Sourav Ganguly: We have to play positively from the start
Special Correspondent - 06 March 2002
Sourav Ganguly’s team might have whitewashed the Zimbabweans in the Test. But with Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Javagal Srinath missing from the Indian squad, the one-dayers are going to be more closely-contested. It was a realistic Indian captain who spoke to the newsmen ahead of the Faridabad one-dayer. Excerpts from the press-conference:
Sourav, what will you say are India's prospects in the series?
It's not going to be very easy but we are confident of winning it. We are missing some of the experienced players but that's the way it is. We have a lot of inexperience in our side. But I am sure we will be able to sort it out.
You mean the absence of Sachin, Sehwag and Srinath will be felt by the Indian team?
Any team will miss them, they are all proven match-winners. But it's a good chance for the youngsters to show their mettle. It's an opportunity for them to show that they can also win matches on their own, so they should be welcoming this. They can earn permanent places for themselves in this Indian side.
India go into the series after winning the Tests 2-0. Will that not be a psychological advantage?
That's a big plus, but you know that one-dayers are a different proposition altogether. You can't relax for a moment against sides as fit as the Zimbabweans. You can't understimate them. I think with India missing
Sachin, Sehwag and Srinath the contest looks more even now.
What makes Zimbabwe a difficult side in ODIs?
As I said, fitness and fielding is an important aspect of one-day cricket and Zimbabwe have done well in the past on this front. We will have to raise out standard (in fitness and fielding) if we have to beat them.
Zimbabwe will be without Ray Price who troubled the Indian batsmen with his left-arm spin in Tests. Will that help you?
One-day matches are entirely different. You can't say for sure that Price would have been as effective as he was in Tests.
What is India's strategy going in tomorrow's match?
We have to play positively from the start.
Have you decided on the eleven?
No, we are discussing all the options. The wicket looks like having some grass on it so we have to see it in the morning first before deciding the bowling options. Yes, both Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh should play. If we play Sanjay Bangar, I think we will have two more seamers... can't really say anything now.
But who will open for India?
Again, this is something which has to be sorted out first. If we bat first, I will open. But I am not sure whether I need to open or come in the middle-order if we are chasing in the afternoon. Our middle-order is not very experienced so we can try and boost it.
What about Shiv Sunder Das?
I think he has as good a chance as anyone.