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Sachin likely to open

We start our first game against the Netherlands on Wednesday in Paarl with the World Cup having already seen some exciting games, especially the one between South Africa and the West Indies.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2003 02:24 IST

We start our first game against the Netherlands on Wednesday in Paarl with the World Cup having already seen some exciting games, especially the one between South Africa and the West Indies.

The West Indies had looked a very improved side in India and once again they batted superbly, especially in the last eight overs.

Paarl is the home ground for Boland and is probably one of the most beautiful-looking ones in South Africa. We played a game here last year against Kenya which was a high scoring one. And the way the wickets have been, I won't be surprised if this one also turns out to be high scoring.

There has always been a lot of talk of bounce and pace in the wickets in South Africa. We were a bit surprised to see the pace on some of them this time around. This is the end of the season in South Africa and the wickets obviously have gone through a lot of wear and tear and hence have slowed down in the course of the season. The temperatures have also been very high and hence have made the wickets very easy.

The Holland lads are the new boys in international cricket. It's a big occasion for them and they look quite excited about it. We have to be at the top of our game. There is a tendency of getting over-confident against such sides and this is one aspect we have to be careful of. We have to take this game as seriously as we do against Australia and Pakistan, prepare the same way and be very focussed.

Every point in this group is important and we have to make sure that we secure them in a confident and workman-like manner.

We have thought about the composition of the side. Getting Sachin to open is also on our minds and considering that we have our second game against Australia and his record against them being superb, we have kept this option of ours open. Our team is more or less selected on its own but the combination of two spinners or three seamers will depend of the wicket on the morning of the match.

I think I also need to mention the opening ceremony of the World Cup. It was a superb event, very well organised by Dr. Ali Bacher and his group. It was one performance which will take cricket a long way up the list of one of the major sport in the world.

Personally for me it was a huge day carrying the Indian flag. Captaining one's country is always a huge honour and I felt proud leading the team in the march past.

It was one of the biggest day of my life since my debut at the Lord's against England.

First Published: Feb 12, 2003 02:24 IST