The Indian team had set itself a special challenge to achieve even before they embarked on their campaign in the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023.
Scheduled to play their nine matches at nine different venues, Team India had decided to put their best foot forward in each of these venues to satisfy their passionate fans.
“We set ourselves a little bit of a challenge ahead of the World Cup. Thousands of fans in nine different cities, and the passion of our fans. We really wanted to put our best foot forward and give a really good display. And I think the boys have responded and done really well,” Dravid told Star Sports ahead of their semifinal clash with New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday.
India were the only side to feature in nine different venues, a new one for each of their group game, during the World Cup.
They finished the league phase with an unbeaten record, winning all nine matches for the first time in the World Cup.
Barring minor hiccups, such as being 2/3 against Australia in Chennai and being reduced to 229/9 against England in Lucknow, which were easily overcome, India have been a strong force in the event.
Dravid was really happy with their latest outing, a tremendous win over the Netherlands in Bengaluru.
“We had six days off, so it was really nice to get a game before the semifinals. Just to get those cobwebs out, it was good we got what we needed. Five of our batsmen getting in there, getting their starts. A couple of boys going on and getting some really good hundreds.”
He also opined that the experimentation with the ball benefitted the side.
“And then with the ball as well, just gave us an opportunity after we got that big score to be able to mix and match a little bit and look at some of the other options that hopefully we don’t need. But we may need.”
Dravid displayed great confidence in his batting unit and was especially pleased at the work done by his middle-order.
“I think our middle-order has been fantastic. Obviously, the top-order gets to bat all the time and has been scoring a lot of runs for us. When you look at the leaderboard on the numbers, you’ll see the Kohlis and the Sharmas, and rightly so.
“They’ve been batting fantastically and batting really well. But the middle-order is critical because you’re always playing in pressure situations.
“They don’t always play every single game, sometimes they get to bat after 30 overs when the ball is soft, when the ball is older. The wicket is getting slower as well, and for them to bat the way they are, whether it is Shreyas [Iyer], whether it is KL [Rahul], you know even Jaddu [Ravindra Jadeja] or even Surya [Suryakumar Yadav] in the knock he got.
“It just gives us the confidence that we’ve got that experience, we’ve got the ability and we’ve also got them in form and playing really well getting into the semifinals.”