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Ganguly puts contenders for NZ series on notice

Ganguly said one or two team slots are up for grabs and will be filled based on players' performance in Challenger Series & Irany Cup.

india Updated: Aug 26, 2003 20:22 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Skipper Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday put contenders for the upcoming series against New Zealand on notice, saying one or two slots in the team are up for grabs and performance in the Challenger Series and Irany Cup as well as two warm-up games against the Kiwis would serve as trials.

Asked about the team combination for the series against New Zealand at home, he told reporters here: "More or less the same field we had in the past year...Where we have done well. Obviously, there are places for one or two".

"We will have to see how they (the contenders) perform in the Challenger series, Irany Cup and two warm up games against New Zealand," he said.

Queried if the team was open for new faces also, Ganguly replied: "Whoever performs, people trying to make a come-back or those trying to play for the national side for the first time".

Meanwhile, the 13-day fitness-specific conditioning camp for 36 Indian team probables for the demanding season ahead, concluded today. Ganguly said the fitness standard of the players has gone up enormously.

"In terms of fitness tests and results shown, as a captain, it is great to see the side getting fitter. It (fitness level) has gone up leaps and bounds".

He said the players knew what was required to be fit to play in international cricket and they worked on their fitness levels in the camp.

On translating the fruits of the camp into results on the cricketing field, Ganguly said fitness and cricket were two different aspects, but one helped the other. "Fitness would definitely improve the standard of the game," he said.

To a question, he said the injury to Virender Sehwag, Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh -- the three players have been left out of the Challenger Series teams -- was not "bothering" him as "injury is part and parcel of the game.

"The amount of cricket we play ... It's bound to happen.

"It is good that they are injured in off-season. On the positive side, the injured guys are as fit as anybody in the team.

"So, once they recover, it won't take much time for them to get back to the cricket field," he said.

First Published: Aug 26, 2003 20:22 IST