(Reuters) While Indian cricket has been plagued with unfit players in recent times, this 38-year-old still remains captain’s best bet to hold the fort. No wonder, he’s still considered fit enough by sportswear brands to walk the ramp with models half-his-age gyrating around. So what secret material keeps The Wall from cracking? “Well, there’s no secret at all,” Rahul Dravid plays it as straight as he always does. “It’s just about being disciplined. And I just train, and train more. That’s my way of staying fit.”
And who knows it better than him how this ‘train and train’ could help in the most unexpected circumstances. Out of the ODIs for nearly two years, he had least expected that he would ever get a chance to retire honourably from the format. “No, of course I didn’t think things would pan out this way and I’ll get to don the ODI colours once again,” he says. “But I’m glad it happened this way. But, at this stage, I know my body well, and thought it would be best to concentrate on Tests only.”
In his nearly two-decade long career, Dravid has never been seen engaging in a verbal duel. So when Shoaib Akhtar hurls a bouncer at him in his autobiography, the Bangalorean chooses to react in his own typical way.
“I’m neither hassled, nor shocked or even disturbed,” says Dravid. “He has an opinion, and so is free to express. I have been around for too long to be perturbed by these things.”
But isn’t it alarming that with him, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman still around, the team is going down? “Well, we are still around. And we should be able to pull back things and put India back on top,” believes Dravid. But for how long — especially with the cricketing circuit being abuzz with his possible retirement plans during the upcoming Australia tour? “All that’s on my mind is playing the first Test.”