Munaf Patel may make ODI debut on Friday

Published: Thursday, March 30, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Faridabad:Munaf Patel is likely to make his ODI debut tomorrow after Rahul Dravid today informed that seamer Irfan Pathan is down with "slight fever", even though the Team India captain was optimistic that the left-arm bowler will be playing in the second One-dayer against England tomorrow.

''Irfan is down with sore throat and slight fever but I'm optimistic that he will be playing the match tomorrow,'' Dravid told newspersons after the team had its net practice without the Baroda seamer.

''He is a bit down and that's why we rested him today. We will assess his situation tomorrow and I am hopeful that he will play,'' Dravid said.

On Munaf Patel's chances of playing tomorrow, Dravid was non-committal and said, ''Munaf bowled well in the nets and we are happy with his progress. We will assess the situation tomorrow before deciding whether he will play.'' Dravid also revealed that part-time bowlers would be asked to bowl more to reduced the burden on the frontline bowlers.

''We are expecting bit more from the part-time bowlers and we'll use them as much as possible so that they get the exposure and the opportunity to perform,'' he said.

''We would like to experiment with them, like we had done with Irfan Pathan and Dhoni, promoting them up the batting order and they performed.'' On the opening pair, Dravid said he was still banking on Virender Sehwag.

''I have full faith in the openers and hope they will fire tomorrow. Sehwag spent lot of time in the nets and hope he plays well tomorrow.'' After having a look at the pitch, the home captain said, ''I think this track is good enough for 240-250. You can't expect us to score 280 or 300 all the time. Here 240 would be a decent score.'' ''The pitch would have some assistance for the pacers early on but as it progresses, spinners would find something for them,'' he said.

Dravid also admitted Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen were the biggest thorns in the flesh for the hosts.

''Both are dangerous players and we would like to send them back as soon as possible,'' he added.

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