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Dravid backed his chasers

Vivian Richards feels that the Indian skipper is a better than his predecessor was, and he always puts the team ahead of his individual goals.

india Updated: May 23, 2006 19:43 IST

The second game at the Sabina Park was even better than the first one, with the margin of victory showing that the hosts kept their nerves while Yuvraj Singh fell short after having done a lot of hard work.

Should Rahul Dravid have decided to chase on Saturday? Harbhajan Singh had bowled beautifully in the first game, and Ramesh Powar joined him for the second game.

The pitch had slowed down, and going by what Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels did with the ball, Harbhajan and Powar would have been match winners.

However, can you blame a man for opting to chase when he has an unbeaten run of 17 successive chases behind him? It was a tough call for the Indian skipper, and I can't really judge him harshly.

In fact, I have always considered Dravid as great captaincy material. He is certainly a keener student of the game than his predecessor was, and he is a solid individual who always puts the team ahead of his individual goals.

His batsmanship is of the highest quality and that is a big bonus since it earns him the respect of his young side. Sourav Ganguly was an instinctive captain who had an infectious enthusiasm on the field.

He had a great run with the Indians and his is a tough act to follow, but Dravid certainly has not disappointed so far.

Coming back to Saturday's game, it was great to see the West Indians use the depth in their batting to come back from the loss of early wickets. A couple of years ago 40-odd for four would have ended up as 100 all out.

Ramnaresh Sarwan played patiently with the lower order to ensure that the team got as close to 200 as possible. This determination plus an improved fielding performance is evidence that the Windies camp looks committed to doing well against quality opposition.

For the Indians it was a case of all their experiments going wrong. They must have thought a few runs from Pathan's blade would put the match out of WI's reach. Sadly this did not click, and Kaif failed again.

India now head to St. Kitts where the wicket is a new one. This is an ideal opportunity for Dravid to do what he likes to do best - chase. For the Windies, Gayle's contribution is a good omen. He was the main architect of WI's 4-3 win in India in 2002, and when he gets going, West Indies generally wins.