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Australia low on confidence after the Ashes defeat

cricket Updated: Feb 17, 2011 23:32 IST
Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly
Hindustan Times
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It was great to see the opening ceremony in Dhaka. The images of rickshaws carrying the captains around the ground reminded me of the lane in front of my house where there are so many of them. The culture of Bangladesh is so much similar to that of West Bengal. It was great to see the World Cup organising committee in Bangladesh showcasing the country's heritage, which is so very important.

Mirpur is in any case a beautiful stadium and I am told it has been further renovated to make the facilities even better.

India's first match is against Bangladesh, who will be looking to make an impression on their home ground. They are a much-improved side and could be a threat, as they know the conditions well. But, if India can play to 75 per cent of their potential, there will be no hiccups.

A lot of people are talking about India's infamous World Cup loss to Bangladesh in the previous edition. To me, that should be a huge reminder to the team not to be complacent.

Mirpur has always been a good batting wicket unless it is prepared differently this time around. India has been in terrific form in the warm-up games. Though these are only warm-up games, India will definitely carry the confidence into the tournament. This is a very strong team and, to a lot of people, favourites to win the title.

I am not a firm believer of the tag 'favourites' and don't want it to create pressure on the boys. Rather, they should be allowed to focus, take it one game at a time and look to give their best so that the bigger goal can be achieved.

The days of Australian dominance seem to be over. This World Cup is an even platform and, as of today, the three best teams along with India are South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. So, where does Australia go from here? Three consecutive World Cup wins mean they surely have the ability to rise to the occasion in big tournaments.

Remember, Ricky Ponting has not dropped a game as captain. But this current team doesn't look as formidable and their confidence seems to have taken a beating, especially with the heavy Ashes defeat. Their performances in the two warm-up games have been very ordinary.

They really have to lift their game to be successful. They play in Sri Lanka where the wickets will turn and how well they handle it will be the biggest challenge for them.

Their success will depend on how David Hussey, Callum Ferguson, Cameron White and Steve Smith deliver.

It's going to be a huge cricket extravaganza for the next 45 days and I hope we see a new champion.