'Depleted Aussies cannot be taken for granted'

Published: Saturday, October 25, 2003, 22:46 [IST]
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Gwalior: Indian skipper Rahul Dravid on Saturday said even though Australia were fielding a second-string bowling attack, his team could not afford to take the World Cup Champions for granted as they have been winning matches without key players as well. If we look at their record in the past three and a half years, they have been winning matches even without some of their key players. Loss of key players does not seem to affect them," Dravid said on the eve of India's One-day match against Australia here on Sunday.

"We can take nothing for granted even if they are missing important players," he said. Australia are without their first choice bowling attack due to the forced absence of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Shane Warne. Australian skipper Ricky Ponting also said the team would not let the absence of the key bowlers affect them. "We look at it positively. It would be a test for everybody and also offer an opportunity to the fringe players to make an impression," Ponting said. Both skippers said the World Cup memories were behind them and they would like to start afresh in the tri-series that has New Zealand as the third team. Dravid conceded Australia played "some very good cricket" in the World Cup but said India would try to exploit the different conditions here and try and beat them in their first match after the World Cup on Sunday. Dravid said the team would look to restrict the Australians within a manageable total if the Kangaroos bat first.

"If we bat first we will try to put some pressure on the opposition by scoring a total somewhere near the 300-run mark be cause anything around 250 is quite gettable these days." Ponting's confidence ahead of their tri-series opener was evident when he revealed the playing eleven and said Australia has done well against both India and New Zealand in recent times. Paceman Michael Kasprowicz, all-rounder Jimmy Maher and right-hand batsman Michael Clarke are out of the playing eleven. Ponting said it would be a "great opportunity" for speedster Andy Bichel who would lead the attack. "The best bowlers are not in the side.

It would be a test for him just as it would be for each one of us." The Australian One-day skipper said he was looking forward to scoring some runs this time around, as he had a disappointing outing the last time he toured India in 2001. The Indian team may not be the same that played in the abandoned first match against New Zealand at Chennai, Dravid said, adding the team management would dwell on the final eleven after nets in the evening and an announcement would be made only before the toss on Sunday. "All the 14 players (of the squad) are available for selection for the match," he said while hinting that Parthiv Patel may continue to keep wickets. Dravid said the team management was looking to bring more flexibility in the side. "The idea is to have players who can be rotated and played in different positions."

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