No need to change Dravid as keeper : Ganguly

Published: Thursday, September 23, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly has blamed the poor form of his top order batsmen for the team's dismal run in the last few months while maintaining that Rahul Dravid was the best person to keep wickets in one-day internationals. The stylish left-handed batsman also said that out-of-touch Virender Sehwag needs to change his approach a bit in one-day cricket to strike form again.

"I think Dravid is doing a splendid job (as 'keeper in ODIs) and I don't see any reason for changing it," Ganguly told reporters last night after landing at the Mumbai airport along with four other team members and manager Gautam Dasgupta. The rest of the squad flew from London to Delhi and then dispersed to their respective destinations.

"We played Dinesh Karthik in two games but I thought Dravid did a wonderful job against Pakistan. It's not just replacing Dravid as 'keeper'. It's a question of building a team and having the guys do the jobs in their respective positions," he said in defence of his strategy which has come under fire in some quarters.

"It doesn't matter whether Dravid keeps or Sehwag bats at number six or Yuvraj (Singh) opens or I bat at number seven or Sachin (Tendulkar) bats at four. It's a team which needs to be built up for which every individual should be batting or doing things which are good for the team," he said.

"It doesn't matter who keeps. The best person who is doing the job for the team will keep," he said in replyto a query whether there could be rethink on the issue.

The Indian captain, returning home after the team's poor run in the Holland tri-series, the NatWest Challenge series and the ICC Champions trophy in England, said batting had let down the team over the last few months.

"Batting was the main concern. In one-day cricket it's important to put runs on the board which we have not managed to do over the last three months (including Asia Cup in Sri Lanka). The bowlers have done a pretty decent job," he said.

"Too many batsmen at the top of the order were not in good touch. I don't think you can do well if three or four batsmen at the top do not score runs. Everybody has to contribute," he said.

The India skipper said it was surprising to see Sehwag in poor run in such a form of the game wherein he should be excelling with the type of batting he has.

"One-day cricket is a very good platform for someone of Sehwag's batting style. He is no doubt a class player and has got runs in both Tests and ODIs. There is no doubt he is got the ability. He just needs to change his approach to one day batting a bit. He needs to look towards spending more time at the crease," Ganguly said.

Asked whether he contemplated any changes in the team for the Test series against Australia, Ganguly pointed out that the same set of men had done wonders last year and hoped the downward spiral would be arrested during the series against the world champions.

"Most of these boys have done wonderfully in Tests last year. The same guys have won games all over the world, took you to the World Cup final, to a series win in Pakistan and Test win in Australia. It's a phase we are going through".

"I am pretty much sure if we do well against Australia this (phase) would be over. But at the same time it's not going to happen only by thinking we have to do well against Australia. We have to get our act together and make it happen," Ganguly said.

The Indian captain said both Yuvraj Singh and Akash Chopra deserve a berth in the Test 14 as both the players had done well in the past in Tests. "Both will get to play in the four-day game between India and the rest," the Indian captain said while welcoming the scheduling of the tie.

"We needed a four-day game before the Aussie series to get into the right frame of mind for Tests," he said about the match which is likely to be held in Ahmedabad or Pune at the end of this month.

Asked whether India would start as favourites in the series against Australia for the Border-Gavaskar trophy, the India captain said he did not believe in the term.

"After we did well in Australia and Pakistan we were dubbed as favourites in the Asia Cup but we lost. It all depends on how were are going to play in one month against Australia," the Bengal stalwart said.

Asked about the finger injury which has ruled out Aussie captain Ricky Ponting at least for the first Test at Bangalore, Ganguly said any team that loses a captain is at a disadvantage.

"It's always difficult when your captain is ruled out. But they are a good side and it's going to be a good series," he said.

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