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Inexperience not a worry: Dravid

Dravid says the WI series would throw great challenges, writes G Krishnan.

india Updated: May 12, 2006 09:33 IST
G Krishnan

Sounding confident after India’s recent successes in One-day Internationals, Indian skipper Rahul Dravid said the upcoming series in the West Indies would throw great challenges to the youngsters who have no experience of playing in the islands.

Speaking to the media here on Thursday shortly before leaving for the Caribbean in the early hours of Friday, Dravid said the inexperience of some of his teammates having not played in the West Indies before will not be a problem. “It could be good in some ways,” said Dravid. “They don't have the experience of losing a series there. They can get some experience by talking to the senior members of the side.”

“West Indies is a lovely place to tour and a great challenge to play cricket,” he added. “The crowds are very passionate and knowledgeable. It was a learning experience for me when I first went there in 1997 and then in 2002. It is going to be a good tour for the youngsters.” India would try to break the jinx of having not won a Test series there since Ajit Wadekar led India to their first away series win in 1970-71.

“We have played some good sides and the conditions there can be tricky. West Indies do well at home. It is a question of playing good throughout,” said Dravid.

The 33-year-old from Bangalore said the series throws an opportunity to set the record in West Indies straight. “There have been lessons learnt from the last couple of tours. We won a Test in Trinidad the last time,” he said. “In West Indies, the tours tend to be long and it is important to maintain consistency. We had a chance to win the last Test series there."

Talking about the team's recent successes in ODIs, Dravid said it was not difficult to transform the ODI success into Tests.

“It is just that we have done better in ODIs than Tests. But that does not mean that we have not done well in Tests,” the captain said.

Dravid denied that the tour to the Caribbean is being looked up to as a dress rehearsal for next year's World Cup. “We are going there to win the series. We don’t want to think too far up to the World Cup,” he said.

Admitting that the team is in the right frame of mind for the current tour, Dravid said having the one-day series before the Tests would be an advantage. “Playing the one-dayers will help us adjust to the wickets that we will encounter in Tests,” he said.

India play their four Tests at Antigua (June 2-6), St Lucia (June 10-14), St Kitts (June 22-26) and Jamaica (June 30-July 4) while some of the traditional centres do not figure in the schedule.

“It would have been nice to play at Port of Spain and Barbados but they are getting ready for the World Cup,” Dravid said.

Dravid was pleased by the scheduling of the Test matches, with seven days between the second and third Tests. “It was something we had discussed with the Board. We felt in some of the series that back-to-back Tests can be quite hard on the bowlers," he said. "It does make the tour a little longer but we need to give our players enough time (to recharge batteries)."

Dravid said that he did not take the West Indies lightly. "Some of their players may not have the reputation but they are good and have the potential," he said. "If we play to our potential, we should do well."

He also refused to accept that the pitches in the West Indies largely help the spinners. "I hope the pitches help our spinners. Having said that, it was the fast bowlers who won us the Test in Jamaica last time," Dravid contended.

"There is no vicious turn for the spinners and fast bowlers, if they bowl on the right areas, can be dangerous.”

First Published: May 11, 2006 20:28 IST