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Time for players to stand up and be counted: Dravid

Written by: Staff
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Mohali, Oct 28: Under pressure Team India skipper Rahul Dravid today exhorted his players to stand up, perform well and be counted in their crucial winner-take-all game against Australia in the Champions Trophy here tomorrow.

''It is time we seize the key moments of the game, we need players to stand up, perform well and be counted. There is a need for us to win critical moments of the match,'' Dravid said while addressing mediapersons here on the eve of the match.

Asked if he will need a miracle to beat Australia, Dravid replied, ''We need good performances, we don't need miracles. In two games against Australia in DLF cup in Malaysia, we bowled well and restricted them to modest scores, we should have easily been able to chase the targets but we did not.'' ''It is time we perform especially in critical moments, which in the past games we have not done and we've not been able to win,'' he said adding, ''there are good parts in our game, we need to get them together and finish the job.'' ''Generally, if you have to succeed at this level, you have to do well to stamp your authority,'' he pointed out.

Asked if he was under pressure for tomorrow's game, Dravid said, ''You want to do well under pressure and make an impact, you want to perform against the best players in the world.'' ''We need to play better, I don'tthink we're playing good cricket and our immediate concern is to try and win this game, to put more runs on the board, and to put together partnerships if we have to chase. And as a batting unit we have to do better,'' he explained.

Asked if playing before the home crowd puts more pressure on the team, the skipper replied, ''playing at home is a huge boost, before our fans, we see it as a motivation and an opportunity,''

To a query as to why the team's success rate has dipped so low after setting a world record of victories by chasing targets, Dravid said, ''Well, all our players were performing well, key players were scoring big, including 100's. People who stood up and accounted themselves. If we go back and do what we did 10 games back, things will change and that is required.'' ''You can discuss a lot about strategy, but matches are won by people performing on the field, standing up to be counted when it matters,'' he added.

He was of the view that the lean patch which his team was undergoing was due to ''our batting's poor run, if the batsmen do well we can win more often, but let me tell you that it is not as if the boys are taking it casually, they are working hard in the nets.'' ''We have to be focused, need long partnerships. Losing set batsmen puts pressure on new batsmen. Our bowling and fielding is good but we need to put sufficient number of runs on the board to put pressure on the rivals,'' Dravid said.

The Team India skipper admitted Australia was a very good team but added, ''that a lot of other teams are playing good cricket, people are performing well against them and pushing them; 7-8 teams can win tournaments. We need minimum 250 to put pressure on the rival team, and for that we need our batting to click.'' Asked if the string of defeats has become a cause of worry for him as his plans seem to come unstuck, Dravid said, ''losing is not nice, no one wants to lose games, I am not worried about plans coming unstuck, but the worry is that the key batsmen are not performing, if they perform, a lot of questions will be answered themselves.'' About Irfan Pathan being persisted at number three, the skipper said, ''People are entitled to their opinion but sending him (Pathan) at number three has worked with fair amount of success for us.'' He justified playing with five bowlers saying, ''We have consistently played five bowlers, it has worked well with us. We were able to set a world record of successful chases because of five bowlers.'' Dravid admitted that he was not performing well, ''I am conscious of the fact that runs from me are important, that's my role. I have not had that sort of success and haven't helped the team. At a personal level it hurts if you don't contribute and the team loses.''

UNI

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