Calcutta / New Delhi: Nervousness and Rahul Dravid are two things that don't really gel well. But such is the importance of match practice that the lack of it made even Dravid nervous, when he came out to bat in the Delhi DareDevils versus the Rajasthan Royals IPL-VI game, at the Kotla, on Saturday.
The Royals began their campaign on a winning note and captain Dravid played a major role in it, scoring a 51-ball 65. "I probably did not expect to bat for so long," Dravid said during the post-match interaction.
"I have not played an IPL game since last May… It has been almost 10 months and although you practice a lot, you don't know what to expect… I was really nervous and worried at the start of my innings. But as it progressed, I felt comfortable and it was one of those days when it clicked for me. This innings gives me confidence. I hope that I keep doing this more often," Dravid said.
The 40-year-old did pull a calf muscle and did not field for the better part of Delhi run chase, but he assured that he would try his best to play in their match against the Kolkata Knight Riders, on Monday.
"It was a severe bout of cramps… I will do everything to play the next match, but I need to see how I get up on Sunday and if there's any stiffness," he said.
Dravid praised youngsters Rahul Shukla and Kevon Cooper for holding their nerves at the death. "They both were brilliant. Had Rahul Shukla not bowled that 19th over, then Kevon would not have got a chance to defend those runs. And look at the batsmen, he bowled to… (Andre) Russell, Irfan (Pathan), (Johan) Botha are all big hitters," Dravid said.
"We also had Sreesanth bowling brilliantly upfront… Also, Brad Hodge effected a brilliant run-out which became the game-changer… Then, Ajinkya took an incredible catch."
Dravid's counterpart, Mahela Jayawardene admitted that David Warner's run-out was the turning point of their five-run loss. "We paced the chase pretty well as a couple of guys got settled. That's why we sent in Russell, as Warner was batting well. But Warner got run-out and that became the turning point… They held their nerves during the last 10 deliveries and we did not do so," Mahela said.