Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- ~~We have to play with the same intensity~~

Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2004, 0:33 [IST]
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Kolkata:Taking lessons from the Aussie tour, Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid on Sunday emphasised that his team needed to sustain the intensity for the entire length of the upcoming Pakistan trip to emerge with flying colours.

"A key lesson learnt from the tour Down Under is that we have to play with the same intensity throughout. In Australia, we played well in the Tests. But in the One-dayers they played better than us in the end," Dravid said.

"In Pakistan, we have to keep the intensity backed up by a solid showing in all the departments including bowling, fielding and catching," the star middle order batsman said at the end of the first day's practice session of the three-day conditioning camp at the Eden Gardens.

Dravid also refused to buy the theory that pressure would play a key role in determining the winners of the One-day and Test series, saying both teams would be under pressure.

"One always has to endure pressure when playing for his country. I think both India and Pakistan will be under the equal amount of pressure. it's not that one team will be under more pressure and the other side under less pressure," he said.

Dravid said that the Indians were well equipped to handle such pressure.

"I'd rather say the pressure will be not much different than it was when we ventured to Australia last November," he said.

Asked if the coming Pak sojourn would be more challenging as there would be an element of surprise for the Indians with Pakistan having a new-look team, Dravid said, "not necessarily. These days the two sides have not been playing each other that much. There are a lot of new faces in their side. Similar is the case with us as we last played a full Test series against them in 1999".

Dravid also described as 'media hype' the view that the series would be a duel between Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar, arguing that it required good performances from more than one player to determine the course of a match.

"Every series gets hyped by the media. For instance, the Aussie Test series in Sri Lanka is being built up as a battle between Shane Warne and Muthiah Muralitharan," he said.

"Both Sachin and Shoaib have said that they would rather look at it as a fight between India and Pakistan. And I feel that every player needs to give his best. I'll try to do that. So also will Zaheer (Khan), V V S Laxman and others," he said.

Dravid said that the main purpose of the conditioning camp was to devise the right strategy and gameplan for the 40-day tour during which India would play five One-dayers followed by a three-Test series.

''Nowadays, due to the television technology, it is possible to take a look at how your opponents are playing. We have seen the videotapes of both their bowlers and batsmen. In the next two or three days we will sit down, hold meetings and decide on our strategy and gameplan,'' he said.

On whether the Indians would have benefited from the presence of a bowling coach in Pakistan, Dravid said both coach John Wright and skipper Sourav Ganguly were happy with the arrangements. ''It was upto them to decide if they needed anyone (as bowling coach). But they are satisfied with the arrangements. If in the future, they feel the necessity, they can always speak to the key people,'' he said.

Dravid also said that the Indian bowlers, particularly, the youngsters stood to gain from the tips offered by Kapil Dev who has been appointed as bowling consultant. ''He has toured Pakistan three-four times. The youngsters can learn a lot from him."

To a query, whether it would be possible for Kapil Dev to deliver the goods during the short duration of the camp, Dravid shot back, ''For that matter, are two or three months enough? I don't think he will try anything drastic. Hewill speak to bowlers about his experience in Pakistan.''.

''He will pass on his knowledge. He can give them vital tips like how and where to bowl in Pakistan condition.''

On Pakistan coach Javed Miandad's attempts to take the upperhand in the psychological battle through verbal onslaughts, Dravid said, ''The only language which is needed is the one at the middle. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what A, B or C says or does if you cannot perform inthe middle''.

Asked if only one Limited Over warm up game was enough for the side to get acclimatised to the condition in Pakistan, Dravid said ''In an ideal scenario, a three-day game before the Test series would have been better. Moreover, the couple of new faces who may be inducted in the Test team after the One-dayers may have some difficulty''.

''But this is a tight schedule. The engagements need to be completed within a short time. So, we have to do with whatever has been lined up for us''.

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