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'Batting down will make Viru complete'

Skipper Rahul Dravid said Sehwag could learn to tackle different situations while batting low, which would make him an accomplished player.

india Updated: Apr 21, 2006 11:06 IST

Having proven himself in his new role as an opener, Indian captain Rahul Dravid said the team now has various opening options at its disposal and it could even think of sending Virender Sehwag down the batting order.

"Now I know this is something I can do. We can use the option of me opening whenever needed. We can also push Sehwag down the order," said Dravid, who slammed 92 in India's series-equalling 51-run win against Pakistan on Wednesday.

The Bangalore batsman said Sehwag could learn a few things to tackle different situations while batting at the lower order, which would make him an accomplished player.

"It will make him a complete player when he bats down the order. He will learn how to rotate the strike better and play in different situations. But it is an option we may or may not use," he said.

The skipper praised the swashbuckling Delhi batsman for his impressive 73 after struggling through out the ODI series against England and insisted that he was an important element in the team's scheme of things.

"He is a quality player. I have always said that he is very important in our scheme of things. It was great to see him back among runs, he makes a difference to the game whenever he scores runs.

"I enjoy batting with Sehwag. He is an uncomplicated player. We just kept telling each other to keep going," he said.

Dravid also said "the only time I relaxed was when Inzamam was out. Till he is there you are never certain of a win. He can turn the match single handedly."

"We have to pick the best side, Viru is an experienced campaigner. We just thought we will give him a mental and physical break. He is going through a slight slump, we thought that the break might help him. The goal is to get the best out of people," he said.

Asked if it was unfair to leave out Robin Uthappa yesterday after failing in the previous match, Dravid said, the Karnataka opener still needed to develop some skills.

"Robin is young, he is 20-year-old, it is a learning experience for him. He needs to develop some of the skills. You don't get to be in the Indian dressing room at 20, you just learn being with the squad."

Dravid admitted the team was under pressure after it was 0-1 down but gave credit to the boys for rising up to the occasion in all the three departments.

"We were under pressure since we were 0-1 down but credit to the boys for the way they responded.

"We played well, the wicket played slightly low. It was not easy to bat but we learnt the lessons from the last game. We learnt that if we could have a good start on a wicket like this, it would put the opposition under pressure.

"The key to winning was the good opening partnership that we had. It was not easy to bowl with the wet ball but we really bowled and fielded well today."

Dravid, however, did not think that it was a mistake to leave Sehwag out in the first match against Pakistan, after short listing him in the final 12.
 
"We have to pick the best side, Viru is an experienced campaigner. We just thought we will give him a mental and physical break. He is going through a slight slump, we thought that the break might help him. The goal is to get the best out of people," he said.

Asked if it was unfair to leave out Robin Uthappa on Wednesday after failing in the previous match, Dravid said, the Karnataka opener still needed to develop some skills.

"Robin is young, he is 20-year-old, it is a learning experience for him. He needs to develop some of the skills. You don't get to be in the Indian dressing room at 20, you just learn being with the squad."

Dravid admitted the team was under pressure after it was 0-1 down but gave credit to the boys for rising up to the occasion in all the three departments.

"We were under pressure since we were 0-1 down but credit to the boys for the way they responded.

"We played well, the wicket played slightly low. It was not easy to bat but we learnt the lessons from the last game. We learnt that if we could have a good start on a wicket like this, it would put the opposition under pressure.

"The key to winning was the good opening partnership that we had. It was not easy to bowl with the wet ball but we really bowled and fielded well today."

Dravid also said "the only time I relaxed was when Inzamam was out. Till he is there you are never certain of a win. He can turn the match single handedly."

Dravid denied that the team was inconsistent as they had lost the first game despite being on a high following the 5-1 win against England.

"It is unfair to say we have been inconsistent. We just had an odd bad game yesterday. It is a game of cricket, we lose some days, we win some days. These things happen in sport.

"(But) It (the win) was very satisfying, we deserved to finish on a winning note having played good cricket since the series against Sri Lanka. We showcased skills in all the three departments of the game and the effort we put in, we deserved to finish on a high note although we see West Indies as the end of season."

Dravid said the team management had identified some players and now have a lot of options in cases of injuries or lack of forms.

"We have taken some stride. We have got players who have exhibited skills. Still a long way to go, we need to be consistent. There is no real destination in sport, there is always a process of improving and getting better, because your opposition is also getting better.

"There is good spirit in the squad. We have identified a few players. It has given us a lot of options and it hasn't hurt if we have lost players injuries and form," he said.

"Different people have stood up at different times. If you look at the man of the match list, there are plenty of boys who are winning these awards. The guys have enjoyed the challenges.

"Whenever we have asked them to do something different there is a glint in their eyes, they have jumped to the challenges, their attitude has been brilliant."

About the team combination on return of Sachin Tendulkar, who is out of action due to a shoulder injury, he said "We will have a happy problem. He (Tendulkar) will take up the opening slot but we have other options as well."