Wright drops Yuvraj's name for opening

Published: Sunday, April 11, 2004, 1:07 [IST]
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Islamabad :With the opening puzzle still unsolved, Indian cricket team coach John Wright hinted that Yuvraj Singh could be included in the team in place of Aakash Chopra for the third and series-deciding Test at Rawalpindi.

"I have always favoured specialists. But this is a (matter of) one Test match and it will be the captain's call. The captain picks the batting order. Yuvraj Singh has also done well and you cannot sit him out," said Wright.

The coach, however, said a permanent opening slot would be decided after the current series.

"For the next Test (series) the team -- Dravid, Ganguly, Tendulkar and I will discuss in great detail and then a decision will be made. We will pick the 12 and the captain will pick the eleven."

Backing Rahul Dravid's decision to bat first after winning the toss, he said, "Rahul is a confident guy and I am sure his decision was a confident and positive one. Had we batted to our potential then his decision would have been justified.

"We had not faced Umar Gul before and he came in and bowled very well. His line and length was very good. He picked crucial wickets and we could not sustain the fury of the first two hours on the first morning. But we can't stand looking at those decisions."

The coach agreed that India had conceded the momentum to the hosts by their defeat in the second Test in Lahore.

"I am hoping that we play better in the next game. Pakistan is now a confident side and favourites for the final Test. The momentum is with them and home conditions are finally with them."

Reflecting on the Lahore debacle, he said, "we have been getting important opening partnerships and that helped the side a lot. Dravid always comes in and hangs around for a good period. That didn't happen in this Test.

"Tendulkar was unlucky with the decision that he got in the first innings. But, then, that's cricket. We've always had big partnerships and even that didn't happen. So all our departments fell short in a way and that showed in the final result."

Asked about the controversial declaration in the Multan Test, Wright said, "the declaration was Rahul's decision. It was not an easy declaration to make, but I guess it is just one of those calls a skipper has to take.

"It was a decision in the interest of the team. It was a decision taken for cricketing reasons. But one thing is clear, and that is the emphasis is on the team and not on an individual.

"And any team that goes the other way around will be treading on dangerous ground. All have to answer the call of the team. If it means changing your natural style, so be it; if it means bowling a different way, then so be it."

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