Rahul Dravid feels  © Getty Images
Rahul Dravid feels youngsters have a chance to impress and book their spots for the 2015 World Cup© Getty Images

New Delhi: Aug 25, 2014

Former India captain Rahul Dravid hoped that the youngsters would put up a better show in the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against England and stake their claim for the few spots available in the team ahead of the ICC World Cup 2015 that will be co-hosted by Australia-New Zealand from February 14 to March 29.

The ODI series started on Monday with the first match being abandoned due to rain in Bristol. Dravid, who mentored the team in the run-up to the Test series, agreed there was disappointment after the humiliating 1-3 loss in the Test series but said India must draw inspiration from their Champions Trophy win here in 2013.

“It is an important tournament from India’s perspective because they haven’t done well overseas recently. Though they have done well in the Champions Trophy but in the last couple of series they haven’t done well. From individual player’s perspective it is also a great opportunity. Just a limited number of games are left to go into the World Cup and they can stake a claim for a place in the World Cup squad. There are actually a few spots that are up for grabs and players have to establish themselves in the lead up to the World Cup,” Dravid was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.com.

Dravid said he also hoped that new faces will bring renewed energy to the team. “There will be disappointment because before leaving for England India would have known that Test series would have been the most important event. The ODIs are almost the lead up to the World Cup so there will be a bit of disappointment in the group. But there will be fresh energy in the team with fresh players coming in. Players like Suresh Raina, Sanju Samson and Ambati Rayudu will be fresh. I feel fresh conversations in the dressing room will pick up the team,” said Dravid, who has also mentored Samson in Rajasthan Royals.

Dravid said that the players have more experience in ODIs and expected them to perform better than in the 2011 five-match series that they lost 3-0. “These boys have a lot of experience in terms of ODIs. Players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane have played a lot of ODIs. They have a lot more experience in the ODI format so I do expect them to perform a lot better in this sort of a tournament. Shikhar Dhawan has done well in England in the Champions Trophy in the past so they have some positive memories of having won the Champions Trophy. So that is something that they can take heart from,” said Dravid.

“It is a relatively young ODI squad without some old stars since the 2011 World Cup. Some are experiencing overseas conditions on this England tour for the first time but you expect them to do a lot better than 2011. They have been here before and have done well in the Champions Trophy,” said Dravid.

Dravid said it was important for the team to notch up some wins ahead of the World Cup. “There is no doubt in the run up to the World Cup that the team will try to have some wins under its belt. They want to have that confidence going into the World Cup and know what your team is. If you start losing games you don’t know what your team combination is. If you win and players’ establish their positions in the side, you have a better idea of the team,” he said.