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Sehwag to steer India on Wednesday

Dravid is one of the three players to miss the 6th one-dayer against Lanka at Rajkot

india Updated: Nov 08, 2005 19:34 IST
PTI

Rahul Dravid will miss Wednesday's sixth one-dayer against Sri Lanka as the hosts continue their rotation policy despite losing the previous match.

Vice-captain Virender Sehwag will lead India in Dravid's absence, described by coach Greg Chappell as a move to give younger players a chance after holding an unassailable 4-1 lead in the seven-match series.

Dravid suffered a hamstring niggle during his unbeaten century in Sunday's fifth match in Ahmedabad and did not field, but Chappell insisted the injury was not serious.

"Rahul would have played if he had to but we have to give players adequate rest in a long season," the former Australian captain said.

Rookie fast bowlers Vikram Rajvir Singh and Sri Sreesanth will join Dravid on the bench from the 15-man squad.

India lost at Ahmedabad by five wickets after resting star batsman Sachin Tendulkar and frontline bowlers Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh. It was a move described as "cocky" by former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga.

"It took the flexibility theory to dangerous terrain," Ranatunga wrote in one of columns. "It was akin to pushing an automobile onto the road without gas.

"Besides, to us it appeared India were cocky."

Dravid and Chappell insisted the rotation policy will not be abandoned.

"You don't always find yourself in such a situation when you can experiment with the team against a very good opponent who will be coming at you all guns blazing," said Dravid.

"So when we got the opportunity we wanted to capitalise on that.

"That does not mean we are not playing to win. We would have liked to win this series 7-0, and now we want to win 6-1.

"But we also won't mind if the final result of the series is 4-3, if the boys put up a performance like the way they did at Ahmedabad."

Sri Lanka won the day-night game after India piled up a challenging 295-8 on the back of opener Gautam Gambhir's century on his first appearance in the series and Dravid's fluent unbeaten 103.

The inexperienced bowling, however, could not contain the Sri Lankans with Sreesanth going for 0-56, Rudra Pratap Singh 1-54 and Jai Prakash Yadav 0-44 on a dew-laden outfield that made it difficult for bowlers to grip the ball.

Chappell, keen to build a team for the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, said young players will not learn sitting on the sidelines.

"If we keep playing with a winning combination every time we take the field we won't know what our bench strength is," he said.

"And we just don't want to wake up one fine morning and find ourselves in an awkward situation just because some of the regular players are unavailable."

Former captain Sourav Ganguly does not find a place in the team despite being one of only four batsmen in the world to score more than 10,000 one-day runs.

Dravid's omission means Tendulkar, Pathan and Harbhajan will play on Wednesday with Suresh Raina being the likely super-sub.

India are due to play five one-dayers against South Africa at home later this month. This will be followed by Test series against Sri Lanka, Pakistan, England and the West Indies till July.