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Fleming outburst surprising

It?s an important game for both sides. The Kiwis have not won a game so far although they were pretty unlucky not to win against Australia in Pune, writes Sourav Ganguly.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2003 23:47 IST

It’s an important game for both sides on Thursday. The Kiwis have not won a game so far although they were pretty unlucky not to win against Australia in Pune. They are a very good one-day side and India will have to play well to win the game on Thursday.

It’s a historic occasion for Cuttack, its first-ever day-night game and obviously there is going to be a big turnout of people to watch the game. Cuttack has been a good wicket and it will offer a fair bit of bounce.

Although the past matches here were day games, providing some assistance to the seamers, it’s not going to be so this time. However, the dew could be a factor in this part of the country at this time of the year.

I don’t see much change in the Indian team in this game but Rahul (Dravid) and John (Wright) could give some thought to the batting order. They should continue with (Virender) Sehwag in the opener’s slot, as he has a good record against New Zealand.

I feel Veeru should take his time in the initial six-seven overs. He is the kind of player who can make up for that at any stage of the 50 overs. I can’t remember a match where he has batted 50 overs. If he starts doing that, he’ll be a bonus for the side.

It’s an important game for Zaheer too. He needs to get back to his original self and look to bowl a consistent line rather than try to bowl quick. We also need contributions from No. 7 and 8.

We saw what a difference the Kiwi and the Australian lower-orders made in Pune. This is one aspect of our one-day game we need to improve upon. It’s also an important game for Murali Kartik, who was unlucky to miss the Test series and will definitely want to make a mark in this game.

As will Mohd Kaif. He needs to score runs. He hasn’t got much chance in this series but he is very good at his position. There is a lot of talk about his place in the side but he should ignore it all and play his natural game. He is a great team man.

I was surprised at Stephen Fleming’s comments about the itinerary of the series.

It’s common procedure for touring boards to approve the schedule and itinerary sent to them beforehand.

New Zealand Cricket has always worked very professionally and I am surprised that Fleming, as captain and someone who has toured India before, had not seen this before saying yes. This is even more surprising as the Kiwis sent their coach to watch the Irani game in Chennai.

First Published: Nov 05, 2003 23:47 IST