Margao, Apr 2 (UNI) Indian skipper Rahul Dravid today said the batsmen have to pull up their socks and support the bowlers, who have been doing a fine job, if the hosts want to maintain the winning streak in the seven-match one-day series against England. Dravid told newspersons today on the eve on the third match at the Nehru stadium here that the hosts had been falling 20-25 runs short of what they needed and the batsmen have to fire on all cylinders tomorrow on a wicket which is good enough to score 250.
Speaking about the ''virgin'' wicket which was being re-laid, the Indian captain while giving his approval on the pitch, added, ''It is a much better wicket than the one we played on last time we were here in 2001.'' Dravid also praised Suresh Raina, saying that he is an exiciting talent who would serve Indian cricket for a long time in the future.
The Bangalorean, however, rubbished comparision of Raina to Sachin Tendulkar, saying, ''while Sachin is a proven cricketer of great standing, Raina is just starting out his career and it is an unfair comparison.'' He also reiterated that the loss of Sachin Tendulkar through injury was a huge one. ''It is not just Sachin the batsman whom we are missing, but also Sachin the bowler and the mentor in the dressing room.'' When reminded that India had lost all three matches played here, Dravid said he could not comment on it because the matches were played a few years ago and ''things change in cricket''. He, however, said that India would go all out for a win here, not only to put the record straight on this ground and give the football-loving people of Goa something else to cheer about, but also continue their domination over the England side and keep them down.
On the composition of the playing side for tomorrow's game, Dravid kept his cards close to his chest, saying that all the players in the squad are eligible for selection and the final eleven will be chosen only on the morrow of the match.
There is a chance of Venugopal Rao replacing Mohd Kaif to give another option in the bowling department as the Andhra lad can also tweak his arm over if required.
UNI GS KU PDS HT1507