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India keen to break Jamshedpur jinx

The hosts would be eager to test their young guns at a venue which has traditionally favoured visitors.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2006 13:21 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

After the no-show and crowd trouble in Guwahati, India and England will return to the cricket field for the sixth one-dayer in Jamshedpur on Wednesday with the hosts eager to test their young guns at a venue which has traditionally favoured the visiting teams.

Having pocketed the seven-match one-day series with a decisive 4-0 lead, the game will give yet another chance to stand-in captain Virender Sehwag and Mohammad Kaif to get their acts together and be among runs at the Keenan stadium where the hosts have won just two of the eight matches so far.

For England, it would be a question of salvaging some pride and regaining confidence in view of several crucial series coming up in the near future.

Coach Duncan Fletcher will rest captain Andrew Flintoff to save him for the hectic schedule ahead as the remaining two matches hold only academic interest.

Continuing with Indian coach Greg Chappell's rotational policy, India are likely to try out some of their young talents against the tourists.

Both Robin Uthappa and Venugopal Rao are in with a chance to make the playing eleven, but going by the current practice of the Indian team, one has to wait tillWednesday to know the final combination.

"Everybody will be given equal opportunity. Venugupal has been with the team before Uthappa was included. So, he may get a chance first," Sehwag said.

But it is in the pace department that the Indians are really spoilt for choice.

With the arrival of R P Singh, VRV Singh, Munaf Patel and S Sreesanth, there is lot of variety in the department to supplement the efforts of the seasoned Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar and it will be interesting to see the bowlers who make the final cut.

All eyes would also be on Sehwag and Kaif as they labour to come out of the run glut from their blades.

"It is a matter of one big innings. I got good starts in Faridabad and Delhi. And I only need to convert good starts into big scores to regain confidence," Sehwag said.

Kaif, with a pathetic nine runs in his kitty in the series so far, would also be desperate to give a befitting reply to his critics who have been clamouring for his ouster from the side.

From the rains at Guwahati to the scorching sun here, it has been a journey from one extreme to the other for the two teams, who need to show tremendous application to come out on top in the gruelling heat, with the mecury hovering above 40 degree Celsius in the afternoon.

In fact, Monday was the season's hottest day, with the maximum temperature soaring to 44.1 degree celsius.

In order to keep the motivation going after having bagged the series, the Indians decided to treat the last three outings of the seven-match contest as a fresh series.

"We need to win two to emerge winners in the fresh series," stand-in skipper Sehwag, doing duty after Rahul Dravid was rested for two matches, said.

India are now aiming to break their record of eight one-day wins on the trot, a feat they equalled by decimating the visitors in Kochi.

The hosts would also have to break a jinx as Keenan has traditionally favoured visiting sides. The hosts have lost six of the eight matches that they played on the ground, the only success coming in 2000 when the Sourav Ganguly-led side prevailed over Hansie Cronje's South Africa.

On the other hand, Andrew Flintoff's men, having taken a battering in the series, can take heart from the past. The only India-England match here saw the visitors triumphing in a rain-curtailed tie in 1993.

The ground has traditionally been a batsman's paradise, and the look of the grassless pitch indicates that it may not be any different this time.

Teams (from)

India: Virender Sehwag (captain), Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Mohd Kaif, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Ramesh Powar, Shantakumaran Sreesanth, Ajit Agarkar, Rudra Pratap Singh, Venugopala Rao, Munaf Patel and Vikram Rajvir Singh.

England: Andrew Flintoff (captain), Matt Prior, Andrew Strauss, Owais Shah, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Geraint Jones (wk), Ian Blackwell, Liam Plunkett, Kabir Ali, James Anderson, Matthew Hoggard, Gareth Batty, Sajid Mehmood and Vikram Solanki.

First Published: Apr 11, 2006 13:08 IST