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India v South Africa, 2nd ODI, Bangalore

'We know that they're beatable' - Dravid

Dileep Premachandran at Bangalore

November 18, 2005

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Rahul Dravid dismissed his side's batting failure in the first ODI as "just an off day", and is confident that a red-hot South Africa can be beaten © Getty Images
Rahul Dravid denied that South Africa's fast bowlers got the better of his side in the first match at Hyderabad, maintaining that it was simply an off day for India. Greg Chappell didn't let on too much, but said that India learnt a fair amount from that loss and will put into motion a couple of new strategies in the second game. On the eve of the match, both spoke to the press in Bangalore.

Rahul Dravid

On captaining the side on home soil

It's nice to be captain here. I'm looking forward to it, it's always special playing in your hometown. That aside, it's just like any other game. You have the same preparation regardless of whether you play in Bangalore or Hyderabad or Chennai. We've taken some positives out of the defeat [Hyderabad] and we'll be looking to do some things better.

On what new strategies may be employed

We've got certain ideas and we'll put them into practice tomorrow. Hopefully, they'll come off for us and we'll improve in the areas we didn't do so well in at Hyderabad.

On whether the Indians had found the South African pace too hot to handle

Not really, no. They got some good conditions to bowl in, and we played some bad shots. But we've got a quality batting line-up, and if you look at it, you'll see that they've made runs all over the world, in all conditions. We just had an off day, that's all. There's no need to panic as a result of one failure, and any decisions we make will not be based on an off day.

On the pitch

It looks a good one, but I've never been able to predict how too many of them will behave.

On Virender Sehwag's form

Veeru's an experienced player and he's been a match-winner for us. He didn't make a 50 against Sri Lanka, but he played very well at times. He bowled and fielded well, and was very valuable in his role as vice-captain. He's due for runs, and we know it's only a matter of time.

On the team composition and Supersub

We'll only decide on the team in the morning, after looking at the conditions. Naming the Supersub too will be dependent on the pitch and what we decide to do if we win the toss.

On whether the team had paid any attention to Graeme Smith's "They're hiding Dhoni" remarks

It's the first I'm hearing of it (laughs). Things will be said, but no one takes it too seriously.

On recovering from the early-morning collapse at Hyderabad

It was certainly very encouraging. Guys like Ajit [Agarkar] and Harbhajan [Singh] hadn't had a bat for a few games, and the way they supported Yuvraj [Singh] said much about their attitude and the positive vibe within the team.

Greg Chappell

On how he views the South African challenge as compared to the Sri Lankan one

All teams are a challenge. South Africa are on the rise and their recent one-day record is very good. But we know that they're beatable, and I have no doubt that we'll win some games in this series. I won't say that it's a bigger challenge, just a different one.

On the number of wides bowled by RP Singh

We've discussed it. But we've got him trying to do certain things which might just make him more prone to bowling wides. He bowls a tight line and if you've noticed, most of the wides have been against left-handers. It's just a concern, and not a worry.

On whether India would continue to experiment despite the first-match loss

You guys refer to it as experimentation. We just use different strategies.

On coping with the dew factor

We'll do what we can under the conditions. We've learnt lessons from the matches played under lights so far this season.

On whether different bowling strategies were being thought of, including maybe opening with a spinner

We have a few plans up our sleeve for the coming games, which obviously won't be disclosed here. The strategies will be more from the point of view of the conditions. We learnt a lot more about South Africa during the last game, and we'll be putting that into practice for the coming ones.

On whether he was aware that Dravid had two wickets against South Africa

And that's where it'll stay. We wouldn't want to ruin his figures (faint smile).

Dileep Premachandran is features editor of Cricinfo

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Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
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