decision at first but following a word with the non-striker, Sachin Tendulkar, decided not to use the DRS.
"My first instinct was that I had not hit it," Dravid said in a video interview. "But there was a loud noise, and I couldn't figure out where it had come from. I knew I hadn't hit the ground, or my pad, or my shoe, so it confused me as to where the noise had come from. But I didn't think I had touched it. So I asked my partner and he said there was a big noise. So I had Simon Taufel, one of the best umpires in the world, ruling me out, my partner saying it was out and I myself had heard the noise. I thought maybe it was just one of those instances where I hadn't felt the edge.
"As soon as I got back to the dressing room I told the guys I had to see the replay. I wanted to know where I had touched it (the ball). I could never have imagined it was a shoelace. It was disappointing because I've been batting well and if I had batted longer with Sachin, who played well in that innings, and if we had seen off Anderson's spell before lunch, we could have at least put up a bigger fight."
It was an odd sequence of play, with the strange dismissal preceded by Dravid running off the field in between overs. He explained it was a simple matter of a full bladder. "I rushed off the field because my bladder was full and I wanted to relieve myself. It is an uncomfortable feeling to bat with a full bladder, so I did not want it on my mind."
Dravid has been India's most-successful batsman on what has been a dismal tour of England so far, and after he fell at Edgbaston, the rest of the line-up offered little resistance and India slumped to their third-biggest defeat in Tests. The result meant England replaced India as No. 1 in the ICC's Test rankings, the final blow, in what Dravid admitted had been a difficult series for India.
"It's been a hard series for a combination of reasons. The pitches have been conducive to good swing bowling, and also the quality of the England bowling has been superb. Their seamers have bowled beautiful lengths, and have pitched the ball up. We expected England to be good in this series, but we expected ourselves to be better."
While the rest of India's batsmen, including Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, the other seniors in the India squad, have struggled to deal with the conditions and England's bowling, Dravid has managed two centuries in six innings. He said there had been a change in his mental approach to the game since his early years.
"Early in my career, I used to try to block out thoughts while I was batting and that was very tiring. Now I let my mind wander a bit. I recognise that it is wandering and that helps bring me back to reality. I take a couple of deep breaths and that gets me focussed."
While Dravid heaped praise on England, he pointed out they still had to win in India. "You have to do well in conditions in which you haven't done well. England haven't won in India for 27 years, so they have to do that. They've got the team and the skills to do it but it still needs to be done. Hopefully we can stop them from doing that." England will play four Tests in India at the end of 2012.
Down 0-3 in the current series, India go into the fourth Test at The Oval with little to play for but pride. Dravid, though, said they were also thinking about climbing back to the No. 1 spot. "Of course we want to play for pride and to show people what we can do. But also the goal now is to get back to No. 1 and for that every Test matters."