Dravid rules out Sourav as an opener

Published on Jan 21, 2006 04:02 PM IST

"I opened in the first game and had a good partnership, so we are not looking at the option of Ganguly opening the innings," skipper said.

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None | ByPress Trust of India, Faisalabad

Indian captain Rahul Dravid on Friday ruled out sending Sourav Ganguly as an opener and hinted his record-breaking partnership with Virender Sehwag might continue in the second Test against Pakistan starting on Saturday.

Dravid neither confirmed nor denied as to his opening the innings once again and kept the cards close to his chest regarding the team combination.

But the Bangalore batsman gave enough hints that his successful partnership with Sehwag, which raised a near-world record 410 runs in the weather-hit drawn first Test in Lahore, would continue in the Test.

"No, I don't think so (whether Ganguly would open). We have some other options as well. We have got a couple of openers in the side.

"I opened in the first game and had a good partnership, so we are not looking at the option of Ganguly opening the innings," he said at the pre-match media conference.

On the chances of his opening the innings, Dravid said, "my innings of 128 has certainly given us certain options in the short term. We will take it as a positive and view it as an opportunity for us to try and get something out of the situation, try and utilise it in such a way that it may give us a chance to play well in the series."

Like on the eve of the first Test, Dravid was non-committal on the team composition.

"There are some thoughts in our minds and there's some clarity but obviously from the strategic point of view we have decided to announce the team only tomorrow morning," he said.

Dravid said that wicket at Iqbal stadium did not seem very different from the one at Gaddafi stadium which produced a draw in the first Test at Lahore.

"It looks a slightly different wicket to Lahore, but not very different. There's a slight difference in the appearance, but not by much," the captain said.

"As far as my judgement goes it will be good for batting and then as the match progresses, hopefully, there will be some help for the bowlers if it acts a bit up and down."

Dravid felt that, like in Lahore, toss would not make much of a difference.

"It would be a good wicket. As we saw in Lahore there was no difference about winning the toss or losing it.

"I don't think it will make much of a difference here too, except may be on the first morning when there's some help for the fast bowlers. After that I think for 2-3 days it would be a good wicket to bat on."

Asked if people were seeing a different Rahul Dravid after his eye-to-eye confrontation with Pakistani pace spearhead Shoaib Akhtar during his innings at Lahore, he laughed and said, "I did not even think of it, but just reacted."

"It's not the first time I have seen a bowler in the eye. But probably people are taking notice of it now as I am the captain.

"When (South African paceman Allan) Donald looked at me many years ago when I was a young kid, I never looked back (away from the bowler)."

"I am not trying to make a statement even with things like batting orders or things like that which would lead to the detriment of the team," Dravid said.

"Decisions are taken based on how I could help the team be a better team, how can we try and win Test matches."

"These are the first things on our minds. You make statements in the way you play. I have done enough and I don't think I need to make statements to the opposition or to my own team," he said.

Dravid said the team did have had a look at past records at various grounds it was to play on this tour, but they were just indicators and not definitive of how the wicket would behave and who would succeed.

"We have looked at numbers and statistics though I don't believe in numbers. We have looked at things like who's taken wickets, what's the last five years' scores here," said Dravid.

"It can vary as it depends on the types of wickets that were produced and what were the conditions. Statistics give you an indication but you can't form definitive judgement based on numbers. Every year is different, every month is different."

"The wickets on which matches were played last month were different from probably what's being played on now."

Dravid said that the huge partnership with Sehwag in the first Test did not give India an edge, but definitely it has given the team a confidence-booster.

"It doesn't really matter. Pakistan scored 679 against us in the first innings and we replied to it very well," Dravid said.

"Yes, we have some confidence gained from that partnership, some positives, but there's no other significant advantage for either of the teams coming into this game."

The Bangalore stalwart was also not concerned over the lack of of batting practice for players like Sachin Tendulkar, Ganguly and Venkatasai Laxman who were cooling their heels in the pavilion during the Indian first innings at Lahore.

"Not really. The players you have mentioned are all very experienced."

"We had good batting practice in the lead-up game and we are in the middle of our season. I am pretty confident the guys have had enough batting," he said.

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