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Dravid hopes to reverse record in Lanka

August 10, 2006 21:03 IST

Hours before embarking on a brief tour of Sri Lanka, India captain Rahul Dravid sent out an ominous signal to his tri-series rivals, saying his young team is better prepared to reverse its dismal record in the Emerald Islands.

Dravid said his teammates had worked hard on some of the problem areas which should stand them in good stead for the series, beginning on Monday.

"It's a great opportunity for us to go to a place where we have not done well. We have worked hard and we would like to get better there," he told a pre-departure press conference in Bangalore on Thursday.

The Bangalore-based player said the series would be challenging for the team it would take on two other good teams in their title hunt.

"This is an important series as we will play against two good teams," he said.

Dravid said that hosts Sri lanka would be a big threat in the series considering their current form.

"Sri Lanka is playing well. They even play better at home. So we have to play well there," he added.

However, he refused to divulge details of the strategy to be adopted during the tri-series.

"I cannot tell you the strategies before a week of the series. Strategy will be known on the match day. But it is important to play according to the potential.

"All the important things start after the beginning of the match. Not things like who will open, who are in the playing eleven and who won the toss," he said.

Dravid did not disclose who would open the innings during the tri-nation tournament, saying a lot of options are there before the team.

"A lot of players have opened earlier. Sachin [Tendulkar], [Mahendra Singh] Dhoni, Viru [Virender Sehwag] and myself have opened on different occasions. So it is not an issue who plays up. Rather it is important how we play."

Dravid said during the cricket skills camp, they discussed how to make the best use of the middle overs while batting.

"We talked about batting in the middle overs on slow wickets, how to create best chance for scoring a lot of runs in that part of the match."

He said the team needed to improve consistently and do better against all oppositions.

"We need to keep doing better. We need to play better against all oppositions in all situations. That's what you play cricket for," he said.

Coach Greg Chappell, who was also present at the press conference, said the experience of playing on slow wickets in the West Indies would come handy during the tri-series.

"We played on some slow wickets in West Indies. And in Sri Lanka the wickets would be similar.

"It is about putting pressure on the opponents and resisting pressure. It's about executing our plans well," he said.

Chappell expressed hope that the innovative training the players were put through during the conditioning camp would benefit them in the long run.

"You should not expect a miracle. They did different activities and met with many challenges which may help them. Cricket itself is a problem-solving exercise," he said.

On the last trip to Sri Lanka, Chappell said: "I took a different team then. We have shown improvement since then and now, India performed well against Pakistan and the West Indies. All those inputs and the focus of the boys will definitely help us to do well during the tri-series."

Dravid said he did not consider the absence of a genuine all-rounder in the team as a lacuna.

"If you say that we don't have a Flintoff or Kapil Dev, then it's true. But players like Irfan [Pathan] , Viru, Dhoni, [Dinesh] Mongia and [Suresh] Rania are developing their skills and trying to compensate for that," he said.

Amused over a media coined term "MSR", which defines match situation reaction, Dravid said the team played some matches in order to have some exposure before the series.

"We always have nets. But exposure in match situations is important," he said.

The skipper said stress was laid on individual bowlers in improving their line and length apart from rectifying the tendency to bowl no balls.

"We need to get better at some of our bowling weaknesses. No balls and wides are our problems and we have to restrict them. It is in our control to eradicate no balls. But we have to be a little more lenient on wides." he said.

Dravid said he was not worried over security issues during the tour of the island nation.

"I am not worried about security. Sri Lanka Cricket is putting everything place."

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