| Rahul Dravid
Kingston: Taking off from Mumbai and touching down here (early Saturday, back in India) took exactly 24 hours. It was a demanding journey, but Team India captain Rahul Dravid showed no signs of wear-and-tear, despite having shared infant son Samit’s duties with wife Vijeta.
“It’s part of the game... We have some days to recover before the tour-opener (a limited overs match on Tuesday)... So, we’ve got time,” he told the half-a-dozen Indian journalists, who flew with the team, on arrival in picturesque Kingston.
This, of course, is Dravid’s first trip to the West Indies as captain. “It’s nice to be back... I was here as a youngster (in 1997) and returned as a more established player five years later... I look forward to enjoying the tour and, hopefully, the results will be better.”
While India did win the one-dayers in 2002, under Sourav Ganguly, the last Test series success was way back in 1971 when Ajit Wadekar was at the helm.
Aware that the hype is on the World Cup, to be hosted by the West Indies in ten months, Dravid said: “It’s important to stay in the present and not look too far ahead... Processes are in place and we’ve done well to not focus on the results alone.”
He added: “The youngsters are excited and they should enjoy the atmosphere... There’s a great buzz in these parts and there’s so much history and tradition.”
Incidentally, vice-captain Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Ajit Agarkar, Mohammed Kaif and Yuvraj Singh are the only ones besides Dravid to have toured the West Indies before. However, it’s a hattrick for the captain alone.
Asked whether it was easier playing (and captaining) away from home, Dravid replied: “The challenges are different... Personally, I’ve always enjoyed playing away... It’s nice to just stay in a team cocoon... Be in a team environment... It helps being insulated...”
The Indians were received, among others, by former West Indies wicketkeeper, selection committee chairman and manager Jackie Hendricks. Also a one-time Match Referee, Hendricks is president of the Jamaica Cricket Association.
Meanwhile, Saturday was a day off bat and ball for Team India. “The boys need to recover and, so, only a pool session, yoga and a bit of running got scheduled,” manager Ranjib Biswal informed The Telegraph.
The managership is a first for this senior national selector and former MP.