| Rahul Dravid en route to his unbeaten 110 on Day I of the first Test in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Ahmedabad: Rahul Dravid has long come out of the shadows of the Sachin Tendulkars and the Sourav Gangulys and stamped his class as a quiet genius. The sparse but vociferous Motera crowd was witness to another of his brilliant innings on Wednesday.
As he left the Media conference sipping water and applying ice packs on his tired forearms, he stopped at a nearby stall. A packet of popcorn was all he yearned for at the end of a day, which saw him leave the New Zealand bowling in tatters.
His unbroken 115-run fourth-wicket partnership with Vangipurappu Laxman and the consistency with which they manage to stitch them together in times of crisis was the talking point.
“There is no real secret behind our stands. We have batted a lot together in junior cricket and that probably helps. We know and understand each other well. We are also very conversant with each other’s style.
“He knows what I need to be told about when batting together and I can realise what keeps him going and we converse accordingly,” Dravid said.
How did they overcome the pressure when Sachin Tendulkar departed with the score at 134 for three'
“There was a little bit pressure. The game was in the balance and we couldn’t afford to lose wickets. We needed to get a partnership going and decided to take it session by session,” he explained.
The season has started on a superb note for the Indian vice-captain — a century in the Irani Trophy and now this unbeaten 110. “It’s nice and important to start a new international season with a century. Making 100 is a habit and a good one at that. I have been in good nick thus far and will try and make the most of it.
“I enjoy batting for long periods and the task wasn’t much difficult today. I kept drinking plenty of water to avoid the risk of dehydration in the heat,” he said.
How does he rate his 15th century' “Nothing special about it. I am not in favour of rating my hundreds. The team needed it and I am happy to help the side.”
Dravid doesn’t feel batting on this track was difficult. “The wicket was a bit slow but my point of view is that it’s nice to bat on and looks good now.
Hopefully, it will turn and make things difficult for the batsmen in the later stages.”
The fact that very few people were around to see this superb innings has not disappointed him.
“The festive season has just got over. Maybe people will start taking notice of our performance from now on,” he quipped.
Dravid also had a word of praise for debutant Akash Chopra. “Akash played well considering it was his first Test. He saw off the new ball quite well.”