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Should Dravid open the batting in Tests?

Yes - 366
No - 451

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Should Dravid open the batting in Tests?
- The Appeal

The Offside

With Sadagoppan Ramesh ruling himself out of the Tests and no other tried and tested Test opener in sight, Dravid is the only reassuring replacement.

The Karnataka batsman definitely has the technique and the experience to play out the new ball. Dravid opening the innings also means that he can nurse his younger and inexperienced partner, Shiv Sunder Das, through his first tour of the Rainbow nation. Das might have the backfoot technique and ability to play on the fast and bouncy tracks in South Africa but his confidence will not be especially high after the few one-day games he has played. A senior opening partner at the other end will, in this situation, be very helpful.

The opening partnership has really proved critical to India's fortunes in foreign lands on previous occasions. The fact that we have failed to make good starts has seen our top batsmen exposed to the new ball and this subsequently has brought about the team's downfall. A good total, say something in excess of 350, could see our spin attack push the South Africans into a corner. To achieve this end, steady starts are needed. Connor Williams who has been selected might have played Ranji cricket for six years. But making a debut in a Test, in what are alien conditions in South Africa, might not be the best initiation for the new man. Particularly when he has only one warm-up game before the first Test to come to grips with South African conditions. Dravid as Das' opening partner is then India's best bet.

The Onside

Rahul Dravid might have the technique and ability to be an opener but he is personally known to be not too keen about opening the innings. In fact, in the last series in South Africa he played only one innings as an opener. In the second Test at Cape Town in January 1997, Dravid made two in the first innings before being bowled by Klusener. Neither Dravid nor the team-management continued the experiment any further.

Dravid has had great success in the middle-order and has probably played his finest innings - a match-winning 180 against Australia at Eden Gardens - of his career in his current position of No.6. It then would not make any sense to move him up and down the order now.

Connor Williams, for his part, is a specialist opener and he has been selected to play that role. The current South African attack is also not as lethal as it once was and so there is no need to shield Williams by not playing him.

The Williams-Das opening combination also gives India an added advantage. The Baroda opener being a left-hander would give the South African bowlers something more to think about. India needs a long and stable opening partnerships not a short-term fix. So why not try out Williams-Das?

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