Dravid blames batsmen for humiliating defeat

Published: Wednesday, March 22, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Indian captain Rahul Dravid today blamed his batsmen for the humiliating defeat at the hands of England and admitted that opting to field first after winning the toss might have cost the hosts the third Test here.

''Looking at the result, in hindsight it was a bad decision. We thought that we had five bowlers and three seamers in the playing eleven and expected good bounce and movement in the first session to pick up a few wickets,'' Dravid told reporters after the match.

He, however, insisted that the batsmen, especially the top order, failed to come up to expectations and let the team down.

''We did not play well throughout and the top order let us down.

Even after our middle and lower order had helped us make 279 in the first innings, I never thought it was a wicket where only 100 runs could be scored in the second. We needed some more contribution from our top order,'' he added.

Asked about the team's game-plan for chasing the daunting target of 313, Dravid said, ''After our bowlers did exceptionally well yesterday, we had planned to lose as few wickets as we could in the first two sessions and then crack at the target in the last session.''

Dravid defended his team's fielding though they dropped about a dozen catches, arguing that ''we had men fielding in unfamiliar positions after the regulars have gone from the scene. We did not have specialists''. He, however, added that they need to perform better in catching.

Dravid said the selectors should pick players not merely on the basis of their run-making abilities but also their fielding prowess.

He also stuck to his decision to go into the match with five bowlers, saying that there was a strong need to do so when India goes overseas, where their record is none-too-impressive.

''Other teams go in with five bowlers. We have to use this option if we have to win abroad. But, for this we need our top order to perform better and some of our lower order players to develop into all-rounders,'' he said.

Dravid did not think that India had lost to a second-string England team which was without five key players. ''They were always a competitive side. We were beaten by a better team,'' he said.

He singled out rival skipper Andrew Flintoff, the Man of the Match as well as Man of the Series, for praise.

''Flintoff was terrific. He was the best bowler on view in the series. To bat, bowl and also lead the team was not easy. That's why he's the best all rounder in world cricket at the moment,'' Dravid gushed.

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