Returning to his backyard, Rahul Dravid strode into the press conference room, nursing a warm beverage in a cup. The India coach was quick to stress on maintaining the intensity as his wards take on the Netherlands here during Sunday’s World Cup game.
“We have done well and maintained high standards. We need to continue that. This is our ninth venue, and a great venue, even if I say so,” the Bengalurean quipped here on Saturday. Dravid also praised the Netherlands: “We are impressed with the way they have played in this tournament. I know how difficult it is for associate teams to reach this level.”
Being the final league clash, any temptation to rest some players? “We had six days off from the last game. We are well rested and the guys are in good shape. That’s all I will say without giving anything away. You can make your inferences,” Dravid said. He also mentioned that the team is comfortable either way, taking the first strike or launching a chase.
The coach made a special mention about how the middle-order shaped up. “How well your middle-order performs in challenging situations, will probably decide how well you do. While our top-order performed exceptionally well, our middle-order also played a very critical role. Some of those 30s and 40s are critical knocks. Shreyas, K.L. (Rahul), Suryakumar Yadav and Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) have all contributed,” Dravid explained.
India stepped into the World Cup with a few players coming back from injuries and Dravid drew heart from the way they performed even if Hardik Pandya again got hurt. “It is great to have these guys fit and ready. Our margins were tight, we had some contingency plans. It is a tribute to their hard work and the efforts of the NCA,” the coach said.
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