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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Full-fledged WI will be strong: Dravid

MUMBAI: West Indies look a better side than what most thought after their thrilling 40-run win in the first Test against Pakistan at Georgetown, Guyana. However, will they be able to stand up to the might of world champs India in a series that begins in the Caribbeans from June 4? Rahul Dravid certainly thinks so.

He feels that if some of the top West Indian cricketers playing in the Indian Premier League - and not playing for the Windies for various reasons - return to international cricket, the Calypso Charmers will present a formidable challenge.

"I still think that a full-fledged West Indian team will be a very strong side to play against. But it will be interesting to see if they have their full side," Dravid said at a promotional event of the Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday. Former Windies skipper Chris Gayle, excluded from the team and involved in a run-in with the cricket authorities back home, has been in blistering form for the Royal Challengers Bangalore this season, having smashed an incredible 32 sixes and two hundreds, both unique feats in the context of the IPL. Other than the explosive opener, all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, Jerome Taylor and Kieron Pollard have also been playing in the League, instead of representing their country.

The former India skipper (remember!) led the team to a historic series win (1-0), the first in 35 years, in the Caribbean in 2006. This time, he will tour as just a player, that too in Tests. "We won the series there last time. I hope we will do better this time," said Dravid.

Analysing his IPL team's performances this season, which hasn't been great - Royals have lost seven, including the last four in a row, while winning just five out of 13 - Dravid said: "We are not in a position to get to the play-offs. We have got some up and down performances. There have been some good efforts too. We have some youngsters doing well for us. We can improve next year. We hope to do our best in the upcoming seasons."


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