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Ganguly rates India at par with Aussies

Sourav Ganguly disagrees with his coach John Wright when it comes to assessing India's chances against Australia in the VB series.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2004 11:25 IST

Indian captain Sourav Ganguly disagrees with his coach John Wright when it comes to assessing India's chances against world champions Australia in the ongoing cricket tri-series.

Wright believes Australia have an edge over India in one-day cricket because of superior bowling and fielding prowess but Ganguly does not think that is true.

"That is his opinion. We were better than them in the Tests and at present we are playing at par in one-day arena. We should have won in Melbourne, a game we managed to lose," said Ganguly on Saturday.

The Indian captain showed a businesslike attitude at the nets at Gabba, walking up to the pitch for his customary inspection and then directing the medium-pacers at the nets, asking them to bowl fuller and avoid giving deliveries which could be cut and pulled.

Ganguly must have had Adam Gilchrist on his mind as the left-handed Australian opener signalled his return to form with a majestic 172 against Zimbabwe at Hobart yesterday.

"Gilchrist is a good player, a good cricketer but when he bats upfront, we also have a chance of getting him out. We have bowled well to him in the Tests and we hope to continue in the one-day series," the Indian captain said.

The form of Gilchrist, and for that matter other Australian batsmen, does not hold much terror for Ganguly as he feels batting in home conditions is always easier and Australians, in any case a good batting unit, are in good form.

"A team in home conditions is always expected to do well. People expect us to do well in India and the same holds true for Australia. But it must be said their batting is good."

Ganguly still does not want to drop his guard and feels his side has to reproduce the intensity which has made it such a good unit in recent years.

"We have to pick our overall intensity which served us so well in the past one year. We have to play up to our standards and fire as best as we could."

If India could put it across Australia in the finals, for which the two teams look headed for, Ganguly believes it would be a further endorsement of the side being the best he has captained abroad in his four-year reign as captain.

"I already think this is the best Indian side I have captained on tour but if India were to win the VB Series, it would only be an endorsement of the view."

The desire to come at the Australians from all directions imply India would go with seven batters in the game tomorrow and Rahul Dravid would keep wickets.

"We cannot drop our guard at this stage uld keep wickets," said Ganguly, adding they would think of having a specialist wicketkeeper roped in only when they have made sure of a berth in the finals.

Amit Bhandari, Ashish Nehra and Irfan Pathan were all let loose in one nets and the way they went about their task it seemed a competition was up among them.

Bhandari, having his first nets of the tour, was keen to impress, once hitting Yuvraj Singh on the inside of his left-arm and at another having a top order batsman caught and bowled.

Nehra was slow to start with but then his run-up kept getting longer and his pace quicker. All the bowlers though were handicapped by lack of new kookaburra balls.

"This is probably 40 overs old," quipped Bhandari as he stretched himself for a good hour at the nets.

Ajit Agarkar did not bowl at the nets and even as he contemplated whether to give himself a bowl, a fresh spell of rain drove the tourists indoors.

Ganguly is keeping an eye on Agarkar, worried his best medium-pacer of the tour might be ruled unfit.

"Ajit is a bit stiff in the calf, we haven't decided on the 12 as we want to have a fresh assessment of the conditions and pitch tomorrow noon," said Ganguly.

Wright termed Indian fielding as shoddy in the first game in Melbourne and on this Ganguly agreed. "We need to pick up our fielding," he uttered before losing himself deep into the nets.

First Published: Jan 17, 2004 13:35 IST