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Our team spirit is good – Dravid

Expectedly, press conferences on this tour haven’t been the most pleasant for Indian players. Dravid didn’t seem too pleased with the idea, but he agreed. He’s often had to face the media when the things are not going well.

The Dravid of old might have gone through his motions, but the new Dravid joked around and answered questions in good spirit. He made his stance on DRS clear, saying he liked it earlier, but after the technological errors in England he was not a big fan. Without being asked, he laughed off the criticism of the team’s “vacation”, a go-karting session. He also gave the Australian bowlers credit. 

Dravid said he was thankful India were touring, and weren’t really subjected to the criticism that they should be practising 24/7. “One of the good things about touring abroad, travelling away from home, is that you are in a bit of a cocoon,” he said. “You don’t tend to know what’s happening back home. In a way, that’s good. 

“I think the spirit in the team has been actually pretty good. It’s been very good. Everyone has been keen. The enthusiasm to practise … just the overall energy around the squad has been really good. Obviously, it’s a disappointment with the results we have had so far. And yeah, we’d like to do better. But, overall, in terms of the spirit, it’s been pretty good.”

Dravid was asked if there had been any motivational talks. “It’s not like we sat down and had a big meeting and discussed these things,” he said. “There are lot of conversations that happen in the dressing room, over dinner and when we go go-karting.” At which point everybody laughed. “There are lots of conversations that can happen at times like that. They are very useful. You don’t learn anything through power-point presentations.”

When asked if he had ever expected to have a 100% win record in Perth Tests, Dravid said, “We should have quit when we were ahead, right?” Then he showed enough self-deprecation to laugh at his own intensity. “I really enjoyed to come here last time,” he said. “I was really disappointed to play the shot I did on 93. It still gives me nightmares sometimes. It’s always nice to come and play in these conditions. It’s like an Australian team coming and playing on a rank turner in India, and winning a Test match. We would like to do the same thing again.”

When the serious question was asked about reports in Australian papers that all was not well between the captain MS Dhoni and vice-captain Virender Sehwag, Dravid answered seriously. “When you are down 2-0, all these things happen,” he said. “Suddenly there’s all sorts of stuff floating around. There is absolutely no truth to any of these things. Like I said, the spirit in the team is pretty good.” 

Dravid was asked if he had any plans to celebrate his 39th birthday. Nothing, he said. Just practise and sleep. Did the number 39 scare him? “Any number scares you after 30,” he said and laughed. “Actually, 40. I’ll be scared of that number.” And then he went back to practising.

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