Lord's feels like home, says Dravid

Rahul Dravid is a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club, which owns the Lord’s AFP

By Julian Guyer

London: Jul 20, 2011

Rahul Dravid has his own very personal reasons for wanting to play in the 2,000th Test match, between England and India, which starts at Lord’s on Thursday.It was at the ‘home of cricket’ where the 38-year-old India batting star scored 95 on his Test debut back in 1996.

“This place always brings back some very special memories,” Dravid told reporters at Lord’s here on Tuesday.”I always feel in some strange way at home, I feel this is a place of cricket, I feel this is a place that understands cricket.”I even come here when I am not playing,” added Dravid, a member of the world cricket committee of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which owns Lord’s.

“That first innings, meant a lot to me. I had played five years of first-class cricket. I had some good fortune to be able to play that Test match, there were a few injuries and I was lucky to get an opportunity.”I knew it might be my only chance and I’d have to go back to India and start again — and a lot of batsmen score first-class runs in India.

“I never expected that I’d be here 15 years later talking about it.”Dravid, recalling his debut innings in what turned out to be a drawn match, added: “I knew when I was 50 not out I had a bit more breathing space. It gave me a lot of confidence.”Thursday’s clash also marks the 100th Test between England and India and could see Sachin Tendulkar, a longstanding team-mate of Dravid’s, become the first player to score 100 international hundreds — the ‘Little Master’ already has 51 in Tests and 48 in one-day internationals, both records.

“It would be very nice,” said Dravid when asked about the possibility of Tendulkar reaching the landmark at Lord’s — a ground where both India batsmen have yet to make a Test century.”There are a lot of stats being quoted about this Test but it makes no difference once the first ball is bowled,” Dravid, who has scored over 12,000 Test runs at an average of more than 52 with 32 hundreds, said.

This four-match series series pits India, number one in the world Test rankings, against a third-placed England team who could leapfrog their visitors into top if they emerge two wins clear at the finish.And an extra dimension will be added by the fact that Duncan Fletcher, for so long England’s coach and the man who oversaw their revival as a Test force in the 2000s, is now in charge of India.

“We are still getting used to his sense of humour,” said Dravid, to much laughter from English reporters who rarely saw that side of the former Zimbabwe all-rounder.

“He does have one.”He’s been a good calm presence in the dressing room.His technical knowledge and the conversations we’ve had about batting, he’s seen a lot of situations,” explained Dravid, who unlike Tendulkar was not rested from India’s recent 1-0 win in a three-Test series in the West Indies.

During his career the stylish Dravid has often been hailed as a classic Test match batsman and someone unafraid to occupy the crease when required in order to ‘bat time’, hence his nickname of ‘The Wall’.Similar compliments have been paid recently to the in-form England pair of Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott.

Dravid, asked if he was glad there was still a place for the art of Test-match batting in an era of Twenty20 cricket, jokingly replied: “You mean making it boring? My strike-rate hasn’t gone up, everyone else’s seems to.”

The proposal put forward by International Cricket Council (ICC) chief excecutive Haroon Lorgat that the inaugural world Test championship final, due to be played in England in 2013, be a ‘timeless’ match, would appear ideally suited to Dravid’s abilities.

“I wouldn’t mind batting three or four days, but the bowlers wouldn’t like it,” Dravid said. Rahul Dravid star scored 95 on his Test debut at Lord’s back in 1996.