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Dravid says his team lacks experience

The Indian skipper feels that the tour is a learning opportunity for young Indian squad.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 17:48 IST

India captain Rahul Dravid on Wednesday described his team as inexperienced ahead of the start of the five-match one-day series against the West Indies.

India has won 18 matches against six losses over the last eight months under Dravid's captaincy, and the team is favored to win the opening match at Sabina Park on Thursday.

"We have a bit of inexperience in our bowling attack and some of the young batsmen coming through," Dravid said. "We see this as an opportunity to give them some exposure and some opportunities for them to learn in the real environment.

"While we have been satisfied with the results over the last 20 to 25 games, we know we can get better as a side and we know we can play much better cricket. That's something we'll be focusing on in this series."

The pace trio of Munaf Patel, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and RP Singh has played a combined 31 one-dayers. Ajit Agarkar, a veteran of 159 matches, will lead India's attack with left-armed Irfan Pathan.

However, the 21-year-old Pathan has played just 59 matches. Batsmen Suresh Raina, Robin Uthappa and Venugopal Rao are in their first year of international cricket.

Dravid said one advantage is that the team isn't scarred by previous tours of the Caribbean.

"There won't be the history of having tough tours here," Dravid said.

West Indies captain Brian Lara said his team gained in confidence by recently beating Zimbabwe 5-0.

"It was important for confidence that we won those games - and won emphatically - and I think we did," Lara said. "Of course, this is the real test. It is a very good India team."

"It doesn't matter who you're playing against, as long as you get that winning formula going, you're moving forward."

Indian all rounder Ramesh Powar is out of the opening two matches on Thursday and Saturday with an ankle injury, while Sreesanth has a bruised heel and is in doubt.

First Published: May 18, 2006 10:22 IST