Special Correspondent

FARIDABAD: Rahul Dravid was not willing to make a definite statement on the nature of the pitch on the eve of the India-England one-day international at the Nahar Singh Stadium here.

"I can't say how the track would behave. Not many matches have been played at the venue in recent times but we believe it could aid spin in the later stages of the match. It is tough to assess because there are not many past records to go by. The pitch looks firm and could start to turn as the match progresses. Given the early morning start, there could be a little bit for the seamers in the beginning as well," he said.

Similar views

The England coach had similar views. "I have had a look at it. It looks to be a pretty slow wicket. It has a bit of grass but you never know how it will behave."

Looking ahead, Dravid observed that Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen would be the key to India's success in the ongoing one-day series against England. "Flintoff and Pietersen have the power and strength to bat the way they do. It will be important to get them early. We have to keep trying different things and find a way to check them," said Dravid.

On the openers, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, the India skipper said, "We have full faith in them. They are proven performers."

Dravid said a few things would be done differently during the course of the tournament, like trying out Ramesh Powar. "Powar is the kind of player who is always in your thought irrespective of the wicket we play on," Dravid said.

The India skipper reiterated Dhoni's plea for more support from fans. "It is nice to be supported in difficult times. It is the nature of Indian cricket that praise and criticism can be on a high scale. We have got to deal with it."

Sweep remains

Fletcher, meanwhile insisted his batsmen would not discard the sweep shot that cost them the first match at the Ferozeshah Kotla. "In the sub-continent, sweep is a very effective shot against spinners. It is just that at the end of the day they have got to be more selective in using it. We have a young side. There are five new players and there are some who are relatively experienced at the county level. Some of these players need to know how to adjust to certain conditions, the thing is what happened in Kotla could have happened in a final match," he added.

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