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It does not feel like I`m finishing: Dravid

Cardiff: Former India cricket captain Rahul Dravid, who will be retiring from one-day internationals after the fifth ODI here Friday, said hard work in the shorter format of the game helped him to excel in Tests.

"It does not feel like I`m finishing. I will still be doing the same things I have been doing in the last two and a half years. But I have had to work harder on my one-day cricket than in Tests," said Dravid, who will be playing his 344th ODI, on the eve of the match here.

Dravid, who will be ending his 15-year-old ODI career, said he does not dread quitting.

"After such a long period of playing cricket, you don`t dread the day you will quit. You will recognise that when the time comes, you would have to move on. Retiring wouldn`t make much of a change in my life," he said.

"The Test series against West Indies is coming up. There will be a few days off, then it is back to fitness and practice. Nothing would really change. Nothing is going to be different from tomorrow onwards," he said.

On the feeling of retiring, Dravid said: "When you are away from home, you don`t get a sense how it`s been like. My wife did mention there are very nice things written about me back home. I feel humbled about the things being said and written about me in last few weeks."

Dravid, who is the seventh highest ODI scorer with 10,820 runs, said that when he started playing, he wasn`t considered suitable for ODI cricket but he worked hard to score more than 10,000 runs.

"When I started playing, I wasn`t recognised as a one-day player. There was a lot more learning I had to do. I was dropped in the middle of my career, had to learn some lessons, and it helped free up my Test cricket as well. I ended up playing over 300 games for India," he said.

"It gives me a lot of satisfaction (to reflect) that I had a good Test and one-day career. At one stage, I probably wouldn`t have thought so myself. In many ways, it has been a very pleasing and satisfying career," he said.

Asked whether batting at various positions and keeping wickets helped him to become an all-round cricketer, Dravid said: "I have played in various positions, kept wickets, opened, batted at number three and five. It helped improve my versatility, being challenged to do different things, different positions, learn new skills, batting at 5-6, and facing different bowlers. Keeping and then batting as well as batting and then keeping helped me grow as a person and as a cricketer."

Asked if he was asked to lead the side in his final ODI, Dravid said: "I don`t think I would lead the side. M.S. Dhoni has led the side well. I have got enough respect and recognition for what I have done. It would be lovely to win though (tomorrow), irrespective of what happens."

"We were very good at Lord`s, unfortunately, we couldn`t get over the line. Hopefully we can do so here tomorrow," he said.

Dravid said after he was dropped from the ODI side, he found it difficult to adjust to Test cricket.

"Initially I found it difficult. I was used to playing continuously all the time. There were gaps as big as six months. When it was the off-season in Indian domestic circuit, I found it difficult. Going straight into Tests with no side games was a challenge for me. I had to learn to adjust to it, get fitter and work harder. It helped, and I was also able to iron out a few flaws in my game, as well as spend time with my family."

Dravid said making the final in the 2003 World Cup was one of the highs of his career and leading the team to a first round exit in the 2007 World Cup was the lowest.

"Reaching the 2003 World Cup finals and getting so close was a high. Then watching India win the World Cup this year was extremely satisfying. I watched Kapil Dev lift the trophy as a 10-year-old, and now towards the end of my career, seeing another Indian team do it and realizing you have been a part of that journey has been satisfying," he said.

"Captaining the team in the 2007 World Cup was a big disappointment. I think we had a team which could have done better, but then we lost to Bangladesh and missed out," he rued.

Dravid said that England, who humiliated India in the summer, are yet not ready to be compared along with the great Australian and the West Indies.

"There`s no doubt when England comes to India in October, they would find different conditions. That would be a challenge for them. They have proved to be a good side in their home conditions. They have got the potential but it`s not easy," said Dravid.

"It`s unfair to compare them with the Australians and West Indies of the past. They were consistent for a long period of time and in various conditions. West Indies won in India and Australia in 2004. England need to go to various countries and win, in South Africa and in India," he said.

IANS

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