Batting holds the key
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Batting holds the key

For us, key to the game will be how well we bat. We will need to show application, writes Indian captain Sourav Ganguly.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2003 16:38 IST
Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly

We have played a lot of cricket against England in the recent past, which has created a lot of media hype about the two countries. And, I must add, about the two captains.

There was huge speculation over the rivalry between Nasser Hussain and me. But I have always thought him a fighting captain, someone who has made his team a good fighting unit.

Our record against England in the recent past has been very encouraging but Wednesday's game is not going to be easy. England is an improved side. It has learnt a lot from the tour of Australia. For us, the key to the game will be how well we bat. The batsmen have improved, but we will need to show application.

Durban has always provided some bounce for the seamers and if Ashish Nehra doesn't pass the fitness test, Ajit Agarkar will shoulder the responsibility of the third seamer.

There has been a lot of talk about England's young paceman James Anderson, the man from Lancashire. He is relatively new to international cricket but has already made a mark in this World Cup with his performance against Pakistan. He will be very keen to prove his quality against a very good batting line-up, but I still feel Andrew Caddick will play the lead role for England.

It has been fairly overcast in Durban for a couple of days and if the sun comes out it will be a pretty good batting wicket. But if it doesn't, it might just give some early assistance to the seamers.

We had a fairly easy game against Namibia at Pietermaritzburg. The only positive thing to come from that match was Sachin Tendulkar's form and mine. It's always good to spend time in the middle, no matter how much you practice at the nets. It helps the confidence of any batsman, especially when you have an important game ahead.

It was Tendulkar's 34th hundred and my 20th in one-day internationals, making us the top two all-time highest century-makers in the game. We were also very lucky that Nehra didn't suffer a serious injury. He is an important member of my bowling attack but we will have to wait till Wednesday to see how he is doing.

The key to batting in this tournament will be to have wickets in hand and that's what we will look to do. I don't think the toss will be crucial, since the ball doesn't swing here as much as in Cape Town.

We are hoping for the best.

The World Cup has reached a very crucial stage. The important games have now begun. Sri Lanka suffered a huge setback on Monday when the Kenyans beat them convincingly. Kenya had upset the West Indies in 1996, while Pakistan suffered at the hands of Bangladesh in 1999. 2003 was Sri Lanka's turn.

First Published: Feb 26, 2003 01:10 IST