ICC World Cup: Rahul Dravid dismisses talk of ‘dress rehearsal’ of final

India head coach feels Virat Kohli not too fussed about his number of centuries

India head coach Rahul Dravid speaks with media in Kolkata on Saturday
India head coach Rahul Dravid speaks with media in Kolkata on Saturday

Gautam Bhattacharyya

If Rahul Ravid harbours a secret regret of not winning the 50-overs World Cup as a player or captain, the Men in Blue under him are raising visions of India laying their hands to the trophy this time. However, the head coach is watchful as ever and feels nothing has been achieved as yet.

Is the India-South Africa game tomorrow, as many are saying, a dress rehearsal for the final? ‘’We are not worried about what many are saying,’’ he says with a smile at the pre-match media conference, before adding: ‘’We have played some good cricket in the seven matches so far. However, we still need to earn the rights to play the final.’’

Dravid, along with batting coach Vikram Rathour, meant business when they headed to the venue for a look at the wicket soon after reaching the team hotel here on Friday evening.

The square which hosted the first league game between Bangladesh and Netherlands last week will be used for the game and expectations are it may provide some bounce and carry in the early stages of the game, making strokeplay easier, but may aid spinners in the later stages.

Reacting to a query as to whether the dew factor may prompt India’s decision at the toss yesterday, Dravid said: ‘’Look, I have given up on dew. The good thing about this tournament is if you can bat first and put up a decent score, you can still deal with it. The results have not been skewed in that sense.’’

An interesting sideshow about Sunday’s game is that November 5 happens to be the birthday of Virat Kohli, India’s in-form batter who has already scored one century and three fifties in seven innings.

Asked to comment on Kohli’s mindset on what could a final bow for him in the 50-overs showpiece, Dravid said: ‘’I think Virat’s been really relaxed and as you can see in his performances. Look, I haven’t noticed anything different. He’s always been the same. He’s always been professional, always been hardworking, always been switched on.

"And no, I don’t really think he’s thinking too much about 49 and 50 (number of ODI centuries), and probably certainly not about his birthday getting a year older. But no, I think he's been really focused on winning the tournament and playing some good cricket for us," he added.

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