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'Getting Freddie and KP early is the key'

Skipper Rahul Dravid said the two impact players were going to pose a few problems but it was upto the hosts to find a way to soften the blow.

india Updated: Mar 30, 2006 16:59 IST

Captain Rahul Dravid on Thursday said reining in England's hard hitting batsmen Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen would be the key to India's success in the seven-match one-day cricket series.

Pietersen and Flintoff featured in an intimidating partnership in the first one-dayer at Delhi before their quick dismissals saw England, chasing a modest target of 203, crumble to a 39-run defeat two days ago.

Dravid said the two impact players were going to pose a few problems but it was upto the hosts to find a way to soften the blow.

"Flintoff and Pietersen have the power and strength to bat the way they do. It will be important to get them early," the Indian skipper said on the eve of the second ODI here.

"They have dominated not only our attack. They can be devastating against any bowling on their day. We have to accept that and respect that.

"We have to keep trying different things and find a way to check them. In one-day cricket, there will be times when you go around the park a little bit."

Dravid once again sought to allay concerns about Virender Sehwag's form but also said the team could try out a few new ideas as the series progressed.

"We have full faith in the openers. They are proven performers. We might do a few things differently during the course of the tournament," he said.

One of those few things would include giving a chance to Mumbai off spinner Ramesh Powar.

"Powar is the kind of player who is always in your thought... Irrespective of the wicket we play on," Dravid said.

The captain said he was not sure how the track at Nahar Singh Stadium would behave since not many matches have been played at the venue in recent times but believed it could aid spin in the later stages of the match.

"It is tough to assess because there are not too much of past records to go by. Not many Ranji Trophy matches have been played to look at the scores.

"But it looks firm and not powdery. It could start to turn as the match goes on. And given the early morning start, there could be a little bit for the seamers in the beginning as well," he said.

Dravid said the team needed to learn to not go into a one-day match with a prefixed notion about what total to put on board or chase.

"I think we got a bit carried away, thinking it (the pitch) was worth 280-300 in the last game. If we had set a target of 230-240, it would have been good. Of course we played well to defend 203."