Jaipur: 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 recognise 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 oftener. 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".
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."
Rahul Dravid also believes that women's cricket still has a "long way to go" but the BCCI is doing a great job by hosting the World Cup for them.
"Women's cricket still has a long way to go. The BCCI is doing its bit and encouraging women's cricket in all states.
It's a challenge, not easy to bring more girls in cricket. But the development is in process and Indian cricket fraternity is encouraging girls to take cricket," said Dravid after the launch of the book on late former India captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi at the Jaipur Literature Festival here today.
"India is hosting the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup, which is a proud moment for us and it is getting good attention. Competition at all levels in women's cricket has improved a lot and we have a very good team and legendary players," added Dravid.