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Ganguly suggests a shortened series

As the long tour of Australia draws to an end, Sourav Ganguly today suggested shortening the itinerary of future tri-series Down Under.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2004 16:29 IST

As the happy but long tour of Australia draws to an end, a tired Sourav Gangulyon Saturdaysuggested shortening the itinerary of future annual triangular tournaments Down Under.

"Certain countries have their own systems and customs and that's the way it has been in Australia. But it's been a pretty long tour," the Indian captain said here on the eve of India's penultimate league match against the hosts tomorrow.

He said the three teams, including Zimbabwe, would have played more matches by the time the current series ended than one did during the same time span at the World Cup.

"We played 11 games in the World Cup in that span of time when we qualified for the finals. Perhaps a thought can be given (to shorten the itinerary)," said Ganguly.

India and Australia, who have already qualified for the best-of-three finals, play a day game at the WACA here tomorrow.

The triangular tournament in Australia was a 'gift' to the gentlemen's game from the rebel Kerry Packer in late 1970s. Originally called the World Series Cricket, it gave cricket coloured clothing and white balls unders lights.

It has been reduced from 15 games to 12 in recent times but it still lasts over a month and has been made to look longer because of Zimbabwe's inept performance.

"Three games each against the two teams and three finals would be nice. It would be fair especially when you have a four-Test series," said Ganguly.

Ganguly said the present tour has already been the most satisfying one for his team but they must win the series if it was to stay that way.

"I thought the tour to England in 2002 was pretty satisfying one since we lost only a Test and a one-day game. The 2003 World Cup was a very successful one but to do it against Australia in Australia - it's got to be the best so far.

"But it's a difficult place in the world for the number twos. No matter how good you play, it's win or loss that matters in the end."

Despite the weary schedule, returning home was far from the mind of the Indian captain and he hoped the same was the case with the rest of his teammates.

"I'm not thinking about home and I hope the rest (of the team) don't. We are just a week and four matches away. We have had a great tour and we want to finish it off well."

Ganguly said the present tour and the whole of 2003 would go down as a defining period in the history of Indian cricket.

"We were always unbeatable at home. But the way we have played our cricket overseas in the last one year makes it a defining moment for Indian cricket.

"We definitely have the nucleus who should be around for the next four-six years. If we keep ourselves fit, if we keep on improving, we will be a very, very good side.

Ganguly realizes his team has been run close by Australia in the one-day series but predicts it is going to be the pattern of the future games between two sides.

"When you play against Australia, the game is not won in the 70th or 75th over. The result is known only in the 90 or 95 overs.

"That is the way it is going to be. One side has to really play poorly to make it one-sided."

Ganguly is not looking at Damien Martyn as a weak spot in the Australian team, nor at Adam Gilchrist in an unfamiliar role of a captain tomorrow.

"Gilly (Gilchrist) will be keeping, batting and captaining - he would have a few things up his mind.

"As for Martyn, he is having a poor time like everyone else has had - except perhaps Sir Donald Bradman.

"I hope he does come out of it and when it happens, he would be a better cricketer than before.

"We are not targeting him or anyone else in the Australian team. It is not just one player but the team we are trying to beat."

Ganguly said even though WACA might not have the same pace as it did in the past, he would have loved to play a Test at this ground.

"Somebody like me who has toured Australia twice before has never got a chance to play a Test in Perth. A lot of people say it has slowed down but you still want to score runs here in Perth.

"It definitely gives a lot of job satisfaction to those who perform here."

First Published: Jan 31, 2004 16:23 IST