KT: Congratulations Rahul on winning the series.
KT: It was quite a hard-fought series.
RD: Yes it was. I mean Sachin and Sourav did not talk with me for the entire tour. And then Zaheer and Sreesanth kept playing WWF in the dressing room. And later both of them would go out and fight with the English – Zaheer would show Pietersen bat and Sree would shoulder-push Vaughan. Sometimes, I really have to tell Sree that just because he is from Kerala, he can’t do things that they do out there while playing football in coconut fields.
KT: You also said that Sreesanth had given you a few gray hair in the Lords test.
RD: Yes, he did. In fact he gave so many gray hair that Shilpa Shetty – who, by the way, is now a British national – ran away from me, thinking me to Richard Gere.
KT: Oh God! That must have been terrible.
RD: Yes, it was. I mean she is Shetty, I’m from Bangalore; one can hope to see two Kannadigas spend some good time in an alien land. I mean, come on, one Bangalorean, Vijay Mallaya has good time almost everytime, everywhere, with everyone – after getting them slashed with beer. I mean, at the end of the day, it is illegal, irrespective of whether it is irrelevant here or not.
KT: Coming back to Cricket, there is a lot of criticism about your not enforcing follow-on.
RD: Yes, there is. But then, a lot of people say a lot of things. Some even say that we can be world leaders one day. But at the end of the day, we Indians are born followers. It is in our blood to follow-on ourselves. And also our right, really. And see, at the end of the day, Laxman and I are going to be remembered for following on and not for enforcing a follow-on.
KT: OK Rahul, we’ll agree on that. But why did you bat so slowly?
RD: A lot of people say a lot of things. But at the end of the day, it is up to you to decide what is right or wrong for the team. And I would have definitely decided that; but the fact of the matter is that I had forgotten that I was batting. I was so involved with the bigger picture of winning the series after 21 years that I thought I was merely watching the match from the pitch and that playing was not in my hand! So at the end of the day, I could only watch the bowlers come towards me and bowl at me. Now, looking back, I think I would have played it a bit differently had I realised that I was batting. But then, at the end of the day, everything is fair in fear and captaincy.
KT: Some say that your captaincy is a mere reflection of you, the person. And that Rahul the person is a defensive person.
RD: See, just because I have the best technique for defense does not mean that I’m a defensive person. Even Mahatma Gandhi used to get hit all over the body, so why single me out for not using the bat much? And at the end of the day, if in a country of 1 billion, if someone not born to lead becomes a leader, he or she is definitely a good enough manager of things. And at the end of the day, that’s what captaincy is all about – managing.
KT: So what do you think are the positives from this tour?
RD: There are many. Earlier only Sachin, Sourav and I used to be called the big guns of the team. Now, in my place, Zaheer and Anil have come in. Even RP, Dinesh, Wasim, Dhoni and Sreesanth played better than me. So, at the end of the day, by my performance on the tour, I’ve managed to make almost everyone – in both teams – look better than me.
KT: Thanks Rahul for the talk.
RD: Thanks mate. I’ll go now to try & make Sourav talk with me.