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Dravid backs batsmen against South African pace

Written by: Staff
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DURBAN, South Africa, Nov 21 (Reuters) Captain Rahul Dravid bristled today at suggestions India were poor players of fast bowling.

South Africa host India in the second one-day international here tomorrow and recent rain and humid conditions are likely to ensure the traditionally responsive Kingsmead pitch will favour seam and swing bowlers even more than usual.

''Have we consistently performed as a group in the last couple of tours to South Africa in the test matches?,'' Dravid told a news conference. ''Probably not but there have been guys who have put their hand up and played pace well across the world.

''Every time India travel you hear these things and every time South Africa travel to India you hear about how they can't play spin bowling.

''Each team has its strengths and weaknesses and the challenge is to play well in conditions which are not similar to those you have at home.'' India have yet to win a test in South Africa in nine attempts.

The visitors have won three and lost 12 of the 16 one-dayers they have played in this country.

Dravid said his side would take heart from reaching the final of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.

''We did well in these conditions the last time we played here so we will take confidence from that,'' Dravid said.

''This is a different time of year so the pitches will not behave in the same manner but they won't be entirely different.'' The first match of the one-day series in Johannesburg on Sunday was washed out by rain.

Dravid said his team were raring to go despite a weather forecast which suggested there was a 60 percent chance of showers tomorrow.

''There's not much we can do about it and we've had as much practice as we possibly can,'' he said.

Reuters DH KP1945

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