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Dravid wants his batsmen to fire

The skipper says the top six batsmen must strive to bat for 50 overs if team wants to reach final.

india Updated: Sep 22, 2006 16:33 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Captain Rahul Dravidput the onus on his batsmen to deliver the goods in the crucial tri-series match against Australia, saying the top six batsmen should strive to bat for 50 overs if India wanted to secure a place in the final.

Dravid, who has not been in the best of form with a sequence of 26, 6 and 0, said he was determined to produce a big knock in the must-win match.

"I am pretty focussed on the game tomorrow. My mind and energies are really on trying to win the tournament," Dravid said on the eve of the last league match against the three-time world champions at the Kinrara Oval.

"It is pretty important for us. I am not really trying to think about anything else.

After a splendid performance in their opening match against the West Indies, in which they posted 309 for five with Sachin Tendulkar leading from the front with an unbeaten 141, the Indian batting has floundered in the last two games.

They were reduced to 35 for five in their last meeting against Ricky Ponting's men before rain came to their rescue. And they were bundled out for 162 yesterday by a second string West Indian bowling.

"The top six or seven batsmen should play 50 overs. That will be our aim. It would be nice for a lot of guys to score runs, and personally as well," Dravid said.

"We will focus on playing good cricket. If we fulfill our target of good bowling, batting and fielding the result will be there. We are not going to put extra pressure on ourselves."

Australia have seven points and India six from three matches each so far. That would mean a 'no result' due to rains would also see Australia through.

West Indies have already confirmed their place in the summit clash, having tallied 9 points from their four matches.

"It is a critical game. The champions trophy is coming up. And there will be lot of important challenges in the season ahead starting with the game tomorrow," the Indian captain said.

Dravid sought to play down fitness concerns about Yuvraj Singh and Ajit Agarkar.

Suresh Raina was promoted to number three slot against the West Indies yesterday because Yuvraj was unwell.

The Punjab left-hander was ill coming into the series and joined the team four days after his teammates had arrived here on September 10.

Agarkar also seemed to be feeling the strains of the tropical heat but Dravid said they both were not ruled out for tomorrow's match yet.

"Hopefully they (Yuvraj and Agarkar) should be fit tomorow," he said.

"To come back strongly showed a lot of resilience and character. It also showed the areas of the game we can work on," he said adding it was the first full game India got to play.

The Kinrara wicket has proved to be quite deceptive. Dravid felt that the wicket could be judged only tomorrow morning. "It looks a good wicket, though it is hard to judge," he said.

"Most of these wickets had a bit of moisture in them a day before. Hopefully with the sun out tomorrow it should dry out, it should be a good wicket."

Asked to comment on Glenn Mcgrath, the Indian skipper said it was important to play all the Australian bowlers well.

"I don't think we can focus just on Mcgrath or (Brett) Lee, we have to play well right through 50 overs."

He cited the example of West Indian Dwayne Smith who ripped through the Indian batting lineup on Wednesday.

"You wouldn't have thought about him that much as being one of your strike bowlers who can remove the top order but he did it, so it just shows that if you bowl in the right areas anyone can be a threat."

First Published: Sep 21, 2006 19:50 IST