Viru, Kaif are proven players: Dravid
On the eve of the Indore ODI, the captain defended the two struggling batsmen.india Updated: Apr 14, 2006 14:36 IST
With the limited-overs series against England already won, India captain Rahul Dravid says his team is now offering some of its younger players some valuable international experience.
India lead 4-1 going into Saturday's final game of the seven-match series, which also featured one game that was abandoned without a ball being delivered due unplayable field conditions.
India are now taking the opportunity of fielding several reserve players, which Dravid says is a strategy focused on the future.
"It's a good opportunity for the young guys, there are a few areas we need to work on," said Dravid ahead of Saturday's one-dayer.
"Whatever team we pick, we'll try to win the match, but with an eye on the future," said Dravid, who returns from a two-match rest to lead the side in the final encounter.
"We're not just looking at one match, the team management sometimes looks ahead of the tour," he said.
"We've got some young fast bowlers there and need to find out who're the best of the lot. You can't find that out, unless you give these players an opportunity."
Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar are the two seasoned members of the Indian pace attack, while Shantakumaran Sreesanth and Rudra Pratap Singh broke into the team last year.
Two others, Munaf Patel and Vikram Rajvir Singh, made their debuts during the current series.
"It's an apprenticeship period for a lot of these guys and a good learning experience," said Dravid.
"What's important is that we're able to provide them this opportunity."
Dravid said on the batting front, the team had benefited from good form from Yuvraj Singh and youngster Suresh Raina.
And while India have suffered from a slump by opener Virender Sehwag and middle-order batsmen Mohammad Kaif, but Dravid defended the team management's decision to keep them in the lineup.
"Sehwag and Kaif are proven performers, they've done really well in the past," said Dravid. "You have to get the best out of your players."
India are resting aggressive batsman and wicketkeeper Mahendra Dhoni, India's top scorer in sixth one-dayer on Wednesday that England won by five wickets.
His place will be taken by Dinesh Karthik, who was the first-choice wicketkeeper before Dhoni broke into the side.
England are keen to salvage some more pride from the last game of a long tour, but it is still unsure whether series captain Andrew Flintoff will play Saturday.
Flintoff sat out of the sixth match, providing Andrew Strauss his first chance to lead England.
Strauss produced an emphatic innings to seal England's victory after the bowlers had restricted India to a modest total.
Flintoff did not practice at the nets Friday, but all England players were declared fit for the match.