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Skipper in fast lane, wants no slip ups

india Updated: Feb 09, 2007 19:58 IST
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It was in Antigua last June when three fast bowlers with a combined experience of four Tests were trying to bowl out the West Indies on the final day of the first Test, with Rahul Dravid watching from the slips.

After the home team tailenders frustrated India and drew the Test, the skipper had explained that running up to these bowlers or shouting instructions was not his way of leading a bunch of youngsters.

With the World Cup approaching and the team not doing much of note until the recent series against the West Indies, Dravid has moved from that position, literally.

He said on Wednesday he now prefers to field at mid-on or mid-off when the fast bowlers operate.

"I have seen that speaking to them has been beneficial for the team. I can go back to the slips with the spinners on because they are experienced," Dravid said.

He was talking on his team's fielding, which has become a bit of a worry of late.

Like he had before the second ODI against the West Indies in Cuttack, Dravid said ahead of the first one against Sri Lanka that fielding would not be the most sprightly, with a few veterans coming back to the side.

"But we can be a good fielding side, if not the best. We have worked hard on it, improved our catching and with the World Cup coming up, we will soon discuss with the players what their roles are going to be."

At a media conference to unveil the Hero Honda Cup, Dravid added he was "very satisfied" with the way things have been going. "We are heading in the right direction."

Probably looking at the confusing state of affairs at the top of the order - where three different pairs have been tried out in the last four games — as a problem of plenty, Dravid said it was a question of "getting all the combinations which can win".

His opponents too have some combination problems, with Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan being rested for this series.

Coach Tom Moody said it gave them the chance to try out other players and form "a strong XV instead of a strong XI that we will take to the World Cup".

The Australian, who was part of the team that won the 1987 World Cup final at Eden Gardens, was in no mood to talk about his position after the end of the one in the West Indies: "I will worry about my future after the World Cup," he said, in typical fashion.

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