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Chappell defends four-bowler theory

"We played four bowlers because it was horses-for-courses kind of situation," he said.

india Updated: Jun 20, 2006 16:06 IST

Coach Greg Chappell has hit out at criticism that India erred by going into the first two Tests against the West Indies with four bowlers, saying the team needed to make big scores on the benign tracks that were dished out in order to put pressure on the opposition.

The Australian also rubbished suggestion that the team management was trying to strengthen its batting at the cost of bowling.

"We're not 2-0 up so there is no point moaning about it. You can be disappointed and all those things but it is not going to help us. We played four bowlers because it was horses-for-courses kind of situation," Chappell said.

"We didn't want to protect batting. We needed to make big scores and we made it. We thought on those wickets that was our best chance to put pressure on the opposition. The way to do it is to put big scores," he said after nets on Monday.

Chappell jumped to the defence of his young bowling attack which failed to take 20 wickets in both the Tests.

"Everyone is looking at our bowlers and saying we haven't done this or we haven't done that. What we have done is to win nearly two Test matches. You've got to look at what the West Indian bowlers have done.

"Talking to Lara the other night, he was very complimentary about our bowlers. He thought under the circumstances our bowlers did everything they could have done. It was a very good feedback for us."

Chappell gave a clean chit to Harbhajan Singh and S Sreesanth on fitness count and defended the lean patch of VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh. 

"We do want players to go on but in each game it is only two-three batters who score and they are not the same in every match. Sometime ago, you were saying the same about Sehwag and Kaif. Now it is VVS Laxman and Yuvraj. But if we keep getting the wickets like the first two Tests, before the series is out, they would strike form. They are two very good players."

The coach also had no bones about dropping Irfan Pathan for the first Test.

"He was pretty much tired after the one-dayers and we thought he needed a break. The break has done him no harm and he would learn from the experience.

"One of the problems of playing so much cricket is you don't get the downtime to reflect and build on what you have learnt. He needed rest and we felt it was in his best interest."

Looking ahead at the third Test beginning here on Thursday, Chappell said he would like his team to watch out for Brian Lara, especially if the pitch was another belter.

"He is a player probably in the twilight of his career. Still, he has the capacity to pull out an innings of some quality. We would not rest easy till the series is finished. He is likely to play more good innings, particularly if it is a batting wicket. He is going to be a problem."   

Lara hit a match-saving century in the second Test in St Lucia last week and Chappell marvelled at his ability to sum up the conditions so aptly.

"Not many players would have been able to sum up the conditions, summon up the mental energy to play an innings like that. It took a special innings from him that day to stop us from winning a Test."

Chappell is also very impressed with the resilience shown by India after the demoralising loss in the one-day series.

"I am very impressed with the resilience of our boys. They could have found a host of reasons (to go into their shells) after the one-dayers. But they regrouped mentally and physically. Even after struggling on the first two days of the first Test... They have some tremendous resilience."