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Dhoni in two minds on demoting Dravid

December 18, 2008 14:09 IST

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday revealed the team think-tank is toying with the idea of dropping off-colour Rahul Dravid in the batting order but said it is in two minds fearing the ploy may boomerang in the second and final Test against England in Mohali.

Dhoni said promoting VVS Laxman at number three is one of the options before the Indian team in the match starting on Friday but feels it is not a foolproof idea of helping Dravid wriggle out of his bad patch.

"We are thinking about that but as of now, it's not confirmed," Dhoni told reporters.

"Shifting Rahul to number five and asking VVS to bat at number three seems okay at times. VVS has scored runs at number three and it would be easy for Rahul too. But it can also boomerang," he said.

"If VVS gets a good ball and gets out, there is already pressure on Rahul and once you lose three wickets, the pressure is always on the number five batsman. It's really tough to tackle that," Dhoni explained.

"At least batting at number three gives you the freedom to play your natural game," he said.

Since the home series against South African, Dravid has been a pale shadow of his former self and continuous failure has reduced the Mr Dependable to the weakling of the side.

Dhoni, however, once again threw his weight behind the senior batsman and said once he manages to survive the early overs, things would be alright for Dravid.

"We are not really worried with Rahul's form. It's just a matter of time. Once he passes the 30-run mark he can get his confidence back. Nobody can question his talent and determination," Dhoni said.

"It's the initial phase and he has not been able to pass that phase. But we have confidence in him," he added.

Dhoni said with India delivering as a unit, there was no insecurity in the side and he was not perturbed by a failure on any individual's part.

"It happens when the team starts doing well. It allows you to go ahead with a few guys who are not in very good form or phase. It's a team sport and if the team does well, you can carry a few individuals, giving them more time [to find their form]," he explained.

Waxing eloquent on the unity in the dressing room, the Indian captain said, "We understand each other well, we know the strength of the individuals and enjoy each other's success.

"We back Virender Sehwag to play his shots even if he gets out in a few innings. As a team we know how dangerous he is and how he scored so many runs in international cricket. We believe in the talent every individual has got and that makes us a real team.

"We always have the self-belief. We believe we can do things. When people question our ability, we want to prove the wrong. Guys come up and say 'Well, I'll take the responsibility and take the team through," he said.

Under him, winning has become a habit for the side but Dhoni insisted it is not as easy as it appears.

"Nothing is easy I can assure you. International cricket is very tough. It looks so when you have a good side and the side is doing everything right now. I think the team is doing great, more than anything else," Dhoni said.

He was effusive in his praise for Sehwag and described the Delhi swashbuckler as the most destructive batsmen in both the ODIs and Tests.

"The way he scored in the last match, he's definitely the most destructive batsman, whether in Test cricket or one day cricket," he said.

Dhoni feels Sehwag has found a perfect partner in Delhi team-mate Gautam Gambhir at the opening slot and that augurs well for the side.

"They complement each other. They have played loads of domestic cricket together and both are aggressive stroke players. They always score at a brisk rate, it's [run rate] always three-plus and if they bat for 15 overs, you know they would score 50-plus. But what really stands out is their running between the wicket," Dhoni said.

Recalling the first Test in Chennai which India won by six wickets, Dhoni said Sehwag's blistering half-century in the second innings set the game for India.

"I think we didn't win too many sessions in the first three days but in the last two days, we did well when it mattered most. We raised our standard and took responsibility.

"I think Viru's innings was very crucial and Yuvi [Yuvraj Singh] and Sachin [Tendulkar] did well also. I think the bowlers also did a great job there. Whenever they [England] had a partnership, our bowlers were still bowling to win."

"A lot depended on the start. Without the kind of start we got from Viru, we would have ended up playing to save the game. And it was very difficult trying to save the game on a wicket like that. When a partnership goes on, the wicket looks flat and when a new batsman comes in, ball starts jumping in the same wicket," he said.

Dhoni's men are now just one win away from the number two slot in the ICC Test rankings but the Indian captain said he is more worried about maintaining the consistency.

"If we can take care of cricket, rankings will happen. We need go out and play to our potential for five days. It's not about winning a few sessions but being more consistent. As I said, rankings does not really bother us. We know that if we continue to do well, ranking will automatically go up," he said.

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