The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Don’t read too much into our NZ show: Dravid
I'll play my natural attacking game, says Virender Sehwag

Durban: It would be a fallacy to write off India on the basis of their performance in New Zealand and the team would get back to its best in the lead-up games, the first of which starts at Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday, vice-captain Rahul Dravid said.

While admitting that India had faltered in New Zealand, their last tour before the World Cup, Dravid said the team was looking to gain in confidence in the warm-up matches ahead.

“Basically we just did not play good cricket in New Zealand, although the conditions were not ideal and the scores show that. But in those situations cricket is all about digging deep and we will have to improve,” Dravid said on Monday.

The elegant right-handed batsman, however, added: “Because of the conditions, it would be dangerous to read too much into those scores. After a great year leading up to that tour, the batsmen had a bit of a reality check and we have a good chance now of getting things right for the World Cup,” he said.

“We have two games against Natal, the first starting tomorrow, on what should be good pitches and our first World Cup match is against Holland in Paarl, which is also good for batting,” he observed.

Dravid, who will continue to double up as a wicketkeeper, said he loves batting at No. 5. “I have a lot of experience, so it’s good to bat at five. Also we have got a couple of very exciting youngsters coming in after me,” the 30-year-old said.

Meanwhile, undeterred by criticism that he often throws away his wicket by playing rash strokes, India’s swashbuckling batsman Virender Sehwag Monday said that he would continue to play his natural “attacking” game in the World Cup.

“I will play my game as I always do. I know that sometimes people say I play rash shots and get out quickly. But in this tournament, although I will be taking precautions, I will however play my natural game,” Sehwag said here.

“It’s a very proud moment for me to represent my country,” said the 24-year-old Sehwag, who will be joining the English County side Leicestershire in April.

Sehwag said he had modelled his game on his hero Sachin Tendulkar and had learnt a lot from him after being selected in the national team.

“He is my hero and role model. I’ve admired Sachin ever since I was a schoolboy and since I started playing at the age of 15, I have always wanted to play like him,” said the unassuming young star.

“Sachin is a legend and I want to follow in his footsteps,” he added.

The young right handed batsman has notched up five centuries and eight 50s in one-day Internationals and three centuries and seven half-centuries in Tests since his international debut in 1999.

Harbhajan aims high

Another young star in the Indian team, Harbhajan Singh, said that he was looking forward to taking as many wickets as possible in the tournament. “I know that the people of India and supporters around the world are looking to the team to do well and I want to play my part,” he said.

“I feel very good and I hope to claim many wickets. I feel it is a honour to represent my country and I want to go all out to do my best,” said the 22-year-old off-spinner.

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