x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Dravid: Beating Australia has bought some breathing room for India

The former captain, in the UAE to take part in the Emirates Airline Twenty20 tournament this weekend, believes the Test series win will give Duncan Fletcher's side a confidence boost ahead of a tough summer schedule.

Rahul Dravid will play for the MCC team at the Emirates Airlines Twenty20.
Rahul Dravid will play for the MCC team at the Emirates Airlines Twenty20.

India's comprehensive Test series triumph over Australia has bought the side some breathing room before the still transitioning team embarks on a series of tough away assignments later this year, according to former captain Rahul Dravid.

India, already leading 3-0, begin the fourth and final Test today in Delhi aiming to inflict a rare whitewash on Australia.

The last-ditch win at Mohali meant India had won the first three Tests of a series for the first time since 1993-94 and only the fourth time in their history that they have won three Tests in any series.

Australia hadn't lost the opening three Tests of a series since 1988-89, to the West Indies when they were still the dominant force in world cricket; they've only been whitewashed twice in a series of three or more Tests.

But India's results have come on the back of a miserable period for them, which included two whitewashes in overseas series in England and Australia and a home series loss to England earlier this winter.

Dravid, who is in Dubai to play for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in the Emirates Airline Twenty20 tournament, believes that the series is an early step in reclaiming some of the confidence that slipped away in those away losses.

"[This series] has been a good confidence booster for them," Dravid told The National.

"What happened away in England and Australia and the loss to England at home dents the confidence of the side. You start questioning the methods, the personnel in the team when you start losing games.

"To arrest that and just to give everyone a chance to be able to breathe again before we start touring again was important. In that sense beating Australia, even though Australia is not at their best but it's a serious Test nation and to beat them at home and especially to see a lot of youngsters come in and perform the way they have would have given the management and coaching staff some confidence and time to breathe again."

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Sterner tests for both the coaching staff and the younger players Dravid spoke of will begin once this series is over.

Between then and the start 2015, India play 15 out of 18 Tests not only outside home but also the subcontinent; three in South Africa at the end of this year, three in New Zealand after that, five in England next summer and four more in Australia at the end of 2014.

For at least one more year of that itinerary, India will continue with Duncan Fletcher as coach. The Zimbabwean has been under serious fire during India's fall and his contract was due to end in April. But he has secured a one-year extension and Dravid believes the move is a good one.

"I enjoyed my time working with Duncan," Dravid said. "He connects well with the players. I know from outside, his reputation is that he doesn't speak to the press a lot, but he's respected a lot in the team and the players like him. He's got a lot of knowledge especially in the batting side of things so it's a good thing."

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