Rahul Dravid, speaking to the media ahead of the first ODI against Sri Lanka to be played in front of an expected hundred thousand people at the Eden Gardens, said that it would be a chance for his side to gel and get into their groove for the World Cup. "This is our last chance to fine-tune our game before the World Cup. We are looking forward to the series. We have to perform well, and try and get the players in the right kind of form and fitness so that we can take confidence to the World Cup," he said.
Virender Sehwag, back after a brief forced layoff, batted comfortably at the nets today and will look to repeat it in the middle tomorrow. "Sometimes, a break can be useful. Time away from the game has given him a chance to come out of a pressure situation and to work on his game. Sehwag is working hard on different areas, the smile is back on his face. He is keen to perform well tomorrow," Dravid said. He, however, discounted the impression that it will be Sehwag alone who would feel the heat. "The decision to pick teams for two matches is that of the selectors, and they know what they are doing. We must trust the selectors. Not just Sehwag, all the players are under pressure in every match. Every game is important and there has to be a certain amount of pressure when you play international cricket, otherwise there is no fun."
He also sought to allay apprehensions about Munaf Patel's form and fitness, adding that only a match situation would provide the final answer. "Munaf is shaping up well. He has been bowling well in the nets, but there is a difference between bowling in the nets and bowling in a match situation. We must see how he performs and comes through ten overs of bowling and three hours of fielding in a match situation."
A lot of criticism has been directed at India's overall fielding travails, despite possessing some exceptional individuals. "We have to work extra hard on our fielding. Our focus will continue to remain on being a good fielding side. We are concentrating on certain areas, players will need to work on specific positions at which they will be fielding. Quite obviously, we must put in extra work on our fielding, and we can each improve by ten or 20 percent, the team will benefit immensely," Dravid said.
Finally, the Indian captain maintained that there was no room for complacency against a Sri Lankan side without Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan. "They are a dangerous side. In the ICC rankings, they are ranked ahead of us. We have to play good cricket to beat them."