Lot riding on Australia series: Dravid

'The next generation of players will be found in the series'

The 2001 series boosted some great careers: Laxman, Harbhajan and Hayden.

There is a lot riding on the upcoming India-Australia cricket series since it will help the selectors identify the next generation of players, Rahul Dravid, the team's mainstay till his retirement last year, said at the Jaipur Literature Festival Saturday.

"Each series is significant like the series with England. But like India, Australia too has lost a lot of big players. So both teams are quite similar. But there is a lot riding on the teams. It will help them recognize the next generation of players," he told reporters here after taking part in a session.

Asked if he supported matches between India and Pakistan, Dravid said: "I would love to say that India and Pakistan should keep playing. But that is not the reality. My heart says we should play often. But given the situation, it will not happen. And I'm willing to accept that," he said.

The two countries recently played a bilateral series after more than five years. India snapped cricketing ties with Pakistan in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai strike that killed 166 people and which India has blamed on Pakistani terrorists.

Asked how long he planned to play domestic cricket and the Indian Premiere League (IPL), he said he was taking "one step at a time".

"I will play for one year," said Dravid, the captain of Rajasthan Royals IPL team.

He said in his post-retirement life, he was "preparing for the IPL" and "reconnecting with home and spending time with family".

Asked if he was an IPL sceptic, Rahul said: "I have never been an IPL sceptic. It gave me the opportunity to share the dressing room with cricketing greats. Relations between players (from different countries) have never been better."

On being named for the Padma Bhushan, Dravid said he was "truly humbled to receive an honour like that, truly grateful".

He also said he was thinking of writing an autobiography.

He also said that there was a need to make cricket history books "readable". "They have to be written in Hindi and other languages since a lot of cricketers come from small towns".

Earlier Dravid spoke at a packed session titled 'Corner of a Playing Field' with cricket writer Suresh Menon, political commentator Ian Buruma and TV journalist Rajdeep Sardesai.

Asked if he enjoyed being a celebrity, Dravid said: "I cannot really say I enjoy all that. But it has its advantages."

He then blamed the media for creating celebrities.

"You play two good matches and you are on all channels. In the past, you had to play a lot of cricket. You can't be a celebrity without a body of work behind you."

He also said that cricket had done away with regionalism. "There is never that sort of a feeling of playing for a region."

He said "Sunny Days" by cricketing legend Sunil Gavaskar had "influenced" him a lot. "The book was my ability to dream."

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