Rahul Dravid hints at changes in batting order

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Chennai: Team India captain Rahul Dravid has not ruled out changes in the batting order in the upcoming tri-series in Malaysia to test the flexibility and depth of the line-up.

Addressing a press conference along with Coach Greg Chappell before the team's departure for Kuala Lumpur, involving Australia and West Indies, Dravid said, ''we have a lot of flexibility and depth. We have to use this ability to the maximum.'' ''The batting order can always be changed depending on the situation and the nature of the wicket,'' he said.

Asked about the team's prospects in the series, Dravid said, ''Winning is always the objective. We want to win. We want to play good cricket. Then the results will follow.'' ''We have set some specific targets in batting, bowling and fielding. If we achieve this, winning will take care of itself,'' he added.

Both Chappell and Dravid said Sachin was fully fit and was raring to go.

''He played well today and hit some very good shots. Sachin is in good spirits. He is pretty fit. No concerns about him,'' Dravid said and added that the master blaster was looking forward to the beginning of the season.

When asked how he felt opening with Sachin in the practice matches, Dravid said, ''in my 10-year career I have batted with Sachin quite a bit, sometimes one-up and one-down both in tests and ODIs. It was not any different today. We spend a lot of time together,'' the skipper said.

On whether he would continue to open with Sachin in the tri-series, Dravid said it would depend on the match situation and the wicket.

Meanwhile, coach Chappell sought to downplay Australia's threat in the series and said he was looking forward to the challenge from the World Champions for the first time since taking over as coach.

''I am not overtly concerned about Australia. I will focus on what we need to do and plan accordingly. I am only concerned about how we play,'' he stressed.

On left hander Yuvraj Singh, who missed the two practice matches here due to a viral fever, Dravid said the dashing middle order bat would join the team in one or two days at Kuala Lumpur. ''We wanted to give him a couple of days more rest. That was the reason why he did not come to Chennai. He is having only a viral fever,'' he added.

On the practice matches, Dravid and Chappell said it was hard grind for the bowlers as the wickets were pretty flat on both the days. ''There are lessons to be learnt from this as we go along we can do better,'' they said.

Dravid said ''I don't want to be too harsh in judging them (bowlers) based on these two days.'' On the team not having a genuine left arm spinner who could turn from leg to half, Dravid said, ''it is not a problem. We have quality spinners. Harbhajan has been bowling very well for the last one year. Ramesh Powar is also doing well. The best must play as per the situation.'' Both Dravid and Chappel said the practice matches provided a chance to the youngsters to play along with the seniors.

''I don't want to single out anybody. They have to develop for the future'', Chappell said.

On the gutsy display by left-hander Suresh Raina, who played the practice match despite having five stitches on his chin, Chappell said he showed a lot of character. ''Basically that's the type of character we want to have in youngsters'', he added.

Asked which of the two teams would be tougher in Malaysia, Dravid said both of them were tough. ''Australia are world champions. West Indies beat us in the One-day series there. We have to play some good cricket'', he said.

Meanwhile, Chappel dismissed as a ''mere media speculation'', on the reports of his taking over as Aussie coach from John Buchanan after the World Cup. ''The question arises only after the contract expires after the World Cup. Lot of teams are looking for change of coach. Right now I would term it as purely a media speculation'', he added.

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