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Criticism does not motivate players: Dravid

"I can't be worried about things I can't control. It is difficult for me to make a comment."

india Updated: Nov 25, 2006 20:48 IST

Indian captain Rahul Dravid today refused to react on the furore back home over the team's poor performance and said such criticisms do not help in motivating players to perform better.

Dravid and coach Greg Chappell have come under fire for the side's indifferent performance in ODIs of late and the Durban defeat has triggered off angry reactions back home but the captain said he could only do things, which were under his control.

"I can't be worried about things I can't control. It is difficult for me to make a comment. We know our country is one of extreme emotions and reactions and I can't really stop people from making statements. As they are entitled to their opinions so am I entitled not to react," Dravid said on the eve of the third tie here on Sunday.

Dravid did not think the criticisms would act as motivating factor for his team.

"I don't think it's criticism which motivates cricketers into doing well. If the team did well in 2003 World Cup after initial days it was because they played well, not because there was criticism back home."

Dravid did drop a hint that he would consider batting at number three at some stage of the series, if not on Sunday, in case Mohammad Kaif fails to find his feet.

"Kaif needs a consistent run and coming top of the order could suit his style of game. He has had a stop-start career so far but he has been around for 5-6 years. If it doesn't work then I would be considering coming in at number three."

Looking back at the loss in the tour opener and the second game in Durban, Dravid said tosses could play a critical role in the outcome.

"In these conditions, tosses could be critical. If you bat second in day-night games then 80 per cent times you lose a match."

The Indian captain said he was aware that the team had done well whenever he scored runs in the last few years and he would be trying to do his bit in the rest of the series.

Dravid also came out in support of youngsters and said it was not uncommon for players to take time in finding their feet.

"I remember when Ricky Ponting, who has a phenomenal record, struggled when he first came to India in 2001. It can be no different with a few of these youngsters."

Dravid did agree that it was up to a point the selectors could give youngsters the leeway before taking a call.

"If we are not consistently doing well than a decision has to be made by selectors. It has happened when cricketers have gone back to domestic cricket and rediscovered their form or not come back at all. With the possible exception of Sachin Tendulkar, I guess everyone has had to do that."

South African skipper Graeme Smith reiterated that he would like to nail the game on Sunday and then the one in Port Elizabeth to seal the series in his team's favour.

He also called upon his batsmen to do well in the first 10-15 overs where they tended to lose wickets. As for his own relatively poor form, he did not seem too concerned.

"I have had only four or five games in the last three- four months and that's been the issue. Ideally I would like to play even a club game to get myself back into groove," he said.

First Published: Nov 25, 2006 20:00 IST