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I am ready to open in Tests: Dravid

Dravid may open the innings in the first Test in a bid to blunt the effectiveness of Australian bowling with the new ball.

cricket Updated: Dec 21, 2007 05:17 IST

Rahul Dravid on Thursday said he does not mind donning the role of an opener in the challenging four-Test series against Australia starting here on the Boxing Day.

Dravid said he has no problem facing the new ball bowlers led by Brett Lee on the bouncy wickets. "If I am asked to open in the Test matches, I will be happy to do so," said Dravid after opening the innings with Wasim Jaffer on the opening day of the three-day warm-up match against Victoria.

"I am comfortable doing any role that is given to me by the team management. I try and do the best I can, irrespective of where I bat," said Dravid, who had opened the innings for India on several occasions.

In Thursday's match, Dravid was unbeaten on 33 after two-and-a-half hours of batting when the rain came pouring down and building on to the start in the final session.

"I just batted where the team management wanted me to," said Dravid who, to put things in perspective, has made just 369 runs from eight games at 33.55 as an opener, including two centuries against Pakistan on flat decks.

As against this, he made in excess of 600 runs against Australia in four Tests, including a match-winning double century in Adelaide, when India last toured Down Under for the 2003-2004 series.

Dravid said India had a solid middle order which can pile up big scores if provided with good starts. "If they feel that the best chance for us to do well here in Australia is by me opening the batting, that is fine with me. We have a very strong middle-order, a constant middle-order for sometime now. But there are a lot of good youngsters coming in, and they can't be ignored.

"It is critical to get off to good starts in Australia. If you can see off the early part without losing too many wickets, then you can make it count later on."

Asked what are the major differences between batting at three and opening the innings, the former India captain said, "at number three, though, sometimes you do come in early as well, there is a little difference. It is a little different with the mindset."

"Right from my school days, I have played in the middle-order and I have got used to it. But as a professional cricketer, it is important to adapt and adjust. I have done it before, and if I am asked to again, it is a question of figuring out my routines."

"The critical thing is the 10-minute changeover between innings. You have got to rush in and get ready in those ten minutes. You need a different mindset, that is probably the only difference."

Dravid admitted that just one practice game prior to the Tests wasn't an ideal way to prepare for a tough series against the Aussies.

"Ideally, yes, we would definitely have liked more than one game. Our preparation on our last tour was ideal -- we had two practice games and good practice in Brisbane before the Tests. But international calendars are cramped these days, the schedules are tight. So that is not an issue anymore. We have just got to knuckle down and get on with it." Dravid, however, played down the threat of bouncy wickets in Australia.

"You expect the bounce here, but it is a question of getting used to it. If you get set, the bounce opens up your back foot game, it opens up a whole new range of strokes and gives you a lot more opportunities to score runs."

About the ongoing warm-up game against Victoria, Dravid said, "Considering the weather, it's good to have got 38 overs in. Something is better than nothing. The last series was a bit strange. I got starts but didn't have the rub of the green, got out playing some ordinary shots. But I feel like my feet are moving well, that I am batting well."