Virender Sehwag's 219 must have sent shivers Down Under with India scheduled to tour Australia soon. And another man who'll hope to have the same reaction on the Aussies is Rahul Dravid. NDTV spoke exclusively to the Great Wall of India ahead of that crucial tour! Here are some excerpts...
Do you think India have an edge over Australia?
I don't think so. I think there are two evenly matched sides, two good sides. Definitely when you go there this time, they don't have some of the big names, some of the great players that they had in the past. But I think if you see their performance against South Africa and New Zealand, they still are a very good team and I think in home conditions they should be quite a handful. But I think we will be quite competitive as well.
Knowing that Pat Cummins is out of the series with a foot injury, will the Indians be heaving a sigh of relief?
Honestly no. He has done well but he has only played one or two Test matches. I think anybody they put on the park will be good enough like Pattinson, who they just put in and who managed to get 5 wickets in the last Test match. So irrespective of who they put they have got a good attack, it's not really going to be focussed on one particular person as such.
Are you going to Australia with a particular target in mind?
No, not really! I don't have particular targets in terms of runs but surely the target would be to win the series which we have never done. So, definitely as a team that would be one of our goals but more importantly we should prepare well and hopefully play well. It's always exciting, always great fun to play in Australia irrespective of whatever happens, it's a great contest, great challenge on and off the field as well.
Gilchrist said that with Harbhajan and Andrew Symonds not being there, there will be no fireworks this time.
Well the fireworks we hope to see will be on the cricket field. There are a lot of players who can create good fireworks on both sides. That's what the game is all out, it's not about other issues, it's about performances on the cricket field, and I think both teams have players capable of producing that. Hopefully it's a great summer, where some great cricket is played and some great performances are seen and India wins.
Many feel India's chances in Australia rest on Zaheer Khan but some believe that it will depend on the performance of the holy trinity namely Tendulkar, Laxman and you. What do you think?
I think it depends on the whole team. You can't think of performing, you can't win a game without everyone performing, that's a reality, especially in a place like Australia. You need 7-8 guys having a great tour, only then you can come away from a set of 4 matches as victors. So it's not only a set of 2 or 3 guys or Zaheer Khan or 3 people performing, it's got to be 7-8 of us performing if we want to have a chance in the series.
On 14th December you will be delivering the Don Bradman lecture and you will be the 1st Indian cricketer to do so. It will be probably on the spirit of cricket. Do you think this is the right time to remind both the teams that cricket is a gentleman's game?
I don't know what I will be talking about. I am a bit nervous that much I know, but I look forward to saying something. But you know it's nice to be giving that lecture in honour of probably the greatest cricketer that has ever been.