We have a realistic chance to win World Cup: Dravid

Published: Sunday, July 7, 2002, 19:52 [IST]
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Birmingham: Rahul Dravid said on Saturday that India had a 'realistic chance' at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. Dravid was speaking after his 64 guided India to a four wicket win over Sri Lanka at Edgbaston - a victory that booked India's place in the final of the triangular One- day series against England with two matches to spare. Chasing Sri Lanka's 187, India slumped to 59 for four before Dravid's innings booked Saurav Ganguly's men into next Saturday's Lord's showpiece. An upbeat Dravid said things were looking up for India's One-day team as it maintained its unbeaten record in the tournament.

"We are getting a good blend of youth and experience together and we are working really hard to get the combinations right," the makeshift wicket-keeper explained. "Everyone has got the World Cup in mind and we are moving in the right direction and if we play like this for the next six months we will be in with a realistic chance in the World Cup." However, Dravid warned that much could change between now and the World Cup, which starts in February. "Six months is a long time. We have got to keep our form going. We have got to keep improving from here because we are going to be up against very good sides who will also be improving," he said. "We also have to be aware that six months is a long time in international cricket and at this time it is more important on us looking at this series rather than concentrating on the World Cup." Ever since Dravid was given an extended run as a keeper-batsman, albeit just for One- day games, during the West Indies earlier this year debate has raged among Indian cricket lovers about his role in the side.

But Dravid insisted he was getting used to life behind the stumps. "I was initially worried about how it might go," he conceded. "But I've taken up the challenge and worked hard at it. It's probably helped that I've taken a few catches and so far it is going well. "Today (Saturday) I got runs as well and it was very satisfying to play a crucial role. The wicket seamed a bit all day and it was probably a 220 wicket but the bowlers on both sides did quite well."

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