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Dravid wary of Pietersen, Flintoff

Last updated on: March 30, 2006 21:12 IST

India's captain Rahul Dravid says the pitch for the second One-Day International at the Nahar Singh stadium in Faridabad is a tough one to evaluate.

"The pitch is a tough one to assess because you don't have too much knowledge of the records here. Like most of the grounds that we go to, you have the Ranji Trophy matches being played there, so you have a little idea of how the wicket is playing in that season, what kind of scores are made being. This is the difference here, as not much cricket has been played recently," Dravid said in Faridabad on Thursday.

However, he believes it could offer some turn for the spinners later in the match.

"I think it might turn as the day goes on. It looks firm, not very powdery, but it could provide some turn as the match goes on. And because of the early morning start, it will provide help for the seamers early on," he added.

Dravid agreed that Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff are the two most dangerous batsmen in the England line-up.

"Pietersen and Flintoff are very good batsmen. What they did in Delhi was a very good example of good batting and some very good hitting. They hit some very huge sixes; they have the power and strength to do that."

The two batsmen seemed to be taking England to an easy victory as the team chased 204, but disaster struck as Pietersen fell to Yuvraj Singh, leading to a parade of wickets, and England eventually losing by 39 runs.

"It is important that we bowl well to Pietersen and Flintoff and try and get them out early, because on their day they can be devastating. They have dominated other more experienced bowling attacks than us. They are both good batsmen; we must accept that and respect them," Dravid said.

There was slight concern about Irfan Pathan, who was down with a sore throat and did not come for practice in the morning, but Dravid said the left-armer would be fine for tomorrow's match.

"Irfan had a bit of flu after the last game. Yesterday he had sore throat and slight fever, so we thought it would be better resting him rather than have him practicing. But he should be okay for tomorrow."

The 33-year-old Karnataka batsman also hinted that the team could try out a few things tomorrow. They have been successful while experimenting in the one-dayers with the promotion of Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the batting line-up.

'We might do a few things differently in this game or in the course of the tournament. This seven-match series give us a good opportunity to try out different things," he added.

"The challenge for me is to provide Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag and Suresh Raina some more bowling in matches. That's looking ahead and seeing the kind of the team that we want to develop; we can get some of these guys to bowl a lot more. They bowl in the nets, but it is never the same as bowling in a match. Sometimes you have to take a little bit of a gamble and bit of a risk to give these guys a bit more responsibility.

"We have seen with Irfan Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, when they have been promoted in the batting order. They lived up to the responsibility and become better cricketers," the right-hander added.

Ramesh Powar's all-round abilities should get him a place in the team tomorrow if the team decides to go in with two spinners.

"Powar is a cricketer who always comes into our thoughts, because he also bats and fields well. So we will look at the options and see what's best according to the conditions," Dravid said.

The Indian captain feels it is too much to expect a score of around 300 in every one-dayer.

"We get carried away in one-dayers and think that every score 280-300 in every game. As we in the last game we should have set our targets at 230 or 240 and that would have been a good score on the wicket. I think we played some good cricket after scoring 203 to win the match. So we need to assess the conditions and the wicket and set our targets accordingly in every game."

He said a young player must accept the criticism from fans and not get too bothered by it.

"Yes we like to be supported during tough times. But then we need to understand that it's the nature of Indian cricket. You get praised when you do well and you get criticised when you don't do that well. As a player you must learn to deal with these situations. The guys coming into the team must try to keep their perspective. They must remember not to get excited when we do well and not to get disappointed when we don't. They must focus on their goals and keep on working getting better as individuals," Dravid said.

Harish Kotian in Faridabad