The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dravid ready to continue playing double role
- Winning the series Down Under obviously the next goal, says vice-captain

Bangalore: India vice-captain Rahul Dravid, who kept wickets at this year’s World Cup, could don the gloves again in a one-day tri-series against Australia and New Zealand next month.

The 30-year-old top-order batsman, who had agreed to take on the responsibility of makeshift keeper only until the World Cup in South Africa, said on Tuesday he was not averse to further duty behind the stumps if the team asked.

“Initially, the wicketkeeping idea was till the World Cup,” Dravid said. “But at the end of the day, we’ll assess the situation based on whatever decision is taken by the team and the selectors.

“We have a good crop of young ’keepers and we’re hoping one of them steps up to the plate and does the job.” But he added in case the youngsters failed to deliver, it would be a good idea to ask some other player to double up as a ’keeper.

“If the youngsters don’t (perform) you need an alternative. And it need not be just me alone, it could be anybody,” he said.

Dravid’s main focus for the new season after a nine-month Test layoff for the Indian team, however, will be a two-Test series against New Zealand starting in Ahmedabad on October 8.

“It’s almost eight months since we played a Test. I’ll have to get back into that frame of mind. This week and the next month is really about that,” he said.

Talking about personal goals, Dravid said: “Obviously, to win the series in Australia.... That would be fantastic.”

Dravid hit a purple patch with the bat last year, when he struck five of his 14 Test centuries and amassed 1357 runs at an average of 59.

He scored three straight centuries in England, including a career-best 217 at The Oval, and followed them up with a ton against West Indies to become the fourth player after Everton Weekes, Australian Jack Fingleton and South African Alan Melville to score centuries in four consecutive Test innings.

“It was quite a good year,” Dravid said.

“The England tour especially was good for me. We had a bit of an up and down series against West Indies when we lost the Tests and won the one-dayers. We then had a tough time in New Zealand but we picked it up in the World Cup.”

The veteran of 69 Tests, in which he has scored 5614 runs at 53.46, also had a successful run with Scotland in the domestic English one-day league in the last couple of months.

“Scotland was a good experience, very different from playing regular County cricket. It was good to be part of something which was new and unique for Scotland and there’s a bit of the buzz happening around the place because they’re debutants.”

Dravid scored 600 runs in 11 matches at 66.66, easily outclassing the other Indians involved in the English domestic championships — Mohammed Kaif, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag.

He welcomed BCCI’s move to arrange lectures by prominent personalities for the ongoing camp “Prannoy Roy’s lecture yesterday was “brilliant,” he remarked.

Dravid also indicated the graded payment system will soon be implemented by the BCCI and it’s just a question of getting the “finer things” in place.

“The BCCI is very positive and open. We have discussed the matter. It will take a little bit of time... Sooner rather than later,” he said.

“It is just a question of getting finer things in place,” he said, adding that the contract system will benefit both the players and the BCCI.

Dravid sees it as a “partnership” between the BCCI and players. “It will make the players feel that they are being taken care of by the BCCI and remind them about their responsibility towards the Board and the country.”

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