Indians not worried by defeat in warm-up game

Indians not worried by defeat in warm-up game

Rahul Dravid

It was fairly obvious from the eleven they put out the previous day – no Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra or the now recovered Gautam Gambhir – that the Indians were looking at the game as no more than gentle preparation, but there was no lack of intensity at Monday nets.

Gambhir, back in the side after missing the Colombo tri-series with a groin injury, batted for close to an hour with few obvious signs of discomfort, while Tendulkar, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rahul Dravid, India’s top scorer during that embarrassing loss to the Kiwis, also had long batting stints.

India’s first game of the competition, against Pakistan in Centurion, is slated only for Saturday, allowing the team plenty of time to sort out game plans and work out strategies, so it came as no surprise to hear Dravid caution against getting too flustered by the loss to the Kiwis.

“We shouldn’t read too much into it,” said the classy right-hander, only recently back in the one-day scheme of things. “We will be all right once the main tournament begins. This was a dry surface and it turned straightaway. The spinners bowled 30 overs and that does not happen often in conditions here in South Africa. "The conditions in Johannesburg and Centurion will be different.”

Dravid’s 34-ball 37 included six fours, including four in a single Shane Bond over. While he expressed happiness at the way he was striking the ball, the 36-year-old was typically harsh on himself for not going on and getting a big score. “It was the kind of wicket where if you got in, you needed to make it count,” Dravid observed. “I couldn’t do that, but I feel good about my form.”

Placed in Group A alongside holders Australia and a weakened West Indies, apart from Pakistan, India will need plenty of men to feel good about their form, and make the most of that form, if they are to go the distance in the competition.

Brief scores: New Zealand: 301/9 in 50 overs (Jesse Ryder 57, Martin Guptill 63, Grant Elliott 30, Neil Broom 66; Yusuf Pathan 3-46) bt India: 198 all out in 40.3 overs (Rahul Dravid 37, Suresh Raina 31, Abhishek Nayar 41, Amit Mishra 26; Shane Bond 2-38, Daniel Vettori 2-46, Jacob Oram 2-26).