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  Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Dravid dilemma for India
Rahul Dravid behind the stumps against Sri Lanka
Dravid has been shoe-horned into a dual role


Victory over West Indies in the 1983 World Cup final at Lord's is one of the greatest moments in India's cricket history.

Such has been the progress of Sourav Ganguly's side in the past few months that Indian supporters are now dreaming of history repeating itself in South Africa next year.

They have an array of batting talent and their bowling attack is improving, but a question mark remains over the ploy of using Rahul Dravid as a wicket-keeper/batsman.

Vice-captain Dravid has been behind the stumps in 24 of his 182 one-day appearances, but endured a nightmare during the ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka.

Catches were dropped, byes conceded and most embarrassingly of all, he missed the stumps as he tried to run out Russel Arnold in the replayed final in Colombo.

Similar errors in South Africa could end India's World Cup dream.

Vital errors

Dravid is unquestionably worth his place as a batsman, with a record of 5,765 one-day runs, including seven centuries.

But former Indian wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer believes he must focus on his wicket-keeping to bring it up to an acceptable level.

"He's making basic errors. He's rising too soon, he's snatching at the ball and taking his eye off the ball completely. He's doing the three basic principles of wicket-keeping completely wrong," Engineer told BBC Sport Online.

Dravid attempts a run out against Zimbabwe
Technical flaws have been exposed

"They play so much one-day cricket these days, so there's no reason that he's not in practice. But if your basics are wrong, then you're going to be struggling."

India do not have many alternatives available with Parthiv Patel, who recently made his Test debut in England only 17 years old.

Engineer thinks Dravid is the right man for the World Cup, but needs some specialist coaching.

"I'm a good friend, I talk to him regularly. I'd hate to impose myself, in case he takes it the wrong way.

"But I'd be delighted to help him and five minutes is all I'd need."

Engineer views the run out incident as "horrendous".

He said: "How could he miss? When you are taking the throw you have to have a good idea where the stumps are. That's an elementary thing about wicket-keeping."

Dravid square cuts
Dravid's batting goes from strength to strength

One bonus is that Dravid's wicket-keeping problems do not appear to have affected his batting.

He averages over 51 in one-day games in which he has kept wicket, compared to an overall average of 38.43.

Dravid is a steadying influence in a team loaded with dashers like Virender Sehwag, Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh.

He can, however, be relied on to score quickly when required as shown by his run-a-ball 145 against Sri Lanka during the 1999 World Cup - the first one-day match in which he kept wicket for India.

Improving in his secondary role, so he can become an all-rounder to rank with Adam Gilchrist (Australia), Alec Stewart (England) or Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka), is now vital to India's progress.

"He doesn't look very happy behind the stumps. All the keepers I know enjoy the wicket-keeping and are very focused towards it. I'm not sure whether Dravid enjoys it or has just been thrust into that role," said Engineer.

"He is a fixture in the team and he's just got to buckle down and listen to people who are in a position to advise him."

12 leading teams do battle in Sri Lanka

Final

Semi-finals

Pool 1

Pool 2

Pool 3

Pool 4

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See also:

30 Sep 02 | ICC Champions Trophy
08 Sep 02 | England
30 Aug 02 | Scotland
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