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Dravid confident of a good show ahead

cricket Updated: Jul 26, 2007 13:35 IST
Rohit Mahajan
Rohit Mahajan
Hindustan Times
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Wednesday in Nottingham was bleak, misty and wet, forcing the Indian cricketers to drive 40 minutes down to the England Cricket Board's indoor facility at the Loughborough University, but they were not complaining --- they will not lament the rains too strongly for some time at least.

Even Sourav Ganguly was smiling, despite missing nets due to a back strain. While speculation was rife that the left-hander might be forced to miss the second Test against England, which begins on Friday, Ganguly himself said that he was "quite okay".

The whole team was feeling quite okay, actually - their great escape at Lord's, a cathartic experience after all the fear, horror, thrill and relief of Monday, seems to have settled their nerves and left them with a great feeling of relief.

The drive to Loughborough also must have caused their nerves to settle. It was beautiful all the way, especially after exiting Nottingham - the mist, the hedges, the sheep grazing in the meadows, dark woods behind them, all the bits made for a lovely big picture.

<b1>Yuvraj Singh, whose path to the Indian Test team was again blocked after everyone in the XI did enough at Lord's to keep their places, was sent out to deal with the media, whose numbers had swelled on the eve of the first Test.

'Ganguly quite okay'

Yuvraj's opinion was solicited on Ganguly's back problem, and he parried the question with tact. But the team manager, Rufus Rockey, said: "It's a minor issue, there is no cause for concern. Sourav did not bat at the nets today only as a precautionary measure, there is no problem with him and he should be fine for the game on Friday."

All the other players were fine on Wednesday - they had a two-hour session at the excellent ECB school, watched by trainees who were delighted by the windfall. Scotland's women cricket team, here to play a local club, was confined indoors - the girls watched the Indians intently, perhaps hoping to pick up a trick or two. The nets over, the autographs of Dravid, Ganguly and Tendulkar were, not surprisingly, the most sought after ones.

Dravid, relaxed and cheerful, said that the team was positive. "Yes, we are pleased."

"We got a break at Lord's, and are positive and upbeat. We are confident of a good show in the second Test."

Ganguly was a bit wistful, though, obviously regretting losing his wicket after two good starts in his last Lord's Test.

"I was batting well in both the innings," he said. "I should have gone on, but I'm now looking forward to the next Test --- we have two more matches to play and are looking forward to doing well in them."

Unless injury forces someone out of the team, Yuvraj Singh does not have too much to look forward to in terms of getting a piece of the action, but he assured we would see a better Indian performance in the forthcoming games.

<b2>"If you don't have a good match, yes, there is concern," he said. "But we've gone through this in the past. On our last time here, most of the batsmen had got big runs, and they know what they must do now."

Were the Indians taken by surprise --- the whole of England has been, actually --- by the ferocity of the summer cold here? Is the team prepared for the conditions, or is the Indian team just a bad starter?

"You know, we've been here for a month, so preparation is not an issue," he said. "We just did not have a good Test, but we're hoping and confident that things would change here."

Finding themselves in regions where, according to legend, Robin Hood roamed, plaguing officials and bringing hope, the Indians will aim at keeping their cheer and robbing England of their peace - if the rains allow them to.