We have answers to Mendis’ attack: Dravid
New Delhi: Ajantha Mendis wrecked havoc when India toured Sri Lanka in 2008 but senior batsman Rahul Dravid hoped this time around he and his colleagues are better equipped to tackle the ‘mystery’ spinner in the forthcoming Test series beginning in Galle next month.
Mendis demolished the famed Indian batting line up in his debut series two years back by capturing 26 wickets to help Sri Lanka beat India 2-1 in the three-Test encounter.
But Dravid said since then the Indians have mastered the mystery spinner and hoped for a better showing from his team-mates in the forthcoming series.
“He (Mendis) is still a good bowler. He was completely new to us when we toured Sri Lanka last time (in 2008). He got the measure our team last time, there is no doubt about it. He played a major role in the series. But hopefully, we have learnt our lesson,” the former captain told reporters at the launch of the 2010 Limca Book of Records.
“I think we played him pretty well when he came to India. We learnt how to tackle him. Having said that international bowlers keep on improving, international bowlers come up with new tricks everytime. But hopefully we will have the answers whatever Mendis throws at us this time,” Dravid said.
Dravid also predicted a challenging three-match series against the islanders which begins with the first Test in Galle on July 18.
“Sri Lanka is a very formidable team and they play tough cricket at home. In the last two times we travelled there, we won a Test match but did not win the series. It is a positive sign to win a Test there but it is now important for us to keep that performance going right throughout the upcoming series,” he said.
“It is going to be a challenge but we have got a good team. We have got bowlers who are capable of taking 20 wickets, which is important to win a Test. If we can put runs on the board, hopefully we will have a good series,” the right-hand batsman added.
Asked about his own preparation for the series, Dravid said, “I would not need to make any particular adjustments in my batting for the series. I have been training and preparing for the last six weeks keeping in mind the series.
“I got a good gap after IPL and it has given me time to be with my family and do a bit of physical training. It was a good break for me but now it’s time to get back to cricket.”
He, however, agreed that it would be a challenge for him to return to Test cricket after such a long gap.
“Sometimes, it is little bit of challenge to return to Test cricket after a long break but there is preparation time in Sri Lanka. I am looking forward to some match practice before the series,” Dravid said.
Dravid also said that Yuvraj Singh, who makes a return to the national team, will answer his detractors in the series.
“Yuvraj would be keen to do well and prove a point. I think we will see the best of him in the series,” Dravid said.
The former skipper disagreed with the notion that his shoes would be difficult to fill in once he quits international cricket.
“Without naming anyone, I would like to say that there are plenty of players ready to take my place. Abundance of young talent is coming through,” Dravid said.
Meanwhile, Dravid congratulated ace shuttler Saina Nehwal, who won three consecutive international titles in a span of three weeks to jump to the third position in the world rankings.
“It is phenomenal achievement by Saina. She is a great inspiration for a lot of Indians. It is incredible to win three competitions in three weeks in a sport like badminton which is physically very tiring. She has set benchmark for a lot of youngsters,” he said.
Dravid had also some thought regarding the poor standard of refereeing in the ongoing football World Cup in South Africa and said it is high time that FIFA take the help of technology to make the game better.
“It is a world class event and such a big event. When so much riding is on each of these games, I think there is room for technology. The world body (FIFA) should think about it,” Dravid, a die-hard Brazil fan, said.