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Home > Cricket > West Indies in India 2007 > PTI > Report

Kumble, Harbhajan sure for World Cup : Dravid

January 30, 2007 18:04 IST

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India skipper Rahul Dravid on Tuesday virtually named Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh as the two spinners certain to make the World Cup squad, and said off-spinner Ramesh Powar is competing for a spot with one of the pace bowlers.

"It's good to see Anil Kumble back in action, and his bowling together with Harbhajan Singh is crucial in the World Cup," Dravid said, on the eve of the fourth and final one-day international against the West Indies, in Vadodara.

"In them we have got two world-class spinners to take care of even power play situations in the first 20 overs, when most teams prefer to use pace bowlers.

"It [Kumble and Harbhajan bowling in power play situations] gives us an option to play an extra batsman. It's an added incentive, a bonus for us," Dravid said.

He was quick to add that Powar hasn't been ruled out for the World Cup, and the Mumbai off-spinner is in fact fighting for a spot in the team with one of the medium pacers and not the two senior spinners.

"I am not ruling out anyone, and Ramesh has done a very good job in the series. He's not competing for a place with two of the greatest slow bowlers, but with one of the seamers," said Dravid.

"It's not who makes it to the squad which is important, but how well the guys who are named in the squad perform which is important," he pointed out.

"We have come close to choosing the squad of 15 from 17 or 18 players. We are pretty close to where we want to be. We want players who can adapt to different conditions and wickets and we are getting these kinds of players."

The Bangalore batsman said he is looking forward to sealing the series against the West Indies by a 3-1 margin and Robin Uthappa and Sourav Ganguly, who was rested for the previous match in Chennai, would open the innings on Wednesday.

"It will be great to win the series against the West Indies who are a very good and dangerous team in the World Cup. They have a good balance and fine all-rounders. They will be tough competitors. It will be nice to finish with a 3-1 series win going into the World Cup.

"Robin and Sourav will open the innings. We have left out Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Ramesh Powar and S Sreesanth from the 16 named for tomorrow's game," he said.

Dravid said Indian fans and media need to be more patient with the younger players rather than judge them hastily. He cited the example of West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels, who was persisted with despite a string of failures before he played a match-winning innings at Chennai.

"Sreesanth is inexperienced and he will learn from bowling on these flat wickets. We need to be patient with our younger players and not expect instant results from them. It does not happen, as there's a big gap between our domestic cricket and the international one. The West Indies have given a lot of time for Marlon Samuels [to come good]," he said.

Kerala youngster Sreesanth gave away a lot of runs in the matches he played in the series.

Talking about the positives from the present series, Dravid said there have been a few good displays from young players, the return of Anil Kumble and the bowling of Ajit Agarkar and Zaheer Khan.

On Irfan Pathan's recall to the team after his departure from South Africa before the end of the Test series, Dravid opted for the wait-and-watch policy.

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating. We will know when he goes out there and plays tomorrow. Him bowling and performing well is crucial to the balance of the team," he said.

Dravid also sounded happy with the progress made by speedster Munaf Patel, who was asked to report to Vadodara specifically to bowl in the nets.

"It was good to see him bowling and it was very heartening," he said.

Dravid said Sachin Tendulkar's poor run of scores in the first two ODIs before his half-century at Chennai "was never a cause for concern" for the team.

He also described West Indies captain Brian Lara as one of the best batsmen of his generation.

"Lara is a fantastic cricketer, one of the best batsmen of my generation. Watching him in full flow, but not necessarily against us, has been one of the great joys in cricket," he said.

West Indies in India 2007: The Complete Coverage

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