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Ganguly hopes to return to form in Test series

Ganguly hopes an elbow injury will not prevent a return to form when he leads his team in first Test against Zimbabwe.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2005 20:53 IST

India captain Saurav Ganguly hopes an elbow injury will not prevent a return to form when he leads his team in Tuesday's first Test against Zimbabwe.

Ganguly had a poor limited-overs triangular series against Zimbabwe and New Zealand, scoring just 77 runs in five innings, and then picked up an elbow injury in a three-day warm-up match against a Zimbabwe Board XI in Mutare.

"I have had a pain in my right elbow for some time now, but I will play in this Test and then go for a scan," Ganguly, who scored 46 in Mutare, said on Monday.

Coach Greg Chappell backed his captain's ability to make a statement with the bat in the two-Test series.

"I have no doubt Saurav will make runs again soon. He is well aware of what he needs to do and the way he's batted recently is a good sign," Chappell said.

"Hard work is all he needs when things are not going well and he must focus on those areas that are likely to bring him the best chance of success."

Ganguly seems set to bat as low as number six, with Mohammad Kaif and Vangipurappu Laxman ahead of him at four and five.

India's other quandary is whether to play both spinners, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, or three frontline pacemen.

Irfan Pathan and Laxmipathy Balaji look set to fill the new-ball role following Ashish Nehra's buttock strain which saw the left-armer return home on Thursday. His replacement, Ajit Agarkar, did not play in Mutare, while there are doubts over Zaheer Khan's fitness over five days.

Vice-captain Rahul Dravid, who scored an unbeaten century in Mutare, was confident of a first-Test victory.

"If we play good cricket and focus on ourselves rather than the opposition, then we should win. It's very important for us to win the Tests well," he said.

Zimbabwe's former captain and key all-rounder Heath Streak will have a fitness test later on Monday, following surgery on a blood clot on his shin nine days ago.

Batsmen Terrence Duffin and Charles Coventry are likely to make their debuts after Zimbabwe selectors made four changes to the team beaten by an innings and 46 runs by New Zealand at the same venue in the final Test of that two-test series last month.

The selectors have also recalled all-rounder Andy Blignaut and off-spinner Prosper Utseya.

First Published: Sep 13, 2005 20:53 IST