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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014
Oval can be India's launch pad for future
Nasser Hussain
August 17, 2011
First Published: 23:41 IST(17/8/2011)
Last Updated: 01:41 IST(18/8/2011)
England's Graeme Swann reacts after running out India's Sachin Tendulkar (L) during the third cricket Test match at Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham.

The Oval is one of India's favourite venues. The last time they played here, Anil Kumble scored a hundred. It can also reverse swing and spin, so India have reasons to put up a good show here.

It's not that India are at the bottom of the Test rankings, they are only a few points behind England. India must use the Oval Test as a launch pad for the future.

With the right inspiration from the seniors, the team should go all out and do the little things right without taking on undue pressure. Correct attitude and body language will allow the players to play freely and give the fans something to cheer about.

Dravid, a beacon
India could use Day 2 of the Edbaston Test as a symbol of a bad day as nothing went right for them on that day. Although they lost the Test, their performance improved after that day.

Yet, despite the fact that he dropped some easy catches, I cannot but admire the attitude of Rahul Dravid, who was visibly upset with his fielding. Test cricket and his contribution to the side mean so much to him. India players must get inspired by the Dravids, Tendulkars, Dhonis and the Sehwags and show they care for their country and fans who have turned up in large numbers in support.

Play Munaf
India's bowling will struggle if Praveen Kumar is injured. I would go for Munaf Patel over RP Singh, as Munaf played Test cricket in the West Indies. I am an advocate for this 'next in line' system as every player and those in waiting know what is expected of them when the opportunity comes. England brought in Ravi Bopara in place of Jonathan Trott at Edgbaston for the same reason.

Terrific combo
In MS Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher, India have one of the best captain-coach combinations in world cricket. I have known Fletcher closely. He is a top guy and will be working hard behind the scenes to inspire the lads to fight back for their lost ground. He will be looking for the next bunch which will propel India forward in Test cricket in the coming years.

Dhoni is India's best captain and his record speaks for itself. I have never seen him over-react when the chips are down, and I don't recommend it. But a reprimand from him once in a while may work, especially when the fielding is shoddy and the body language poor. The important thing is that he has played himself back into form at Edgbaston. The last thing India need is an out of form captain.

Hawkeye/Sporting Excellence


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