Dravid backs Bhajji to deliver in Mumbai
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Dravid backs Bhajji to deliver in Mumbai

The skipper believes the off spinner will get wickets in the final Test against England starting on Saturday.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 11:44 IST

Rahul Dravid believes off spinner Harbhajan Singh will get wickets in the final Test against England starting on Saturday, in what is also the skipper's 100th Test appearance.

Harbhajan has been under pressure since the tour of Pakistan earlierin 2006where he failed to claim a scalp in the two Tests he played before missing the one-day series because of a finger injury.

"I think, sometimes, in India we get too impatient with the spinners, especially when playing at home, because we are used to them getting wickets all the time," Dravidsaid on Wednesday.

The off spinner took only three wickets in the first two Tests against England and looked largely ineffective but the captain was confident that he would strike in the last. India lead the three-Test series 1-0.

"I thought he bowled well in the Mohali Test, though he didn't have the luck to get many wickets. He's a top-class performer."

Dravid, who will become only the sixth Indian to play in 100 Tests after Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble, also felt visiting teams had begun to play spinners better lately.

"You have to accept that. They come here a lot more often and are getting used to playing spin well. But we have full faith in Harbhajan. He has always done well in Bombay and this will be the Test match I think."

Dravid dismissed talk that middle-order batsman Vangipurappu Laxman was in danger of losing his place to younger blood.

Left-hander Yuvraj Singh, who has been in spectacular form in recent months, was picked ahead of Laxman in the second Test when India went in with five specialist bowlers instead of four.

"Laxman has been playing continuously for the last five, six years and has always been part of our plans," Dravid said.

"Sure I mean there is competition from young kids coming through but that holds true for everyone.

"Sometimes we have had to go with the combination that we think will win us a Test match, like in Mohali we went in with five bowlers and that was the only reason Laxman missed out."

The 33-year-old Dravid, who has earned the sobriquet The Wall for his solid defence, said the latest milestone gave him an opportunity to reflect on the past.

"In some ways it feels no different, to be honest. It is just that when you reach a milestone like this it gives you a good chance to be grateful to all the people who have helped you to get where you are."

First Published: Mar 16, 2006 10:26 IST