JAIPUR: Former India captain Rahul Dravid believes that women's cricket still has a "long way to go" but the BCCI is doing a great job by hosting the World Cup for them.
"Women's cricket still has a long way to go. The BCCI is doing its bit and encouraging women's cricket in all states. It's a challenge, not easy to bring more girls in cricket. But the development is in process and Indian cricket fraternity is encouraging girls to take cricket," said Dravid after the launch of the book on late former India captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Saturday.
"India is hosting the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup, which is a proud moment for us and it is getting good attention. Competition at all levels in women's cricket has improved a lot and we have a very good team and legendary players," added Dravid.
The book launch was followed by a session presented by Rajasthan Royals - Corner of a Distant Playing Field - in which Dravid was joined by Ian Buruma, a Dutch writer and academician, and moderated by Rajdeep Sardesai, son of late former Indian cricketer Dilip Sardesai.
The 40-year-old Dravid, one of India's finest batsmen who scored close to 25,000 international runs before announcing his retirement early last year, was happy to see the cricket reaching the smaller cities of the country.
"It's very good to see cricket reaching all parts of the country and players such as Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Praveen Kumar coming from these smaller cities. The BCCI is making efforts to take cricket in all corners of the country and improving the infrastructure.
"Good facilities are also accessible to smaller towns now and local coaching centres are providing the best facilities, which are helping cricketers to sharpen their skills at an early age," he said.
"The barrier between metropolitan and small-town cricketers has broken now as young cricketers are playing more inter-city and inter-district matches. They are visiting other states for tournaments and getting better exposure," he added.
Dravid, who is captaining the Rajasthan Royals team in the IPL, said the hugely-popular Twenty20 league has brought many changes to the Indian cricket.
"The Indian Premier League brought many changes in Indian cricket along with tough challenges to adapt quickly to the shorter format of the game, changes in game plan and quick solutions. It changes the environment of the dressing room as we meet players from different countries. It has been changing relationships among cricketers for the last five years and we understand them better.
"For example, I was never close to Jacques Kallis. We just met during the series and said a hi-hello to each other. He also talks less and we both never get enough time to talk. Now, due the IPL, we got enough opportunities to talk and shared our views on cricket during our stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore. We are in touch with each other now," he said.
Talking about the ongoing Jaipur Literature Fest, Dravid, who scored 13,288 runs in 164 Tests with an average of 52.31, said, "I am very glad be here and liking this festival. Very few people these days read books and have interest in reading. It's really very nice to see the crowd and their immense interests in books and authors. It's a memorable experience for me."