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'Sourav an important player of team'

However, Dravid said that decision on the final eleven for Chennai Test would depend on condition of wicket. At nets

india Updated: Dec 02, 2005 16:20 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Captain Rahul Dravid and coach Greg Chappell sought to downplay the issue of accomodating Sourav Ganguly in the line-up for India's first cricket Test against Sri Lanka startingon Friday.

Ganguly was back in the Indian dressing room after being kept out of the one-day series against Sri Lanka and South Africa following a spat with Chappell during the tour of Zimbabwe two months ago.

The 57-year-old former Australian captain had reportedly made his displeasure clear to the national selectors over Ganguly's inclusion for the first Test and was greeted with jeers from the Kolkata fans during the South Africa one-dayer last week.

While Ganguly has one Test to prove himself as an "all-rounder", the task before the team management would be to find a batting slot for the ex-captain.

"It is very hard to say but he is a very important member of the team and I don't see any problem (in working with Ganguly)," Chappell said on the eve of the match at the MA Chidambaram stadium.

Dravid was his typical diplomatic self when asked to comment on Ganguly.

"He has played well in the past. We will also definitely have him as a bowler," he said.

"However, it all depends on the condition of the wicket before we finalise the eleven."

"He is a very experienced player. I have always believed that I cannot do everything on my own, I look for support," Dravid said.

Asked if it would not be unfair on Yuvraj Singh or Mohammad Kaif should they make way for Ganguly, Chappell said, "Let us worry about that tomorrow, we have not finalised the final team yet."

There was a minor fitness concern about Virender Sehwag but Dravid dismissed it as a non-issue.

"We don't want to make an issue out of it. He had light work out at the nets yesterday and today, he is fine," the skipper said.

"There is a slight shoulder strain on the left, we will assess him like we assess every player before we finalise the team tomorrow."

Visiting captain Marvan Atapattu said his team did miss the services of stalwart Sanath Jayasuriya but his exclusion gave the youngsters a chance to prove themselves.

"Jayasuriya is a great player, we definitely miss him but it is the decision of the selectors to give a chance to young players in his place. Only time will tell how they are going to be as useful for the team," Atapattu said.

He said playing in India after a gap of eight years would be a challenge in itself for the players.

"All of us have not played in Chennai, after eight years the team has come (to India). It is not an easy task, it is going to be a good challenging series."

Sri Lankan coach Tom Moody said he had fond memories of the venue, where he made his ODI debut in a World Cup match in 1987.

"1987 is like old times, I have fond memories. It is a great ground and a good stadium, and we look forward to playing here tomorrow," the 40-year old Moody said.

Moody believed his players had it in them to bounce back from the 6-1 thrashing they received from the Indians in the one-day series.

"After the one-day series was over, we had 10 days of skills sessions and the ball also would be different from the one we played in the ODIs."

"We we have prepared very well. The team is looking forward to the Test matches."

Dravid said it would not be a problem to switch to Test match mould after having played 12 one-dayers on the trot.

"It is a question of adjustment ... It is a challenge most international cricketers experience these days, it is part of the game," Dravid said.

"Sri Lanka are a very good side. We played to our potential in the ODI series, we did not allow them (to play their potential)."

"I hope we do the same in the Test series too."

He said the Indians were not bothered whether the Lankans missed Jayasuriya or not.

"That doesn't matter, we are not worried about any player in the opposition team," he said.

He maintained a similarly tough posturing on countering Muttiah Muralitharan.

"We have played him well before. They also have to face our combination of Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble and Murali Kartik," he said.

First Published: Dec 02, 2005 00:00 IST