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India keen to rediscover winning ways

The series against West Indies will provide the beleaguered Indian team a chance to sort out their problems, particularly in the batting department.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2007 14:57 IST

Under-performing India will seek to rediscover their winning touch and find the ideal team composition ahead of the World Cup as they go into the four-match one-day cricket series against the West Indies in Nagpur on Sunday.

The series will provide the beleaguered Indian team another opportunity to sort out their problems which has persisted for much too long, particularly in the batting department.

The selectors have cracked the whip by dropping out-of-form players like Virender Sehwag and Irfan Pathan and recalling Sourav Ganguly into the one-day fold after a long gap but it remains to be seen whether these changes would have the desired results.

Ganguly, who has returned to the one-day squad after a gap of 15 months, will get back to his favourite place at the top and open the innings along with another left-hander Gautam Gambhir.

The performance of the former captain would be crucial to India's fortunes against the Caribbeans who seem to enjoy a psychological advantage over Rahul Dravid's men in recent times with an impressive record of six wins against two losses.

A convincing series win is the need of the hour for the Indians who have plunged from one low to another in the ODIs after having started a fine run of 17 wins against 5 defeats last season at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur.

The string of victories included a superb eight-match winning streak that started against Pakistan in the beginning of 2006 and ended against England in April. The Indian team then lost the plot and shockingly succumbed to the West Indies 1-4 in the Caribbean.

The poor show continued in the ICC Champions Trophy at home where India's only win came against England.

However, the comprehensive 0-4 loss in the five-match series in South Africa resulted in the selectors making as many as six changes for the first two ties of the current series against the West Indies.

The team is looking forward to the current series and later against Sri Lanka as part of the preparation for the World Cup.

The failure of the openers in recent tournaments have been a worrying factor for the team. The omission of Sehwag means that India will go into the match with a new opening combination of Ganguly and Gambhir while Sachin Tendulkar would shore up the middle order.

Dravid said the decision had been taken keeping in mind that the middle-order will be crucial for India's chances at the World Cup in the Caribbean and Sachin Tendulkar's experience would come in handy in this regard.

"The team needs to cover all eventualities and we think the middle-order will be key at the World Cup," Dravid said.

First Published: Jan 20, 2007 14:10 IST