The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Important to start well: Wright
- Dravid says players are keen to raise the bar

Chennai: India may be tipped to win the Asia Cup but coach John Wright on Tuesday cautioned his wards not to take any of the teams lightly, saying even Bangladesh are capable of springing a surprise.

Wright also said it was important to start the new season on a winning note and concentrate on one game at a time.

“The real challenge will be to start well commencing from the Asia Cup. The first match is against UAE, some people might think that the teams are not on even competition, but it is important for us since we will be playing Sri Lanka next,” Wright said before the team’s departure for Sri Lanka.

“We will concentrate on one game at a time and our plans should go well with the performance and hopefully, the wins will happen. We have played against good oppositions in the recent past. A lot of hard work had gone in for that series win and Sri Lanka has been tough at home. Bangladesh can surprise any one of these teams. But the confidence really comes out of performance and that is what we have to stress on. It is a challenge for us,” he said.

“The attitude and confidence are pretty high. We have been to World Cup, the ICC Champions Trophy and other tournaments and the Asia Cup is no different,” Wright said. “My players are feeling that they are capable of winning it. The team has been prepared to face high standard opposition. When we go for any meet, we go with a positive mind.”

Vice-captain Rahul Dravid said the return of some of the injured bowlers like Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan augured well for the team but added it was important to stay focused and raise the standards.

Asked whether it was the strongest Indian team in recent times, Dravid said: “It is hard to compare the teams. It is unfair to compare a team that played one year or six months back..

“The important factor is that we need to play to our potential and we will be trying to do so. Only the future will tell whether this team is the strongest,” he said.

Dravid said the experience of having played in Sri Lanka before will come handy for the team. “We have played in Sri Lanka before and we know what the conditions. It is important for us to stay focused and motivated and raise our standards to higher levels.

“It is always interesting and useful to talk to great players like Gavaskar or Boycott.I don’t think Boycott came here with the idea of changing anyone’s technique. But it was all the more interesting to sit with Boycott and discuss on batting and about his career on an informal basis.”

On whether he had set any personal goals, Dravid said: “Not really. Just I have to do well. But I also wish to score a double hundred!” (PTI)

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