Nagpur, Oct. 24: The buzz in the city is that son Samit, a fortnight old, has brought him luck. Try suggesting that to Rahul Dravid and he will dismiss it with a shrug.
The glow and the effervescent grin on his face are not to be missed, though. The travails of leadership have done little to disturb his mental make-up in the past few days. The relaxed attitude, so important as Greg Chappell will suggest, also seem to have rubbed off on the players.
“I’m obviously excited' looking forward to the challenge. This is a young side and there is a lot of spirit and enthusiasm among the players. The attitude is fine. I’m happy with what I’ve seen,” he said.
Dravid, who has been shuttling between his in-laws’ place in the western part of the city and Hotel Pride, added: “The expectations are always going to be there. The job entails more responsibility. There’s no extra pressure as such. I look at it as a new challenge.”
Whatever Dravid’s responsibilities, there’s no doubt Chappell is the boss.
The captain and Sachin Tendulkar are his trusted lieutenants. The restructuring and infusion of fresh ideas are set to unfold in the coming days.
On the eve of the opening match against Sri Lanka, the trio was engrossed in a conference near the square even as the rest of the players sweated it out. Will Sachin be tried out as an opener or in the middle-order' Is S. Sreeshant good enough to get the new ball'
The guesses flowed, but Chappell and Dravid didn’t wish to part with any information. “That will only make the job of the opposition easier” was their riposte.
Team India is bustling and ready for fresh challenges.
Chappell made it clear again that he is not in favour of “stereotypical” players. “I wish to use a certain player in different ways. There is no room for the stereotypical. I’m trying to change the conventional way at the moment,” he said.
“The criticism will always be there. But experimentation will carry on as well.”
“There is pressure on the players. They’ve to perform. They’re obviously judged by that but that will mean relying on external factors. So we are concentrating on what best we can do' practise hard,” Chappell said.
The former Australian captain felt India have got “the nucleus” of their 2007 World Cup side. He is aware of India’s poor performance against Sri Lanka of late. “We’ve done our planning. It’s generally one or two players who make the most impact in a one-day situation. We have taken our lessons from the past and have to be careful.”
Dravid, too, was conscious of the dismal record. “We’ve spoken about and discussed the poor record. We’ve drawn out a plan on how to handle crucial situations. This is something we’ve to keep working on. There’s no magic formula. We’ve to realise that there will be situations in a match when someone will have to stand up and be counted.”
Not for once did Sourav Ganguly’s name crop up at the news conference.