India remained unbeaten in the ICC Champions Trohpy 2013 tournament © Getty Images
Mumbai: Jun 27, 2013
Former skipper Rahul Dravid on Thursday hailed the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team’s triumph in the ICC Champions Trophy and said this was a much-needed shot in the arm for Indian cricket in the aftermath of the IPL spot-fixing scandal.
“I think we needed a good positive story. We needed some cheer in our cricket. We needed some happiness in our cricket. There is no doubt about that. I think it’s great that we had lot of positive stories to write about in these two or three weeks,” Dravid said.
“As an Indian fan, it was a heartening tournament to watch for me personally, just to see how well the team played but also from a point of view that it was a great story for Indian cricket at a time like this,” Dravid told reporters at a Gillette event.
The Indian team enjoyed an unbeaten run at the eight-team ICC event and capped its brilliant performance by lifting the trophy for the first time outright by beating hosts England by five runs in a truncated final at Birmingham last Sunday.
The team had departed to England in the wake of a spot-fixing and betting scandal in IPL that resulted in the arrest of three players from Rajasthan Royals, a team led by Dravid in the T20 league, as well as Chennai Super Kings team principal and son-in-law of BCCI President N Srinivasan, throwing Indian cricket into deep turmoil.
The 40-year-old former batting mainstay further hailed the selectors for their bold decision to induct young legs in the team but did not rule out the possibility of axed seniors like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh from making a comeback.
“I think hats off to the selectors in this particular Champions Trophy. They have been brave and they made some calls in which they could have been criticised. But it has worked out for them. When they do those things, you need to give them credit.
“I think credit to the team, Dhoni and his boys for playing one of the finest overseas tournament I have seen, any Indian team play in a long long time,” he said.
Dravid added, “I think it has been a fantastic tournament for India. They have played exceptional cricket. By far, they were the dominating team in the competition. Dhoni has done a great job with the team.
“As well as I thought, all the youngsters who have got the opportunity have looked up to their potential in this tournament. It is really exciting times for Indian cricket.”
Asked if the victorious bunch was the team for the future, Dravid said the youngsters need to capitalise on the start they have got.
“We would like to believe that (this is the team for the future). But as you know in cricket, you have to keep performing all the time. As fans of the game and as fans of Indian cricket, we can hope that these guys go on and establish themselves and build on the start that they have got,” he said.
The ‘Wall’ also said the seniors who were dropped from the side could make a comeback but said it would be difficult for them as those who were picked in their place had performed well.
“There is never an end for anybody. I have been around cricket long enough to know things can change very quickly.
And all the players who missed out are class players. You can never say when they perform and when they come back. Never say never for anybody.
“Obviously the guys are performing and it has become difficult. There is still some lot of quality and class in people who were left out. They may bounce back as well,” he said.
Dravid also said he will play in the Champions League T20 tournament.