'Take lessons from Somerset tie to Lord's Test'
Indian batting ace Rahul Dravid says it is vital that India gets off to a good start in the four-Test series, beginning Thursday.
It's in the news for some time now. And the hype it has generated is tremendous. Yes, we are referring to the upcoming India-England Test series.
With English captain Andrew Strauss keeping it at par with the Ashes, the series has suffered from over-publicity even before a ball has been bowled.
And it was left to the astute acumen of Rahul Dravid to bring down the hype quotient.
Asked to compare the series with other big match-ups, Dravid, who led India to a memorable triumph the last time they played a Test series in England (2007), refused to draw a comparison.
"You can't compare two different series," was his matter-of-fact response.
Image: Rahul Dravid during a practice session at Lord's ground
Photographs: Getty Images
India playing England is big
The 36-year-old proceeded to elaborate his point.
"Maybe, for some, an India-Pakistan series has more significance," he explained, adding, "maybe, for some, it is the Ashes!
"India playing England is big, especially as far as the teams are concerned. But we can't compare it with any other series."
Dravid was quick to point out what he feels has ensured the series the hype it is getting.
"This series is definitely a high-profile one. What adds an edge to the series is the fact that both the teams are coming into it with good results in recent times," he said.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar talks to Duncan Fletcher during a practice session at Lord's cricket ground
'Starting well is important'
Considering it is an important series for the visitors, with their No.1 ranking at stake, Dravid was categorical about the area in which India needs to step up should they aspire to repeat their feat of 2007.
"Starting well is important," he declared. "It is an area where we haven't been as good in recent times as we can be."
With the first Test starting on Thursday, and India having performed poorly in the lone warm-up in Taunton, Dravid opined it would be beneficial for the team to learn their lessons fast.
"No issue is a minor issue," he said, referring to India's poor show against Somerset.
"Some lessons from the game can definitely be taken into the opening Test."
Image: Sachin Tendulkar and S Sreesanth walks back after the practice session at Lord's cricket ground