The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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'I value my contribution most'
- Wouldn't have mattered had I finished No. 2, says Dravid on ending 2004 as the No.1 ODI run-getter

Calcutta: Six years after a national selector acerbically suggested Rahul Dravid get serious about bowling off-breaks if he wanted to cement a berth for ODIs, the Team India vice-captain has emerged the most successful batsman in 2004.

Given that Dravid is seen more as an outstanding Test performer, few would actually have bet on the top one-day spot going to him.

'Yeah, it's something nice to end the year with' Usually, either an opener or somebody at No.3 is ahead of the rest' After all, they have the maximum overs at their disposal' I bat at No.4 or 5' Dravid told The Telegraph.

Speaking from the team hotel (Sonargaon) in Dhaka on Tuesday morning, before starting the journey home, he added: 'The feel-good bit apart, however, I don't think rankings are of much relevance' What I value most is the contribution I make' Nothing means more than the worth of what I've put in'

Dravid became No.1 after his 60 in Monday's ODI against Bangladesh, as that innings took him past Kumar Sangakkara's 1010.

Of course, had the tsunami-inflicted mayhem not touched Sri Lanka ' incidentally, the worst affected ' Wednesday's Lanka-New Zealand ODI wouldn't have been deferred (till next year) and Sangakkara would have had the chance to regain his position.

'Well, that's how things are' Yet, like I've indicated, it wouldn't really have mattered had I finished No.2,' Dravid remarked.

The vice-captain, who turns 32 on January 11, agreed that the 1999 World Cup was the proverbial turning point in his one-day career.

'Yes' That tournament made a big difference' In fact, the series in New Zealand, at the start of that year, also had an impact,' Dravid recalled.

While he totalled a handsome 461 runs (two centuries and three fifties) in the seventh World Cup, the five ODIs in New Zealand saw him get richer by 309 (one century and two fifties).

Dravid accepted that, over the years, he did work on his one-day game and respected 'positive criticism.'

It's not insignificant, perhaps, that the most visible improvement has been on the strike-rotation front. Obviously, picking gaps now comes easy.

Dravid, though, declined to talk about whether not also having to wear the big gloves made him a lot more comfortable. 'Please' I keep getting asked this' Frankly, I don't wish to say a thing,' he pointed out.

Fact, however, is that regular 'keepers have been in the XI for much of this season ' in Bangladesh, for example, the three ODIs saw Mahendra Singh Dhoni wear the big gloves.

Given a choice, Dravid would much rather just focus on batting. Yet, the exemplary team man that he is, he won't say 'no' to resuming a double role.

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