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West Indies v India, 1st Test, Antigua

'We have the weight of history to battle' - Dravid

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan in Antigua

June 1, 2006

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Rahul Dravid: No illusions about what lies ahead © Getty Images
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Rahul Dravid slipped up a bit by saying that no-one from his team was born when India won their last Test series in the West Indies - he forgot that Anil Kumble was a six-month old baby then - but the fact remains that India need to overcome the weight of history if they harbour hopes of a victorious campaign.

"We haven't won here for 35 years and we have the weight of history to battle," said Dravid on the eve of the game, "and it's a great opportunity for us to change that. I don't think too many of us, in fact any of us, were even born when India won here last time. The last two series were disappointing. In '97 we failed to chase 126 at Barbados and lost the series because of that; last time, we won at Trinidad and lost at Barbados and Jamaica. So it would be good to erase those memories with a good performance here."

Dravid knew the enormity of the challenge facing India, especially because they were starting at a venue where Brian Lara averages close to 86. "We've watched those two records [Lara's 375 and 400 not out] and seen what he can do. Each player has a favourite ground and we know we need to get him out early."

One of Dravid's bowlers who may need to get the early wickets, though, is looking increasingly short of confidence. Yet, Dravid didn't think Pathan's current form was a major concern. "He's been working quite hard and I wouldn't say it's a concern," he added. "I'm sure he knows that he could have bowled much better in the one-day series. Hopefully he'll come good in the Test series. He does a dual role for us with his batting and bowling. Tests will be a different ball game and give him a bit more time with longer spells and so on."

Both captains spoke about the importance of starting well and Lara hoped that his side would adjust into the Test format. "We've had a couple of days out in Antigua and the guys know that they have to adjust their game. It's been a very good ground for me personally and I'm looking to start positively."

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo

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