Raise performance, India captain tells team

Published: Wednesday, October 25, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Ahmedabad:India captain Rahul Dravid has told his under-achieving team to raise their performance against a resurgent West Indies in their Champions Trophy match here on Thursday.

India have produced a string of inconsistent performances in recent months, winning just three of their last 10 ODIs. Five of their defeats have come against the West Indies.

The hosts began their campaign in the ongoing tournament on a winning note against England, but their display left a lot to be desired. They struggled to chase a modest 126-run target before winning by four wickets.

In contrast, the West Indies won their opening Group-A league encounter in style when they stunned world champions Australia at Mumbai. India and the West Indies have one win apiece after one game.

Australia have posted one victory and England none after two matches. The top two sides qualify for the semi-finals.

"We are not the only team that is going through ups and downs. It's a part and parcel of the game," Dravid told reporters on Wednesday.

"I think Australia is the only team that has managed to maintain a high level of consistency in one-dayers in the last decade or so. Other teams have had lean periods. The main thing is how you bounce back and get back in form."

Dravid conceded the West Indies had been on a roll in recent months but his side needed to adjust to the conditions quickly, especially in the second half of the day-night match when dew made the bowlers' task a bit difficult.

"We had a bit of a tough time in the last couple of tournaments," said Dravid, who has struggled in recent matches. He is without a half-century in his last 10 one-dayers.

"It's all about your key batsmen getting back into form and scoring runs. The West Indies are a balanced side with their key players in form. There are a couple of areas where we can get better."

Dravid said his team were not so much worried about dew, but focussed on playing good, competitive cricket to boost their chances of advancing to the semi-finals.

"Dew does play a bit of a part in the game, but I don't know whether it decides the outcome of the match. You do discuss it (dew), but the important thing is to play good cricket and win the match," he said.

The International Cricket Council used a chemical spray to reduce the impact of dew in Wednesday's Group-B fixture between New Zealand and Pakistan at Mohali.

If the experiment succeeds, the spraying procedure is likely to be used at other venues - Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

Dravid said his team's recent record against the West Indies had no relevance to Thursday's game.

"It's a new game in a new tournament. The past (matches) won't have too much of a bearing on tomorrow's game. We didn't have a great run (against them), but we will just focus on playing good cricket tomorrow."

The India captain said there were still no favourites after seven group matches.

"Any of the eight teams can win the tournament," he said.

"The results and performances so far have been reflective of that. There are no favourites and that's probably the nature of this tournament."


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