SPORT

Team may have to look for a wicketkeeper-batsman: Dravid

NEW DELHI, APRIL 24. Rahul Dravid has indicated that the team management, in the long run, would have to look for a wicketkeeper-batsman for the country's one-day team.

The Indian vice-captain, who presently keeps wickets in the one-dayers to help the `balance' of the playing eleven, hoped that in the coming season Parthiv Patel would be able to take the position, having done well in the recent tour to Pakistan.

Dravid, in the company of Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Mohd. Kaif, Ashish Nehra, besides two new additions to Team Samsung, Irfan Pathan and Parthiv Patel, was addressing mediapersons on Saturday at a function organised by the sponsor of the recent series in Pakistan.

Dravid was asked questions touching upon the timing of the declaration during the Multan Test to an awkward poser like, how he felt on being the country's most successful vice-captain.

"In retrospect, if I had known that the match would end in (just over) four days, I would have let the innings go on. It (the declaration issue) was made bigger than what it actually was,'' said Dravid.

He described the suggestion of being the most successful vice-captain as "a strange statistics to have.''

Dravid, however, disagreed on the toss being important in the Test matches. "Let us look at the positive side. The bowlers from both teams bowled in the right places on the first day (of the last two Tests).''

Kumble reflected on how it felt to experience the celebrations in Bangalore when the team won the one-day series. "When I went to Pakistan (for the Tests), I had a fixed opinion of that country. But it was different than what it was made out to be. People were very friendly and hospitable. They went out of their way to help us. It was an eye-opener,'' said the genial leg-spinner who returned with the honour of being the `Bowler of the Series.'

On Friday, the players put up some of their prized possessions for auction and helped raise Rs. 10 lakh and donated it to the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for the Disabled (NCPEDP).

Later in the day, Dravid stressed on the importance of `heroes' in different sports disciplines so that youngsters watching get inspired. "Just look what Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have achieved in doubles. It is sure to motivate younger players. Even in hockey, you have someone like Dhanraj Pillay who has inspired many. Actually, it is for all federations and those concerned to highlight the achievements of their players,'' said Dravid, indicating that larger than life projection does help in inspiring future champions.

Speaking at an interactive session organised by the Indian Women's Press Corps, Dravid also said, "honestly, I am not particularly worried about our second line of batsmen. Once the present lot is gone, I think, the new crop will be even better.''

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