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India look for confidence-boosting win

A demoralised Indian team, beaten in the two Tests as well as the first four one-dayers, will look for a confidence-boosting win in Wednesday's fifth one-dayer against New Zealand.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2003 14:42 IST

A demoralised Indian team, beaten in the two Tests as well as the first four one-dayers, will look for a confidence-boosting win in Wednesday's fifth one-day international against New Zealand, its prospects having been bolstered by the return of Sachin Tendulkar.

Skipper Sourav Ganguly insisted there was still a lot left for his team to play for in the remaining matches, most important being the need to return to winning ways ahead of the World Cup.

The Indians have lost everything on this tour and are a dejected lot but Ganguly said winning the rest of the matches would enable the team to go to South Africa in a proper frame of mind.

"There is still a lot to play for in the three one-day internationals. We have got the World Cup ahead and must get back to the winning streak which we had last year," Ganguly said ahead of tomorrow's day-night game.

"We had won almost everything last year before we came to New Zealand. Now we have lost both Tests and four one-dayers but its all past and we want to go to World Cup in a confident mood," he said.

Fanning India's optimism is the return of Tendulkar, who is likely to play his first match of the one-day series tomorrow. The news on Tendulkar, who sprained his right ankle ahead of the first one-dayer in Auckland on December 26, is a big boost to the beleaguered Indian side which is desperate to make amends for its disappointing batting performance so far on this tour.

The return of Tendulkar will see India fielding a full- strength side after a long time and both spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh have been included in the twelve for tomorrow's game.

"We are going to play to our strength. We are going to play the team which has won us games in the past," Ganguly said. "There are going to be times when you lose and we have won more than most teams in the past 11 months. We will go with our best eleven."

The captain has also decided to come back to his regular batting slot and open the innings with Virender Sehwag with Dinesh Mongia, Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid to follow.

"We have to make sure we don't lose early wickets. We have to stay till the end and look to bat 50 overs which we have not done," said Ganguly listing the priorities of his team.

"The important thing on these wickets is to get a total of 160 to 200 which can be a winning total considering the New Zealand batters have not had much runs under their belt."

He reiterated that the reasons for his batsmen's failures on this tour lay more in their minds than in the nature of pitches or their techniques.

"I think it's more for the mind to adjust to these wickets. We have done it in the past and there is no reason why we can't do it again."

First Published: Jan 07, 2003 13:43 IST