Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dravid agrees to open innings in Australia:

India's top middle order batsman Rahul Dravid has agreed to open the innings in the Test series against Australia, it has now been confirmed.
A top board official confirmed the news stating that Wasim Jaffer and Dravid would walk out to open the innings at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the first Test, starting on 26th of this month.
Viewed as technically the best batsman in the Indian line-up, Dravid has usually been a reluctant Test opener for India and with good reasons. The stylish Karnataka batsman has opened in seven Tests for India and scored only 339 runs at an average of 33.09.
But he has been asked to bail the team out of a piquant situation and Dravid, ever the team-man, has acceded to the request.
The request has been made to accommodate Yuvraj Singh in the playing eleven, the powerful left-hander from Punjab who hit a breathtaking 169 in the recent Test in Bangalore against Pakistan.
The middle order is packed with top batsmen such as Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman and
Yuvraj can only come in if Dravid vacates his position for the aggressive southpaw.
Initially, it was believed that Dravid would be reluctant to take up the opener's role since his position in the middle order is secure.
He was also cut up with the selectors for having him removed from the one-day unit but now asking for a favour in Tests.
Dravid also didn't get swayed by his awesome record in Australia in the last series between the two countries when he scored over 600 runs from four Tests including a classy double century in Adelaide.
It is believed that initially Dravid had ruled out the possibility of opening in Australia but a little persuasion from captain Anil Kumble, his team-mate from Bangalore, made him change his minds.
Kumble spoke to Dravid at length after the Bangalore Test and made him see the catch-22 situation his side faced vis-à-vis inclusion of Yuvraj Singh in the playing eleven.
Dravid's nod to opener's role would mean that Virender Sehwag and Dinesh Karthik, two other openers in the side, would not be considered to open the innings, at least in the first two Tests of the series.
Sehwag, in any case, it is learnt would bat only in middle order even if he is picked in the playing eleven at any stage of the tour.
Indians are aware that a good start is absolutely paramount in Australia and Dravid has the technique to completely blunt the fearsome Australian pace attack.
As of now, home captain Ricky Ponting is veering towards having fearsome Brett Lee and Shaun Tait take the new ball.

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