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Chopra's real contribution

Prem Panicker | January 02, 2004 09:54 IST
Last Updated: January 02, 2004 10:41 IST

Skipper Saurav Ganguly remarked, after the last Test, that Akash Chopra had done well enough, but needed now to look to convert his good starts into bigger scores.

Ganguly would be within his rights to remind Chopra of that, as he walked back into the hut bowled by a superb Brett Lee yorker (45 off 139 deliveries, India 128/2).

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Ramesh dismissed in Sydney

The making of Sehwag

Chopra's scores thus far have been 36 off 135 and 4/7 in the first Test; 27/44 and 20/54 in the second; 48/138 and 4/8 (the latter, a bad decision) in the third -- you would say, going by that string of scores alone, that he hasn't been wildly successful.

The guy who might give you some argument about it is vice captain Rahul Dravid. When India last toured Down Under, the opening pair put up scores of 7, 0, 11, 5, 10 and 22 in the three Tests; it meant that invariably, Rahul Dravid came in as a virtual opener and bore the brunt of the enormous pressure Australia's bowlers, with an early wicket under their belt, could generate.

That's been Chopra's real contribution on this tour; by putting a premium on his wicket and more often than not surviving the torrid first hour, he has ensured that early pressure doesn't fall on the Indian middle order; this in turn has helped Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman to bat with greater freedom.

Chopra who faces the bowler with bat raised waist high and legs spread a touch more than a classical opening batsman would, but compensates with a smooth back and across initial movement.

If you see him as a work in progress, the next big step he needs to take would be to learn when to change gears; to translate the dogged defense of the early part of his innings into a greater willingness to look for runs when set.

Also read:
Ramesh dismissed in Sydney | Making of Sehwag

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