The South Zone cricketers were listening to music on their flashy I-pods after the match against North was over. But not Rahul Dravid. The former India captain set his wrist watch and began jogging around the Madhavrao Scindia ground, with coach Vijay Bharadwaj counting the time taken by the batsman to complete a single lap.
After he had sweated it out, The Indian Express caught up with Dravid and he spoke about his current form in domestic cricket, his bad patch and the struggle to overcome it.
Back-to-back centuries in the Duleep Trophy, you seem to be enjoying your stint in domestic cricket?
• It has been a good outing so far, and the last couple of games went really well. I really enjoyed spending time in the middle and scoring runs. It feels nice. It’s good playing some domestic cricket. We are now hoping to lift the Duleep Trophy.
After your show in the tournament, do you feel you’re back in form?
• I’m not looking at it that way. I’m just trying to play well. Yes, things have gone pretty well, and I’m batting really well. I just want to carry the same form into the final too. Right now, I’m focused to help my team win the final.
How tough was it for you when you were going though that rough patch?
• Anyone who has played the game will tell you how frustrating it is to be out of form. I’m no exception. There are periods when things don’t go the way you want them to. But it’s part and parcel of the game and you must accept it. Such times are always difficult. I had a bad patch for a long time but I’m hopeful that this year will be a good one.
During a slump, do you talk to different people or seek advice from one?
• It depends. It’s about doing what you feel is right. Sometimes you figure things out yourself but sometimes you talk to somebody who knows your game well. It could be your team-mates or coach. Nowadays you have plenty of support staff. It depends on the individual.
You scored a century in Mohali (against England) but didn’t look like celebrating much. You did not even raise your bat.
• I wasn’t trying to do anything. I was happy to score a hundred. It’s nice to score runs, especially when they come after a while. Yes, I didn’t raise my bat towards the dressing room, but that's it. Probably I’ve become too old to jump up and down now.
Away from your family — and since you are a father now — how difficult is it to keep your focus?
• I’ve always been able to compartmentalise and pursue interests outside the game while keeping my focus on it. That was true even before I got married. When I’m playing, I’m concentrated on it. Off the field, I really enjoy being with my family.