Melbourne : India’s batting mainstay Rahul Dravid, who is struggling to score runs, needs talking to “to get his brain sorted out”, feels former Australia captain Ian Chappell.
“He probably needs a bit of a talking to, to get his brain sorted out,” Chappell was quoted as saying in Herald Sun newspaper.
“He survived a dropped catch, was caught off a no-ball and only made five. He will be kicking himself,” said the former batting star, referring to his first innings’ score in the first Test against Australia.
Dravid, who quit captaincy at the end of the recent England tour, managed just 16 as India lost by 337 runs on the fourth and penultimate day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) Saturday.
“It was one of the most tedious Test innings seen at the ground and former Australian Test skipper Ian Chappell insisted Dravid’s mental approach was a major problem,” wrote the paper.
“Dravid’s batting was so dull that at one stage the Test slow scoring world-record of English wicketkeeper Godfrey Evans, who remained scoreless for 97 minutes in Adelaide in 1946-47, came into view.”
Dravid has reached 50 only twice in his past 20 Test innings against opponents other than Bangladesh.
Poor pitch, admits MCG official
A top official of the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC), which oversees MCG’s pitch preparation, had admitted that the pitch made for the first Test was not of a high standard.
“We understand that low and slow is not ideal. Ideally, we would like to see the ball coming on,” MCC chief executive Stephen Gough told The Age.
“We would have liked to have seen a bit more preparation go into it. I’m not defending that,” he said.
The ground staff’s problem increased as there was unseasonal rain and little sunshine that helps make a pitch.
The MCG strip was also criticised as it was a drop-in pitch – prepared elsewhere and then dropped in the dugout ground. But Gough defended the move. “I wouldn’t confuse the preparation of this pitch with the overall concept of drop-in pitches. There’s not an endemic problem,” he said.
Lawson monitoring Pakistan situation
Geoff Lawson, Pakistan coach and former Australia fast bowler, is at home these days and but is keenly monitoring the situation in that country following the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Thursday.
Lawson is slated to resume his duties with the Pakistan team in a fortnight to help the team prepare for a home One-Day International series against Zimbabwe. But his return to Pakistan could be delayed if the unrest escalates following Bhutto’s killing in Rawalpindi.
“Until I speak to a few more people over there, I don’t know. I will wait for their replies. I will rely on my own sources over there, rather than just relying on what DFAT [Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] says.”
Lawson’s employer, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf, told The Age suggestions of civil war erupting in Pakistan were “ludicrous” and expressed confidence that Australia’s March tour to Pakistan would also continue. “I am confident that Australian tour would still progress because it is still two-and-a-half months away,” Ashraf said.
Akram worried about Pakistan situation
Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, now in Australia as a television commentator, says he is worried about the safety and security of his family in his country.
“I’ve been sitting in Australia and, of course, I’m worried about every Pakistani back home, that they are safe and sound,” Akram told the Courier Mail.
Akram, however, said visiting teams would be safe in Pakistan even as he admitted he feared the assassination of Bhutto would have major implications for cricket in his country as sides would be discouraged from touring.
“I think it will in general make a big impact on Pakistan cricket because teams might not tour there. But we don’t know yet what’s going to happen now,” he said.