Vadodara: Rahul Dravid came for the Irani Cup here with a cloud of uncertainty hovering over his future but the under-pressure middle-order batsman returns with some runs under his belt and, more importantly, the backing of both India captain Anil Kumble and coach Gary Kirsten.
Like the sidelined Sourav Ganguly, Dravid too came a dud with the bat in Sri Lanka but the former captain managed 46 in the first innings and a more convincing 69 in the second essay against Delhi in the just-concluded Irani Cup tie.
He may not have looked fully convincing, but Kirsten believes Dravid has achieved his goal from this tournament ahead of the Test series against Australia.
"I think it turned out to be a good outing for him," Kirsten said, adding, "He achieved what he had come for."
"He is a key player for us and has been successful for years. I do not look at a particular game, but performance over 6-7 months. If someone has been in form for that period, it does not matter if he does well or not in a game.
"He knows now we face Australia, the world number one team and it should give boost his confidence," Kirsten said.
Kumble was equally happy with Dravid's tenacity and said Dravid once again showed how to play in adverse conditions.
"He is a class act. In this kind of situation, you have to bat long and grind the bowlers. He knows that and he did a great job. It obviously feels good to have some runs behind him before the series against Australia," Kumble said.