India v England, 2nd Test, Mohali

Huge home advantage a thing of the past: Dravid

Anand Vasu at Mohali

March 8, 2006

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Rahul Dravid is giving away less and less about team composition and possible strategies when he speaks to the press these days. On the eve of the second Test against England he was tightlipped about specifics, but still found enough to talk about.



Rahul Dravid accepts that he misread the Nagpur pitch © Getty Images
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On the attitude of teams touring the subcontinent
I can sense a difference in attitude to touring the subcontinent between the 1970s and 80s, and now. Teams look forward to coming here, they consider it a challenge. Through under-19 and A tours as well as camps in the summer, they come here more often, and they also tour Pakistan and Sri Lanka fairly regularly, where the conditions are similar to what you find in India. There still is and always will be a slight advantage playing at home, but these days most teams come in advance and plan well, but the huge advantage we used to have playing at home doesn't exist anymore.

On India's bowlers struggling to take 20 wickets in recent Tests
We do realise that we need to take 20 wickets to win a Test, that's the key. But some of our last few Tests have been played on either flat tracks, or low and slow pitches. That said, we must learn, we must adapt and take 20 wickets. But you have got to understand that most of our fast bowlers are pretty young and without too much experience. They are learning and getting better.

On playing five bowlers
We have the option of playing five bowlers here, and we will think about it. We will discuss the best chance of getting 20 wickets, but we will take a final decision later. Our squad is such that we can play three seamers or three spinners, as the need many arise. We have enough back-ups, it does give us options. Sreesanth has been down with the flu for the last couple of days, we will assess his condition tomorrow morning.

On the pitch
I am always happy with whatever wicket we are given. My philosophy is to try and perform in whatever track is given, and that's what I tell the team as well. It's always nice to have more bounce, and I think this track will have more bounce. Actually, I misread the Nagpur pitch. There was a lot of rough created, and I thought the ball would turn a lot more from day four than it actually did. I am pretty happy with this pitch. It has got a bit more bounce, which will help our spinners as well as our stroke-makers. That's why we have traditionally done well in Chennai, which has a little extra bounce.

On the fighting spirit a depleted England side have shown
We know they are a good squad, and we were not surprised at how well they played at Nagpur. We were never complacent because we realise they are a competitive, very good side. The fact is we didn't know much about [Alastair] Cook and [Monty] Panesar, they were somewhat of an unknown for us. But for Cook to come out here for the first time and bat so long or for Monty to bowl that many overs from round the stumps and keep the rate of scoring down was commendable. Having seen them play, we now have something more to discuss. Cook and a few others have given us a bit of an idea.

Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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