'I don't believe in psychological advantage'

Published: Saturday, April 3, 2004, 23:20 [IST]
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Multan:India's stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid on Saturday gave equal chance to Pakistan to win the first Test while dismissing suggestions that Indians had gained a winning momentum by clinching the One-dayers.

"I think we start even, it is 50-50. It will be a good series but the momentum is not with any side," Dravid said in Multan on the eve of the first Test.

The stylish right-handed batsman, however, agreed that having won the five-match One-day series, his side would go into the first Test with a "better frame of mind".

"I am not a great believer in psychological advantage or momentum... Of course having won the One-day series we will go into the Test with a better frame of mind," said Dravid who will stand-in for Sourav Ganguly, nursing a troubled back.

The team was keen to play well despite Ganguly's absence and Dravid said the first Test was crucial to the side's chances of winning the series.

"The first Test is always very important. It is crucial to start the series well, because it is not always easy to come back after trailing. The first day's play will be vital and we have to play well," he said.

Dravid said the team would miss the services of Ganguly but it had a good back-up player in Yuvraj Singh.

"Obviously, we will miss him (Ganguly). Experience can't be replaced so easily. But Yuvraj is a player of international class and he is in good form with two centuries in Duleep Trophy. He will bring exuberence of youth to the side."

Dravid also revealed that the team management had shortlisted 13 players for the match, leaving out Mumbai off-spinner Ramesh Powar alongwith Ganguly.

Although, the playing eleven would be named only on Sunday after having another close look at the track in Multan Cricket Stadium.

"Ganguly and Powar have been left out. We have 13 players who will be eligible for selection. We have a fair idea what we would like to do, but we will decide the team tomorrow morning," he said.

Dravid, who will be leading the team for the second time having stood-in for Ganguly in the Mohali Test against New Zealand last year, said captaincy should not be a problem.

"I don't think it will be a problem. When you are the vice-captain, you always think a lot of things and also discuss the strategies. It is not that difficult, I had done it at Mohali," he said.

On the pitch prepared for the match which will mark Pakistan's 300th Test, Dravid said it looked a good Test wicket which could support the bowlers initially.

"It looks a good wicket. It might have something for the bowlers initially but would ease out. It may help the spinners later on as the match progresses. Both the batsmen and bowlers will have something on it."

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