Ask any cricketer of repute, past or present, who they would like to bat for their life, the answer would, in majority of the cases, be Rahul Dravid. And when Dravid was asked that question, he chose Sachin Tendulkar.

“The best guy I’ve played with was Sachin Tendulkar. In terms of quality and class. So I’d pick Sachin, at his best,” was Dravid’s response.

In a recent video interview with ESPNCricinfo, Dravid was answering 25 questions posed to him by senior journalist Sharda Ugra and as we have come to expect from him, the answers were witty and engaging.

Among other things, Dravid said that he would have liked to have Brian Lara’s flair and creativity in his batting, and if he had to choose bowlers from the past that he would have liked to face, it would be Michael Holding or Jeff Thomson – “just for a few balls though and definitely not without a helmet!”

When asked which batsman from the past he would have liked to have a partnership with, Dravid said, “I would have loved to have partnered Sunil Gavaskar. And hopefully Gavaskar would have gotten out when I was still batting and GR Viswanath would have walked in. That would have been cool. They were my childhood heroes growing up.”

Reserving special praise for Kagiso Rabada, as one of the bowlers that he would love to face from the current crop, Dravid added, “If you’re counting Indian bowlers, Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) would be quite a challenge. Facing Bhuvi with the new ball with his ability to get the ball to move away and come back in would be a great challenge.”

Dravid also spoke about how the biggest influence in his life came from his parents, and they were his role models. Dravid singled out Roger Federer as the athlete he admires the most away from cricket, for “the way he’s carried himself and what he’s done,” and said he had a fan-boy moment a few years ago when he met the Swiss star at Wimbledon and clicked a picture with him.

Known for being an astute reader of the game, and a well-informed individual off the pitch, Dravid’s answer to what was the finest book he has read, was quite telling.

“It’s not the finest book but it is a book that influenced me as a youngster. It is Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. I read it as a 15-16-year-old and [it] resonated a lot with me, with what I was trying to do at that stage in life. It came in at a time when I was single-mindedly trying to make a career out of cricket, so the bird’s flight towards excellence resonated with me,” he said.

And in a career filled with memorable knocks around the world that made many a front-page of Indian newspapers through his career, Dravid’s favourite headline dates much further back.

“Favourite headline... ‘Dravid helps St Joseph’s win title’. I think that’s one of the earliest in my career, as a schoolboy and the first time your name comes in the headline, you remember it. I was all excited about it and hope they get the spelling right. A lot of times in my early career, I have a lot of these paper clippings that said ‘David’, instead of ‘Dravid’ – the papers thought that we made a mistake in the scoresheet,” he said.

And finally, Dravid also recalled the time he was sledged by the Australians during the famous Kolkata Test, when he walked out to bat for the second innings at No 6 and changed the game around with a mammoth partnership alongside VVS Laxman.

“When I walked in at Calcutta, I was reminded that I batted at No 3 in the first Test and by the time of the fourth innings of that series, I was at number six, and that I could be be number 12 by the end of the series, which I thought was really funny. And it was a real possibility!”

You can watch the full interview here.