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'Need to test youngs before World Cup'

Coach Greg Chappel said India needed to test them urgently or else it would find itself laden with injury-ridden players during World Cup.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2005 17:29 IST

India needed urgently to test the youngsters in the cauldron of cricket pitch or else it would find itself laden with injury-ridden players at the time of World Cup a few months from now, coach Greg Chappell has said.

Chappell saw the five-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in the fifth one-day international at the Sardar Patel stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday in a positive light.

"Look, we need to balance between winning and experimenting ... Had we won with this young side, the benefit for Indian cricket in the next 12-18 months would have been huge," Chappell said.

Having clinched the seven-match series by winning the first four matches, India rested its key players Sachin Tendulkar, Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh.

The former Australian captain said the inclusion of youngsters -- Gautam Gambhir and Rudra Pratap Singh who had been on the bench in the previous matches -- was not for the sake of experimenting but was inevitable.

"You can't get that experience unless you let them (the youngsters) make mistakes. We must be prepared to take that risk, so that we give ourselves a chance of winning the World Cup 2007.

"We have no choice. It is not a matter of whether will we or won't we, we have to do it. Otherwise we will wake up one day and find ourselves surrounded by players with injuries and worn out.

"The energy the guys showed on the field, I don't know if there had been a better fielding effort from the Indian team before," he said. More

"Sehwag did well in the circumstances. He attacked when he had to attack and defended when he had to. We knew that we needed over 300 runs to put them under pressure but the team did well to push them to the extent they did," he said.

Skipper Rahul Dravid also echoed the coach and said it was not often that a team gets three inconsequential matches try out the youngsters.

"It was a chance to look at the younger players we have. We had won the series already, and it is not often that we get such opportunities.

"Now that we have them, we have to make use of them. It will strengthen the squad in the long term.

Dravid said his going off the field was a precautionary measure and there was no major injury worry.

"I felt a lot of cramps, and a bit of (hamstring) strain as well. Touchwood! I did not want to take any risk," the skipper said.

First Published: Nov 11, 2005 17:29 IST