India's No 3 batsman for over a decade strives to be the best, taking a cue from his teammate and batting legend.
Dravid still driven by Tendulkar class
Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid have been India teammates since 1996 but after all these years the former continues to inspire the latter.
India's batting in Tests and one-dayers has revolved around the pair and between them, nearly 27,000 runs have been scored in the five-day game and another 30,000 in the 50-over version.
Dravid, for long India's No 3 batsman, no longer plays international limited-overs cricket but continues to weld match-defining partnerships with the man considered one of the greatest batsmen in the sport's history.
It is no wonder that Dravid paid tribute to Tendulkar after a practice session, ahead of tomorrow's Test against West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica on Friday.
"He has been phenomenal, has had a terrific last two-to-three years and possibly done the best batting of his life," Dravid said. "When I came [in 1996] he had already been around for seven years. He was my captain in West Indies [in 1997] and was a source of great motivation. That motivation has not changed."
Dravid, however, will lead India's batting charge in the absence of senior partner Tendulkar, even though he will be supported by VVS Laxman.
The right-hander also said he has been practicing hard in the nets and preparing himself mentally for the three-Test series in the Caribbean followed by the four-Test series against England.
"I had a seven-month time off [from Tests]. But I knew about these seven Tests in a row and was ready with my preparations."
But despite having played in 150 Tests, Dravid conceded to feeling nervous ahead of the first Test.
"You know you have done enough but there is still a certain pressure. There are butterflies. These things never change. It would be nice to get runs early on and keep the form going," he said.
Dravid, 38, said it was a matter of time before a young crop of Indian batsmen emerge.
"Over the next year or two, young batsmen should be coming through - like [Sourav] Ganguly, Laxman and I did [in 1996] and two or three would have similar long careers for the next 15 years," Dravid said.
Meanwhile, Munaf Patel is a doubt for the first Test after the India fast bowler missed Friday's nets practice.
Munaf, who has 34 wickets from 12 matches, was reduced to a spectator at the nets. The nature of his injury has not been disclosed.
* Compiled by The National staff with agencies