Kolkata: Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid rued his pacers' lack of experience and blamed poor fielding for their loss against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Friday.
"Our pacers are young and inexperienced compared to those of KKR. I think we could have fielded better. Though we lost the match, we were never outclassed," said Dravid after the match. "We always knew it was going to be low scoring game as the wicket was slow and turning. Though we made a steady start, losing wickets at crucial junctures cost us heavily," he added.
Dravid said his team might have lost the game but they were never outplayed. "We have been fighting hard in all our games. We were never outclassed in any of the games, though we may have lost," he said. The Dravid-led team began the season on a wonderful note, winning the first two matches before suffering a defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, which was followed by another loss against KKR on Friday.
With the ICC World Twenty20 coming up, performances in the IPL would be a yardstick for the Indian selectors, says Dravid. "IPL is semi-international and semi-domestic tournament. The selectors will definitely be watching [this tournament]. There are [some Indian] players who are performing [well] against international bowlers as well," he said.
The Rajasthan skipper was all praise for opener Ajinkya Rahane, who has given his side good starts and is the highest run-getter in the competition so far. "He started off very well in international cricket. He was left out when some of the senior players came in. It is a great opportunity [for him] to show the selectors that he can play in all forms of the game. He is doing that. He is working really hard. If he keeps performing like this, he has a bright future," he said.
Dravid, who has played several superlative knocks at the Eden Gardens, also expressed his desire of turning out again at the hallowed stadium. "I have very fond memories of the ground. Eden Gardens has been a fantastic ground for me. I hope this is not my last game here and wish to come back here to play again," he said. "It has been a great ground for me where I scored my first and last first-class century. My first first-class hundred came here probably in 1991," said Dravid, reminiscing about his great innings at the ground.
Dravid scored his last international hundred - 119 - in a Test match against West Indies at the Eden Gardens last November. He also recalled his knock of 180 against Australia in 2001. Dravid and VVS Laxman, who scored a marathon 281, had stitched a heroic partnership as India registered a fairy-tale comeback to defeat a formidable Australia after conceding the follow-on in the epic Test match. "I simply love this ground. I love to see my picture on the walls here. I enjoy coming back here," Dravid said.