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Fans portrayed us in poor light

CAPTAIN'S KNOCKBy Sourav GangulyThe match at Rajkot finished on an unhealthy note due to the bad behaviour of the crowd. It has now happened in all the three venues and is really portraying Indians in poor light. Teams touring India are amazed to see so many people turning up for cricket matches and they really enjoy the atmosphere but such behaviour will force them to change their minds.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2002 23:21 IST

The match at Rajkot finished on an unhealthy note due to the bad behaviour of the crowd. It has now happened in all the three venues and is really portraying Indians in poor light.

Teams touring India are amazed to see so many people turning up for cricket matches and they really enjoy the atmosphere but such behaviour will force them to change their minds.

Although I thought we could have completed the game, I understand why the West Indies refused to resume the game. The ICC, I believe, has come up with strong instructions to the Indian cricket board about the venues. But one thing has to be understood --- crowd control crowd is never possible when they turn up in such huge numbers and there is a possibility that the associations may be penalised for no fault of theirs. I also cannot understand the reason for such a situation arising when we were walking away with the game.

Rajkot has always been a venue where runs have been scored in big numbers and this game was no exception. The wicket and the fast outfield gives very little margin for error and the helpless bowlers have really nothing much to do. The wicket here has been re-laid and this track can really be turned into a quick one. There was a bit of grass that provided carry and thereby made strokeplay easy.

We had a game plan to chase this time and I had no hesitation in fielding when we won the toss. Considering the outfield and the wicket, we did well to restrict them to 300. When we returned to the dressing room at the break, we knew that if we didn't lose early wickets, we would reach the target without much trouble.

Sehwag and I batted well in the first 15 overs and there was not much pressure when we reached 120 at the end of 15. From there it was only about playing sensibly, because boundaries were hard to stop on that ground.

Sehwag once again played a superb knock. He can hit boundaries at will and puts lot of pressure on bowlers. His strike rate in one-day cricket is phenomenal and he will score lot of runs if he sees through the first six overs.

It was a good win under pressure because it was a key game for us and we stood up well. There are still four one-dayers to come and we will have to maintain the intensity.

We have made two changes to our side for the next two games -- Kumble has been rested as he has played lot of cricket and we want him fresh for New Zealand. I was not happy with the dropping of Agarkar as bowlers have to be given some space in such venues and with the World Cup so close we don't need so many changes.

First Published: Nov 13, 2002 23:26 IST