India would be banking on the winning mindset of their youngsters to subdue a resurgent West Indies who are looking to extend their triumphant run when the two teams clash in the five-match limited-overs series starting on Wednesday.
Indian captain Rahul Dravid said that the youngsters, who had brought about a great depth and transformation in the side, would go into the series without any baggage of history.
He said nine of these youngsters have known only the winning ways and that has been a very important component in the team’s overall mindset.
“Coming over here, they have only heard about West Indies and the great venues and testing conditions, and that is why they were so impressive in Montego Bay,” he told reporters at the pre-match conference.
West Indies skipper Brian Lara admitted that the Indians would be a different test altogether compared to the Zimbabweans whom they thrashed 5-0 in the recent home series.
“The true test is now against the Indians who are one of the top teams in the world. But winning is a contagious habit and we hope to continue the trend in the forthcoming series as well,” he said.
Lara said that the rotation policy which has worked well so far could be ignored if the team gets off to a winning start against the Indians.
“We have rotated the team so far and it worked well against Zimbabwe for it allowed cricketers like Carlton Bough Jr. to come through and cement their places in the side.
“But if we start winning we would go for a settled side because we want to fix up different slots,” Lara said on the eve of the first ODI in Kingston, Jamaica.
Lara said that his team was good not only in batting and bowling but it also had depth in the all-rounders’ department with the likes of Dwayne Smith, Dwayne Bravo and Chris Gayle being in the side.
India warmed up for the series with a 116-run win over a Jamaica eleven in a practice match at Montego Bay on Tuesday.
Captain Dravid once again partnered Virender Sehwag upfront for a solid 65-run opening stand with a valuable 31.
“Sachin’s absence has opened a few options for the team and the opening slot was available. So I experimented with it and was largely successful,” Dravid said on his taking up the opening responsibilities.
Dravid said the team would continue with its experimentations as it sought to expose the players to different conditions and situations.
“We have used our players in quite different positions, and we see that as a good opportunity for them to grasp the different requirements of the game,” he said.
“We have used people like Irfan Pathan to open the batting. It may also be a good idea to use our openers at five or six for them to get an idea what it is to play when the fielders are spread out, and gives them an opportunity to learn how to play the spinners and rotate the strike.”
The Indian captain saw the tour as an opportunity for the team’s emerging talents to hone their skills and become better players.
“We have a bit of inexperience in our bowling attack and some of the young batsmen coming through, so we see this as an opportunity to give them some exposure and give them some opportunities in a tough environment,” he said.
“In most teams, you are constantly looking to get better. While we are satisfied with the results over the last 20 to 25 ODIs, we know we can get better, so this is something which we will focus on in this series.”
Lara said his team would be keen to maintain the hold on its home record but was aware of India’s might, even without the injured Sachin Tendulkar.
“Though they have come to the Caribbean without Sachin Tendulkar, their premier batsman, I still think that they will be a force with which to be reckoned on the field,” the Windies skipper said.
Source:Rediff.comMore on:India, India in West Indies 2006, Rahul Dravid
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