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Ganguly believed in his side despite odds

Sourav Ganguly said he always believed that his young side could "compete well" against Australia which had "run through" all opponents in the last five years.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2004 18:35 IST

Indian captain Sourav Gangulyon Tuesdaysaid he always believed that his young side could "compete well" against Australia which had "run through" all opponents in the last five years.

"There were some terrible things said about us before we left home. I don't look at it as if our performance is an answer to them. We always knew we could compete well," said Ganguly after India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the four-match Test series ending in a 1-1 draw today.

"When I am asked if my side has exceeded expectations in the series it is pertinent for me to know whose expectations have been met or exceeded.

"Certainly not ours. We believe in ourselves. We are also not put off by criticism."

But the Indian captain conceded the series had been special for his team.

"The way the Australians have played in the last 4-5 years and run through almost all sides, and that we have a young team and still done so well, it is really special."

Ganguly was disappointed though the way the last day of the Test panned out and felt his bowlers could have done better.

"We could have done better. Kartik has played after a long time. Kumble was amazing, he kept on running in. But I felt Pathan was outstanding on this deck."

"On hindsight the first session of fourth day made the difference to the result of this game."

Still, Ganguly was thankful to his players for their splendid show and said it was "ethics and team spirit" which separated the current Indian side from previous ones.

"It is different in ethics and team-spirit. Of course the ability of players is important too. It is wrong to say that others got going in order to fill the lack of runs from Sachin (Tendulkar). The team is well supported by other great players like Rahul Dravid and VS Laxman."

Ganguly was also supportive of his teammates who faltered on some occasions and praised the openers.

"I must also mention the role of openers. I think Aakash Chopra did a fantastic job. He had played just two Tests before he came over for this tough tour and he really played very well. He has to learn to convert big scores but it would come.

"I am also not too harsh on Parthiv Patel. I think he has a great future. He is a young boy and has missed a few chances but he has a lot of ability and is the one for future."

Indian vice-captain and man-of-the-series Rahul Dravid, who made 619 runs from the series, said he would like to improve further.

"Everyone can improve and if it happens, there are better things to come."

Dravid also believed the present series was a great advertisement for Test cricket.

"The way this series has ben played and watched back home with people getting up early and watching it, it is not only a big boost for Indo-Australian cricket but also for Test cricket. It is good for the two teams and good for world cricket," Dravid said.

He also hoped the present series would revive interest in Test cricket back home where one-day cricket draws bigger crowd.

"I hope it is a boost to Test cricket. We value Test cricket, everyone in the dressing room wants to do really well. We are happy with one-day game but truly want to do well in Tests."

Ganguly praised Steve Waugh but hinted once again the Australian team could struggle in immediate future.

"He is a great cricketer and respected all over the world. His attitude on the field is fantastic.

"But now Steve has retired and other guys are ageing. There is immense expectation on the youngers guys to come good."

First Published: Jan 06, 2004 18:35 IST