India face bigger threats than Mendis: Dravid

July 21st, 2008 - 10:42 pm ICT by IANS  

By Rex Clementine
Colombo, July 21 (IANS) There are bigger threats awaiting the Indian cricket team than mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis during their Test series in Sri Lanka, Indian batsman Rahul Dravid said here Monday. Since Mendis claimed six Indian wickets in the final of the Asia Cup tournament, the media attention has been on the mystery spinner, but the 122-Test veteran felt that off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas posed major threats for his team along with certain elements outside the Sri Lankan team.

“Personally and as a team, we are not focusing only on Ajantha Mendis. Sure, he is going to be one of their four or five bowlers but you can’t just focus on Mendis,” the former Indian captain told journalists.

“They have got a couple of other guys who have got 1,000 wickets between them. Murali is a big impact in his own country while Vaas is a clever bowler in these conditions,” said Dravid, the sixth batsman in the world to score 10,000 runs in Tests.

He was talking to the media ahead of the first Test starting at Singhalese Sports Club ground here Wednesday.

Apart from the two key bowlers, Dravid felt the Indians need to cope with the scorching heat in Sri Lanka to come on top of the opposition and he had a ready solution too.

“Managing the heat is another big issue. That’s a big factor that you have got to be aware of and you need to maintain your concentration for long periods,” Dravid said.

“The amount of water that we drink is going to be important. We are pretty much on top of that and in control of that. It’s something that we have got to watch during the Test match and be very disciplined about it, both as a team and as individuals. Try and do the best we can to manage these conditions.

Dravid and Sourav Ganguly were the only batsmen to play the last series in Sri Lanka in 2001 as both Sachin Tendulkar and V.V.S. Laxman did not take part in that series due to injury while Virender Sehwag was not part of the Test squad.

“We haven’t played here since 2001. It’s great to come back here and play Test cricket. I have been hitting well in the nets. It’s just going to be a question of spending some time in the middle. If you spend some time in the middle in these conditions, it makes a big difference. Once you spend an hour or so, it tends to flow from there,” Dravid explained.

Dravid could not get a proper run in a warm-up game last week as he was run out in the first innings for five and made only 26 in the second innings.

“We came here early and our progress has been quite good. The practice match too went well. We are happy and prepared. I haven’t played in a month or so and that seems a long time,” Dravid said.

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