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Hold your heads high: Ganguly

Indian captain Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday tried to inject some confidence back into his demoralised teammates exhorting them to hold their "heads high".

india Updated: Jan 14, 2003 18:18 IST

At the end of a nightmarish tour of New Zealand, captain Sourav Ganguly today tried to inject some confidence back into his demoralised teammates exhorting them to hold their "heads high" and believe in the fact that they were a much better side than the results showed.

One of team's worst series in recent times finished here today with India crashing to their seventh defeat in nine matches, including losses in two Tests. Ganguly, who admitted the techniques of his batsmen needed to be "tightened" a bit, told his boys not to feel low and instead focus on the next month's World Cup.

"I know it's (tour of New Zealand) not gone our way, but keep your heads high. We are a good side and I know we'll do well in the future," he said.

The team, whose formidable reputation as world's best batting unit was tore to shreds by the New Zealand attack on seamer-friendly tracks, also had morale-boosting words to hear from home captain Stephen Fleming who admitted that the Indians "had more talent" in them than the pitches had "allowed" them to show.

Addressing the beleagured Indian captain directly, Fleming said, "We know you've got more talent than what the pitches here allowed you to show and we know that you will be a real threat in the World Cup. We look forward to seeing you in the Super Sixes".

India and New Zealand are placed in different groups in the World Cup and would not meet each other before the super six stage.

"At this level of professional sport when you play day in and day out, you have to keep forgetting the good or bad days and keep looking forward. We just have to forget the bad times and prepare ahead for the World Cup. We have to look ahead to the future and get our act together," he said.

The skipper said almost non-stop one-day cricket had affected the techniques of the batsmen and that was one of the reasons for their poor show in New Zealand.

"Our techniques need to be a bit more tight. We play a lot of one-day cricket which makes the techniques fragile as days go on.

"These are wickets where you have to concentrate hard and fight hard and show a lot of determination to score runs. It's not a wicket where if you make a minor mistake you can get away with it because there's enough in it for the bowlers. Every ball is doing something to keep you awake," Ganguly said.

"But it's just not happened with us. We have got in but just not carried on.

"In different conditions, you got to put your head together and put some runs. It's hard but that's no excuse."

Ganguly said he hoped his batsmen would have learnt a few lessons from their experience in New Zealand.

"There are some positives out of every series and it's probably a learning process for all our batters, however experienced they may be."

"We would rather do well to recover. We need to be fresh and in form because that's going to be crucial for us in the World Cup.

"We have scored runs in South Africa in the past but it has to happen again. The past has no meaning if it doesn't happen in the World Cup," he said.

India's only two victories on the tour came in the fifth and sixth one-dayers after they had lost both the Test and one-day series. They could not keep up their winning momentum and lost their seventh and final one-dayer by six wickets today.

"We didn't play well today and the toss was important as it has been throughout the series. But we haven't delivered with the bat at all in this series," he said.

Both of India's victories came while chasing totals and their batting collapsed yet again today when they were asked to bat first by Fleming who won the toss.

Ganguly praised his bowlers, especially Javagal Srinath who finished with 18 wickets from seven matches, but said left-arm seamers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra were not at their best in today's game.

"They have had a poor day but then they have had a lot of bowling to do in the series. Overall, I thought all of them bowled outstandingly," he said.

First Published: Jan 14, 2003 18:18 IST