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Dravid's recipe for India to succeed in England

June 17, 2014 20:29 IST

Dravid's recipe for India to succeed in England

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Harish Kotian

Former batting great Rahul Dravid believes the bowlers will need to rise to the occasion for India to upset England in their backyard in the five-Test series, starting next month.

"The challenge for India, I believe, will be the ability to get 20 wickets. They must find a way to get 20 wickets.

"We saw with Sri Lanka in the last game [the first Test at Lord’s] as well; they just didn’t seem to be able to get 20 wickets against England, and that becomes a big challenge for sub-continental teams when we travel abroad.

"If India can find a couple of bowlers who can step up during the series then I think we are in for a great series,” opined Dravid, in Mumbai on Tuesday, at the launch of the 'Because you are a role model' initiative by Gillette.

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Image: Rahul Dravid
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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'You got to play to the conditions a little bit because conditions do change in England'

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Harish Kotian

Dravid captained India to a 1-0 victory in the three-Test series in 2007, the country's first series triumph in England since 1986. However, four years later, he was part of the team that suffered a humiliating 4-0 whitewash in the Tests, under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

He was the only Indian batsman who stood up to the rampaging English bowlers, scoring three centuries in the four Tests, for a tally of 461 runs, at an average of 76.

He believes it is vital that the young crop of Indian batsmen gauge the conditions early in the tour and adjust their batting accordingly.

"One of the important things in playing in England is to actually recognise that there will be different phases of play where it is going to be quite challenging and what are the shots you are going to play.

"If it does start seaming and swinging around, you got to realise that you have to be circumspect for a little bit of time and then, maybe, you can pick up the scoring little bit later on.

"So you got to play to the conditions a little bit, because conditions do change in England and every day is different,” he said.

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Image: Virat Kohli
Photographs: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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'Ishant must step up in England'

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Harish Kotian

Dravid, who played 164 Tests and 344 One-Day Internationals in a career spanning 1996 to 2012, believes Ishant Sharma needs to make a significant contribution with the ball.

Despite playing 55 Tests, the Delhi bower has failed to find a permanent slot in the Indian team and that can be attributed to inconsistent performances, especially over the last few years.

"We have got a young bowling attack and you never know who will step up. We went there in 2007 and we had Zaheer (Khan), (Shantakumaran) Sreesanth and R P Singh who bowled beautifully in the series and they were well supported by Anil (Kumble).

"It is a question of stepping up; the potential is there. Ishant has been around a long time, he has got experience. He is someone whom I believe it should be really his time to step up and say I am going to lead this attack and hopefully will look after this attack for the next couple of years because Zaheer is unfortunately not there,” he said.

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Image: Ishant Sharma
Photographs: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

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'Playing five Tests is never easy, but India has got a pretty side'

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Harish Kotian

The former India skipper said Dhoni and his boys can take confidence from their showing in South Africa and New Zealand last season, when they came very close to winning a Test.

"It is going to be a challenging series. Playing five Tests is never easy, but I believe India has got a pretty side of what I have seen in the last two series in South Africa and in New Zealand.

"They went quite close to winning a Test match in both those series. Whether it was in Johannesburg or in New Zealand, they had their chances and they just could not grab them. I think this might be a good time and a good series for them to actually make that jump and be able to win one or two Test matches abroad.

"If they do that they will get a lot of confidence as a team, because they are a young and a developing side," he added.

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Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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'In England, if you get set and you bat well you can score a lot of runs'

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Harish Kotian

Dravid believes that India’s young batsmen, including the likes of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan, have the potential to perform overseas. It is important, he says, for them to find their feet in the early part of the tour as it will boost their confidence for the five-Test series.

"I think Virat, Cheteshwar, Rahane and even Dhawan, in the last two series, have shown us that they can do well abroad; they have all got hundreds abroad.

"I think this is a great chance for them to develop and grow as players. In the five-Test match series there will be a lot to learn. It is going to be a tough series, but it will also be a good opportunity.

"In England, if you get set and if you bat well you can score a lot of runs; there is a great opportunity to score runs because the outfields are fast, the wickets are quite good.

"If you can sort of get into some little bit of form early in the tour and make it a big tour it will be a great for a lot of these young guys in their development as cricketers. It will be interesting to see how they can cope."

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Image: Rahul Dravid (right) speaks with Salim Khan, father of Bollywood superstar Salman Khan
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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'In any long series, I believe how you start is very important'

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Harish Kotian

Meanwhile, India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said he will not let the pressure of expectation burden him in the upcoming series.

"I have charted some preparations after reading in the newspapers on what should be done and I have been working on it. I will try to go out and enjoy my game, because I don’t think desperation works. I have to be really smart about what I do,” he said.

Ashwin was of the view that the two three-day practice games against Leicestershire and Derbyshire, ahead of the Test series, would be quite handy for the Indians to get used to the conditions.

"In any long series, I believe, how you start is very important. We got a few practice games and if we jot down something it will be pretty useful."


Image: Rahul Dravid (left) with Ravichandran Ashwin (right) and his father, N Ravichandran
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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