Dravid all praise for his boys

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HAPPY HEROES: Yuvraj Singh and Indian captain Rahul Dravid pose for the photographers after the 5-1 series win. PHOTO: AP
HAPPY HEROES: Yuvraj Singh and Indian captain Rahul Dravid pose for the photographers after the 5-1 series win. PHOTO: AP

Special Correspondent

INDORE: "It is always nice to end with a win, and the fact that we won the game convincingly chasing 289 was excellent. The spirit and the attitude the boys have shown has been the biggest plus. The way we fought back from the loss of the Mumbai Test was brilliant," said a beaming Rahul Dravid after India beat England at the MPCA Stadium here.

Dravid gave credit to the entire team. "It is hard to single out an individual. Everyone has done well at various stages. Yuvraj (Singh) has carried on with his excellent form of the recent past. (Suresh) Raina has established himself as a middle-order batsman and (M.S.) Dhoni has done well whenever he has got an opportunity."

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He praised the bowlers too. "Irfan (Pathan) has been consistent, Sreesanth had a good game today, (Ramesh) Powar has been a stand-out performer and Harbhajan (Singh) has been brilliant, as usual.

"It was a good team performance, and the fact that I have mentioned so many names is reflective of that. Credit to the team, and everyone in the squad, including the support staff and the coaching staff."

Yuvraj Singh earned a special mention from Dravid. "I think a little bit of responsibility has helped him. He is mentally a more seasoned cricketer now, he feels more relaxed because he is a regular and important member of both the Test and one-day sides.

"I hope he carries on like this because the way he has finished off games with Dhoni and Raina makes for a potent combination."

On Robin Uthappa's brilliant knock, Dravid said, "He played well. Chasing a large total, we needed a good, solid foundation up front and our partnership really helped the team.

"To make your debut and go out and get an 80 is always a good feeling. He will be disappointed with the way he got out, but it is a good start and I hope he can carry on from here." And there were compliments for Sreesanth too.

"I hate telling anyone, and that includes myself, that he is a regular in the squad. You must perform consistently, but yes, if Sreesanth keeps bowling like this, he does put himself up for selection on a regular basis.

Pat for Sreesanth

"He has stood up and asked to be counted, he is learning all the time, and with more experience, I am sure he will do even better."

Yuvraj Singh was humble in his assessment. "I am very happy and I want to carry this form forward with me. The important thing is that I have learnt a lot. This season has been very good for me, and I am hoping it gets better.

A lot of people have helped me my teammates, the coaching staff and I have made a few adjustments as well."

England skipper Andrew Strauss looked at the positives.

"The young seam attack did very well in testing conditions. We've gained a lot of experience about what it takes to win in these conditions which are very foreign to us. There were quite a few positives. Liam (Plunkett) and Sajid (Mahmood), along with James (Anderson), have all enhanced their prospects and gained a lot of experience.

"We will have to look at our batting. We didn't score a hundred in six games. We lost some important periods of play, we lost too many wickets at important moments. The inexperience showed a little. Hopefully, we will learn our lessons from here."

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