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Wright calls for improved bowling, fielding

"We still have to work out a way to beat Australia in one-day cricket," John Wright said.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2004 02:13 IST

Coach John Wright believes Australia carry an edge over the Indians in the ongoing cricket tri-series but his team could counter the world champions if bowling and fielding could be improved in the coming days.

"This is a really important week for us. It should virtually assure our qualification for the finals. We still have to work out a way to beat Australia in one-day cricket. They still have got an edge on us a little at the moment," Wright said here today.

"Our batting is doing alright and fielding is something we are trying to put some edge back. That is an area we need to sharpen up. Our performance in the first game was pretty shoddy. Our ground fielding was terrible though catching was outstanding." Wright said.

Wright also felt the team, with a bunch of inexperienced young bowlers, has not been able to lift itself in the bowling area in the series.

But he said the absence of a few key bowlers, including seamer Zaheer Khan and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, should not make much of a difference to the Indians since they have plenty of options.

"Ajit (Agarkar) has had a lot of cricket on this tour but he has hung in bravely. I am very pleased Amit Bhandari is here for he has had good domestic form and was impressive with the A teams. Anil (Kumble) is carrying a bit of experience. So that's where we need to build blocks around these bowlers." Wright said.

"Only three of the guys are missing from the World Cup so we should take heart from it. The others are inexperienced but provide options. It should keep everyone on toes," Wright said.

Left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra, working on the sidelines to get over an ankle injury, also received a vote of confidence from his coach.

"Ash (Nehra) is a tough boy and this tour has been tough for him but I have great faith in him and on his day he is a match-winner," Wright said about the bowler who looked out of sorts in the Test series against Australia and had just four wickets from three Tests at 95.50.

Nehra came on this tour virtually untested since his ankle operation in mid-2003 and could never have a prolonged spell in the Tests.

He then sat out the Sydney Test because of a flare-up in his troublesome ankle and has not played a part in the one-day series so far.

Wright said he could not see any fault in the efforts of Nehra, who on occasions, bowled with pain.

"He has had good spells on this tour in Adelaide and Melbourne. This tour was always going to be tough for him because he had played great volume of cricket in the past. He had a great World Cup and what people don't understand is that he has sometimes bowled in a lot of pain," Wright said.

"Ashish had a pretty big operation but he has hung in there well and I can't fault his effort. He has been a little bit inconsistent on this tour but I still think he has a lot to offer. He is getting through that area when he needs a little bit more cricket in the leg," Wright said.

The coach, impressed with wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel's batting abilities, also indicated that Rahul Dravid might play a few games in the series solely as a batsman and would not have to double up behind the stumps.

"Patel's last innings in the Sydney Test was 60 off 50 balls. I feel his batting has come on by leaps and bounds on this tour. He would be able to hold his own in one-day cricket. Hopefully, he would have a part to play," he said.

First Published: Jan 16, 2004 15:51 IST