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Sachin is hungry for runs

There have not been many series where Sachin has not fired and we know that a big one is around the corner, writes Sourav Ganguly.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2003 02:15 IST
Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly

The Boxing Day Test is the biggest Test match in Australia. It's held at the MCG, which has the biggest capacity amongst all grounds here and is always packed to capacity on that day. Since it is a holiday, there is a festive mood all around and people turn up hordes to support their team.

This Test is a big one for both the teams and though we are one up there is still a lot of cricket left in the next two Tests. There has been a bit of a panic in Australia after their defeat in Adelaide. I think it is an over-reaction. I think it a reaction to the fact that Jason Gillespie is set to miss the rest of the series because of a groin strain.

As it is, Australia are already suffering badly due to Glen McGrath's injury, who I think is the key to their success. He is not only a spearhead but his presence gives confidence to the bowlers around him. Jason has been replaced by Brett Lee and a hype has been created around him for this Test. It has a lot to do with the Aussie hopes that he does well and these kind of things always happen when one of your key players makes a comeback. But don't forget, Lee is also returning after an injury.

From our point of view, it is important once again to do the basics right. We know where we stand as a team and it's important to re-focus. For me our batting will be a significant factor. We will once again have to bat as well as we did in the first two Tests. But it is important for us now to leave Brisbane and Adelaide behind us and make a fresh start here. Our mindset and approach will have a bearing on the result of the next two games. The idea is to think that the series starts now and we need to be successful.

We had a break after the Adelaide Test. It has given us time to recoup and get our batteries recharged. We had a training session at the MCG and the boys looked upbeat, especially Sachin. He batted for an hour in the nets and looks very hungry for runs. This is good news for us, for he is an important member in the team. There have not been many Test series where Sachin has not fired and we know that a big one is around the corner. He got a hundred here in the last series and he likes batting here. His kids and family are also around which keeps him happy and relaxed and it should make him play well.

The good news for us is that Zaheer Khan has recovered from his hamstring strain. He is the spearhead of our attack and is in good form. He bowled superbly at Brisbane and that gives us an edge in the bowling department.

Harbhajan Singh had an operation on his spinning finger in Melbourne last week. It is not a good sight in sports to see a champion bowler with his hands in a plaster. But we all know that injuries are a part of professional sport because the effort levels put in by the players are very high and it takes a toll on the body. He will take three months to recover. He was the star-performer in the last couple of seasons and was the one who would push everyone on the field. I take this opportunity to wish him well and let him know he will be missed in the dressing room.

First Published: Dec 25, 2003 01:25 IST