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India has to reassess its strategy and strengths, says Rahul Dravid

Kirti Patil

Musharraf's presence boosted team's morale: Inzamam

NEW DELHI: After an abject surrender in the sixth one-day international against Pakistan to lose the series 2-4, Indian captain Rahul Dravid said the team would have to reassess its strategy and strengths before the start of the next season.

The 159-run loss against Pakistan at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground brought to an end one of the most high-profile cricket series in the recent years. And, sadly India was at the wrong end of the episode. The match also sounded the bells for the long-time coach, New Zealander John Wright.

"It is certainly disappointing to lose this way. We thought we had the match in our hand but as the game progressed it didn't work out the way we would have liked it to," said Dravid.

Saying that he wouldn't give the excuse of losing the toss to the final outcome of the match, "though it was a good toss to win". "Pakistan also lost the toss couple of times in the series and we batted first but they chased well and won," said Dravid specially referring to the Ahmedabad match where India posted a huge total and still lost.

"We will have to contemplate on a lot of things. Firstly, we will have to assess why the team was not able to sustain the momentum for full 100 overs,'' Dravid, the stand-in Indian captain, said trying to put the six-match series in perspective.

Combination of reasons

Asked whether the virgin pitch created problems for India as it batted second, Dravid said the pitch could hardly be an excuse. "We didn't apply when it mattered and probably there were combination of reasons that led to India's downfall," he said without going into elaborating them.

Yuvraj Singh's suicidal run out probably opened the floodgates and Indian wickets fell at regular intervals.

"We will have to come back with some new ideas," Dravid said. India next tours Zimbabwe in July.

The absence of regular skipper Sourav Ganguly was in no way the reason for India's bad performance. "It doesn't matter much.

It is just like one player is out of the match with an injury," Dravid said.

Remembering coach Wright's contribution to the team during his four-plus years with the Indian side, Dravid said he felt sad that the team could not provide fitting farewell for him.

New coach

"We should have won this match for John (Wright). He brought professionalism, planning, team ethic, helped create good team culture as he looked beyond himself during his tenure," is how Dravid described Wright's term.

He though said that with new coach taking over shortly, it would be a breaking-in period for the team. "We will try and help him get along with the team members and it is good that there is lean period before the next series," Dravid concluded.

Pakistan captain Inzamam ul-Haq said that by winning the series his team proved that it was no pack of novices. "We won under pressure against India which has been performing well in the last few years," Haq said.

Though refusing to compare this series' win with the 5-1win Pakistan had in the 1987 series, Haq said that he was here with a young team. "It was all the hard work done by every player that we were able to bounce back from 0-2 down," he added.

Asked whether the presence of President Pervez Musharraf in any way put Pakistan under pressure, Haq said that his (Mr. Musharraf) presence itself was a message and it boosted the team's morale.

Reacting to the unruly spectator reaction, Dravid said: "We did play badly but the crowd should not have reacted like this."

However, Inzamam-ul-Haq brushed aside the incident and said it was part of an international game.

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