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Viru best bet as opener: Wright

Sydney, Jan 1 (UNI) Imploring the Team management to recall free-spirited dasher Virender Sehwag to open the innings, former India coach John Wright has added that Rahul Dravid should be liberated from that role and be reinstated at his prefered number three position.

The New Zealander who four years ago came close to orchestrating Australia's first home defeat since 1992-93, reinforced the value of playing with a positive frame of mind and said Dravid could be liberated if Sehwag were ushered back to the top of the order.

''I'm probably biased, but he (Sehwag) gave us so much at the top of the order, I would love to see him back in good form. Then Dravid can slot in at three and things follow from there.'' ''The Indian team is best when it is playing its shots.

Sehwag certainly gave us a lot of momentum on the last tour, and I don't know what form he is in but I just feel you have to be positive against Australia and put the bad ball away,'' Wright said.

''Rahul looked to me as if he needs a bit of time at the crease.

He is a big rhythm player, and I am sure he prefers (number) three.

''He succeeded in Australia last time so he has got that behind him. I just felt, looking from here, that the lead-in has been insufficient so Melbourne for any Indian batsman was going to be a very, very severe examination.

Talking about the need for Dravid to come out of the recent lean phase in his career, Wright said that the team will be heavily dependent on the the 34-year-old as whenever he did well it invariably rubs on the Teams success especially overseas.

''The team needs him because when we did well overseas when I was there, a lot of it was built around his performances. I hope they were a gallop short and that Melbourne has done them good so they can get out and show them what they are capable of. Then we might see a different Test,'' Wright was quoted as saying by the local media.

Dravid dominated the Australian attack four years ago, with 619 runs at a mindboggling average of 123.80, including a double hundred in Adelaide, but then he came in behind Sehwag and Aakash Chopra.

Sehwag was a last-minute inclusion in this touring party as he was not even in the probable list. But he was not picked for the Boxing Day Test, where last time he pounded Australia's bowlers for 195 without appearing to move his feet.

Dravid and opening partner Wasim Jaffer could not have provided a bigger contrast in Melbourne, where they were suffocated. If Sehwag is recalled, Yuvraj Singh would likely be dropped from the middle order.

''Australia bowled very well but you can't allow them to bowl at you,'' Wright said.


Story first published: Tuesday, January 1, 2008, 14:03 [IST]
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