Breathing easy after a career reviving ton, Rahul Dravid on Saturday said that the century he scored against England here would rank among the most significant knocks of his career.
"Its a quite significant knock, considering the form I was in coming into the match. Its one of the most significant hundreds I scored and I now just hope we go on to win this match," a visibly relieved Dravid told reporters in Mohali.
Dravid snapped the long string of poor shows with a knock of 136 and the right-hander said he felt relieved to get a huge monkey off his back.
"I'm definitely relieved and its nice to be contributing again. It has been a tough year for me, nothing has been easy. It's nice to make important contributions," said the former captain who ran into a bad patch soon after the home series against South Africa.
True to his nature, Dravids was a muted celebration as he just raised the bat and shook hands with Gautam Gambhir. He didnt even take off the helmet.
Asked if that was to hide his emotion or to make any statement, Dravid said, "I didn't try to make any statement. I was definitely happy and relieved. I guess I'm bit old and wise, I don't jump around even when I'm excited. It was a combination of both relief and joy."
Dravid also took the opportunity to thank people who didn't lose trust in his ability. "I was surprised that so many people wanted me to do well. I mean if there was any positive out of the phase, this was it".
"Its during this time that you realise that so many people want you to do well. Some of the people didn't need to do that but still they supported me. I felt as if so many people have gone through the journey with me," he said.
Looking back at his bad patch, Dravid said it was only natural that lack of runs would invite criticism.
"It was only natural that there would be scrutiny and speculation. To be honest, I didn't have a great year and didn't score too many runs. It's only natural that people would speculate and raise question about me. It was very tough time personally," he said.
Dravid, however, insisted there was no self-doubt at any stage. "In the last few months, including the series against Australia, I felt I was playing well, though I don't have the runs to prove that. There are certain ways I judge that like the way I bat in the nets, my position while batting, direction I play the ball in".
"Teammates, (coach) Gary (Kirsten) and other people said everything was right about my batting. I too knew that in my gut but only the runs were not coming," he said.
"I knew it was just a matter of going out and spending some time. I knew I will turn around and it has happened," he said, heaving a sigh of relief.
Dravid said he looked at the video of some of his previous knocks and recreated the emotions before eventually letting his hair down."I tried everything. Looked at a video of some of the good knocks and recreated the emotions.
"But in the last two series, I only enjoyed my sessions in the nets and tried to be as uncomplicated as possible. I decided to trust my instinct and just watch the ball," he said.
Talking about this knock, Dravid admitted it was not a flawless innings but crucial nonetheless. "As the innings went on, I grew in confidence and my feet started moving. I also could pick the ball better. It was a good testing spell by the English bowlers and we were lucky to come through that."
"Yesterday, Gautam (Gambhir) played a very good knock. He took the pressure off me by scoring at a quick rate and rotating the strike. I hope our (314-run) stand is potentially match-winning. We have set the platform to push for a win," he said.