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Lara struggling to motivate Windies?

india Updated: Sep 14, 2006 18:44 IST
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West Indies captain Brian Lara is finding it difficult to comprehend how his team lost to Australia and is struggling to lift them for their DLF Cup clash with India on Thursday.

The West Indies threw away their last nine wickets for just 29 runs against the Aussies on Tuesday and want to avoid another embarrassing episode in their day/night game at Kinrara Oval against the Indians.

"Weve got to dig deep. Weve still got the series in front of us, we have a game on Thursday, weve got to put this one behind us -- and that psychological advantage that we had over India, we have to continue here," he said.

The West Indies thrashed India 4-1 in a one-day series in the Caribbean in May and on top of that advantage, Lara is hoping their knowledge of the Kinrara Oval here will give them another edge.

"Weve been out on the park, we know what the pitch is playing like and its nice to have that opportunity," he said.

"Hopefully the fact that they (India) havent played on this surface yet could be advantageous to us but its still a cricket game and whoever plays well on the day will win."

Aside from Shivnarine Chanderpaul (92), Chris Gayle (58), and Ramnaresh Sarwan (22) no other batsman got into double figures on Tuesday, which Lara acknowledges is cause for concern.

But their bowling was more encouraging with Fidel Edwards, Jerome Taylor and Ian Bradshaw finding enough bounce and swing to trouble the Australians.

India come into the game short on match practice after South Africa withdrew from the recent tri-series in Sri Lanka over security concerns, and heavy rain ruined their games against the host.

But skipper Rahul Dravid is adamant that they are ready for action.

"The West Indies have beaten us recently in a one-day series and we are keen to change that," he said.

"We have flexibility and depth in our batting and the key is to use it well. Our aim is to play competitive cricket. If we do that, I am sure the results will come."

India are expected to open with Sachin Tendulkar and Dravid, with Virender Sehwag to follow. But who comes in next remains open to debate.

"It all depends on the conditions and situation," said Dravid.

"The important aspect is that we play well ... and then the results will take care of other things."

With veteran leg-spinner Anil Kumble left out of their squad because of doubts over his fitness, the onus will be on Harbhajan Singh to tie the West Indians in knots.

He said his gameplan was simply to "stick to the right line and right length."

"There are no special instructions for me from the coach. But I have realised that once I hit the right spot, the wickets will come," he told reporters here.

India, though, are not underestimating their opponents.

"We are not worried on form. There are good and bad days in cricket. If two teams are playing at the highest level, then one team is going to win and one team is going to lose," said Harbhajan.

mp06/mc

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