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Opener's slot will be decided match by match: Chappell
« on: January 15, 2006, 02:46:10 AM »


Opener's slot will be decided match by match: Chappell

Coach Greg Chappell today said captain Rahul Dravid had made a "bold statement" by opting to open the innings in the first cricket Test against Pakistan here today.

Chappell also hinted that it was not a fixed decision to have Dravid at the opener's slot for the series and it would be decided on a "match by match" basis.

"We will take it match by match. I thought the decision of Rahul (Dravid) to open the innings was a courageous one," the 57-year-old former Australian captain said after the second day's play at the Gaddafi stadium.

Pakistan made a mammoth 679 for seven declared in their first innings before Dravid launched India's replay with Virender Sehwag, taking the score to 65 for no loss.

"He (Dravid) made a bold statement not only to the opposition but his own teammates that he will lead from the front. It was a calculated risk that we have taken," he said.

Chappell said the Indians would have to bat really well tomorrow to remain in the match, but said the wicket was one of the flattest he had seen in his career.

"This wicket is like the Faisalabad one in 1980 on which even Dennis Lillee, who I consider is the best-ever fast bowler I have seen, could do nothing. It's close to that one," he said.

Chappell did not agree with the view that Pakistan, with one of the best fast bowling attacks, had an advantage on such a wicket as compared to India. "At this stage only one team has batted fully and the other team bowled. It is too early to say what will happen. Let us wait and see. But we will have to bat very well to remain in the match," he said.

Chappell, asked to describe the pulsating century by Shahid Afridi, who smote the ball for seven sixes and an equal number of fours in making an 80-ball 103, placed the Pakistani big hitter alongside Clive Lloyd and Ian Botham.

"I have seen Botham, Lloyd and of course Adam Gilchrist. But Afridi's innings is up in the top group. The ground is not big enough to keep him in," he said.
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