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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Interview > Rahul Dravid

'We aren't trying to psyche anyone'

February 28, 2003

Rahul DravidIndia's vice-captain Rahul Dravid spoke to cricket correspondents in Johannesburg on the eve of the India-Pakistan encounter.

Tough game against Pakistan coming up. It always brings out something special in both sides.

It is an important game in the sense that we almost look at it as an 8-point game. If we win that we go into the Super Six with another 4 points so from that point of view it's a very important game. Otherwise, it's just another game.

No additional pressure...

No, I think not. We are professionals and we are here to do a job. We would like to believe we prepare for every game in the same way. Just because the opposition is Pakistan I don't think it makes a difference from the team's point of view. We are going to go out there and try our best like we do in every game.

Shoaib AkhtarShoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis against Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and you. Is there any extra spice in the contest?

Obviously, the Pakistanis have a very good and experienced bowling attack so it is a great challenge for our batsmen. It is exciting to play at this level because you want to play and compete against the best in the world. It will be a great challenge for some of our guys, especially the young guys.

Any specific thoughts on Shoaib Akhtar?

I don't think we can target any one individual. They have a very good bowling attack and we have to prepare for all of them but we would prefer to work on our plans and strategies. We want to focus on executing them well.

Isn't there always extra pressure for India to win against Pakistan than any other side?

Not really. A lot of it is just hype created by the media and the fans. From a team's perspective we would like to win every game of cricket. At the end of the day it's still the same game -- whether it is Australia, Pakistan or New Zealand, the ball doesn't change. The game is still played with 22 men.

As a batsman how difficult is it adjusting to the extra yard of pace?

It is a challenge to adjust to that kind of pace. It is all about getting into position early and judging the line and length as quickly as possible. That's what it is all about.

Would you be really worked up behind the stumps?

We are not really trying to psyche anyone. I don't believe there is a need to do that. I know the guys go out there everytime and give it their best irrespective of the results. That's all I expect from the guys tomorrow.

The younger players have not played against Pakistan. I am sure they will be aware of the hype. What would your advice be to them?

You are right when you say a lot of them have not played against Pakistan but I also believe they are a mature lot. We will definitely talk to them. I believe a big advantage of playing outside your country is that you don't get caught up in the hype too much. You are caught up in your own world and the team is like a family. In a lot of ways it is good for the side. We just play together and don't know what's happening outside. From that point of view, I think it's a big help to the guys.

What would you like to say to supporters back home?

It's like we have always said. We will do our best and live up to your expectations. But at the end of the day it's just a game of cricket.

Former Pakistan captain Aamir Sohail said Pakistan would ideally like to have Rahul Dravid and Dinesh Mongia batting during the middle overs. How do you react to that?

I like to bat in the middle overs and see that we can get a score that can win us the game. The last two times I batted in the middle overs we got a competitive total and we won the game. The number of balls we consume does not make a difference as long as we win the game.

Seeing the strained relationship between the two countries, would there be any gesture in the middle like the players shaking hands?

No. I don't think it is the duty of cricketers to do that. Our job is to play a game of cricket and that is exactly what we are out here to do. We are not here to make statements, we are here to play a game of cricket. The opposition just happens to be Pakistan. It could be any other team tomorrow.

Do you think the hype would be reduced if you play Pakistan more often?

Maybe, Maybe not, You can't say but India-Pakistan games always tend to have a bit of hype.

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