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Greg not worried about India's batting form

"I am not panicking as it is an experienced line-up, at least most of them are for sure," said Indian coach Greg Chappell.

india Updated: Sep 01, 2005 14:28 IST
Ashish Shukla (PTI)
Ashish Shukla (PTI)

India seems to have ridden over the fitness crisis to two of their key batsmen ahead of the critical Videocon Cup cricket tri-series clash against New Zealand here tomorrow.

Captain Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag, the two openers, might be feeling weak from the effects of cold and flu but there is good news for the two experienced players as they are expected to be declared fit for the crucial tie.

Sehwag and Ganguly have not been in the best of form but both would be required to come to terms with Shane Bond's blistering pace and movement which has given him figures of 6 for 23 and 4 for 17 in the last two games.

Bond is lethal and even when he is mild does not go for many runs. India would be looking to emerge with least damage against the outstanding paceman at the peak of his powers.

The Indian camp is cautiously optimistic it would not have to miss out on either of the two stars. It leaves too much of work to do for the likes of Dravids, Yuvrajs and Kaifs in the company of youngsters such as M S Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Venugopala Rao.

The youngsters in the team are secure in the knowledge that coach Greg Chappell is willing to give them that extra leeway to allow them to gain roots in the team.

"They are getting better after half a dozen practice sessions we have had till now. They are getting more and more used to the extra bounce. If hard work counts for anything, we should get better," he said.

Chappell looked forward to his batsmen providing a good three final games of the series and go back to India with their form in the pink of health.

"We are looking for three good games. I am not panicking as it is an experienced line-up, at least most of them are for sure. They all have had good starts at one time or other and hopefully we can go back to India with the batting order ticking along nicely."

Fortunately for India, their new ball attack is in the proven hands of Irfan Pathan and Ashish Nehra who are likely to revel in the conditions at the Harare Sports Club ground. Ajit Agarkar has provided a good back-up and J P Yadav is straining under the leash to showcase his bowling ability.

Yadav was not required to bowl when India was decimating Zimbabwe the other day but knowing his prowess the wicket here would be to his assistance.

India's fielding is not as proficient as that of the New Zealanders but a few young legs have given them that additional thrust in the field. Raina, Rao, Yuvraj and Kaif are a good foursome to have inside the ring.

Despite the mammoth near-400 they put on against Zimbabwe in the triseries opener, New Zealand's top is anything but steady. Lou Vincent has lost his way after the carnage he wreaked on Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.

Nathan Astle and Scott Styris do not inspire the confidence to bat through the innings and Hamish Marshall has not provided any glimpse of the talent he is said to possess.

New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming has famously dubbed the coming encounter as the 'Battle of the Bowlers' and it is difficult to disagree with him given the conditions prevalent at the ground.

The pitch, if anything, has more than a tinge of grass, for tomorrow's game. It is a strip which has not been used in the triseries so far and bowlers must be licking their lips in anticipation.

Teams (from):

India: Sourav Ganguly (capt), Virender Sehwag, Venugopal Rao, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Mohinder Singh Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, J P Yadav, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Suresh Raina and Ajit Agarkar.

New Zealand: Stephen Fleming (capt), Lou Vincent, Craig McMillan, Scott Styris, Nathan Astle, Jacob Oram, Brendon McCullum, Hamish Marshall, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Andre Adams, Chris Cairns and Shane Bond.

First Published: Sep 01, 2005 14:28 IST