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Some cricketers could be unfit: Vengsarkar

Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar said that some of the bowlers should be rested and fresh bowlers should be given a chance.

india Updated: Sep 12, 2005 15:41 IST

Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar says one reason for India's defeat to New Zealand in the Videocon Triangular final at Harare on Tuesday could be because some players were unfit.

"I have a strong feeling that some of the players, especially bowlers, are unfit," Vengsarkar said in an interview from Mumbai.

"They should be rested and fresh bowlers should be given a chance," said Vengsarkar, who also heads the Talent Resource Development Wing (TRDW) of the Indian cricket board.

The Indian bowling attack, which had bowled so well during the league phase of the tournament, was completely out of sorts on Tuesday, allowing New Zealand batsmen to successfully chase India's 276 with 11 balls to spare.

Regulars Irfan Pathan conceded 40 runs in five overs, Ashish Nehra 40 in six, Ajit Agarkar 43 in 6.1 and Harbhajan Singh 49 in 10. Part-time off-spinner Virender Sehwag was the most successful with three scalps, while left-armer Yuvraj Singh went for 39 in 10 overs.

The defeat also extended India's long-standing jinx of going down in the finals of one-day tournaments.

It was the 18th time that India had played a final since April 1999 (replayed finals counted as one) and they have lost 15 of them and won just one. They were joint winners twice.

The Indian team currently has three specialists to look after players' fitness - sports scientist Ian Frazer who takes care of the bowlers, physiotherapist John Gloster and trainer Gregory King - besides coach Greg Chappell.

But from the way the bowlers bowled on Tuesday, it seemed that the support staff had failed to get them fit for the crunch encounter - going by Vengsarkar's "feeling" that some of them might not be fit for the match.

Vengsarkar, who played 116 Tests and 129 one-day internationals, did not think that the players were overawed or under pressure by India's poor history in the finals.

"I don't think they were bogged down by the occasion. That is no excuse for losing," said Vengsarkar.

The batting great also pointed out that the strategy of the Sourav Ganguly-led team was not right for the final, especially in the 20 overs - including two optional five-over blocks that are used by the fielding team -- when most fielders are not allowed to field in the deep.

"It depends on how you plan your strategy. They should plan strategy instantly, as a match progresses. And they should also know how to use those 20 overs - it is very important," he said.

"They should have different strategies from team to team, wicket to wicket. They should have options," he asserted.

Vengsarkar also said that the selectors were responsible to an extent for the "mess" over the captaincy issue, and that Ganguly's poor form - in the last seven innings his scores were 2 retired hurt, 26, 5, 20, 19, 2 and 31 -- was affecting his captaincy.

"It is a matter of his form. But I think the selectors have messed it up again. Chopping and changing captains affects the morale of the team," he stressed.

Vengsarkar said that when the selectors appointed Dravid captain for the one-day Triangular Series in Sri Lanka last month, they should have clarified that when Ganguly's ban was over he would be back at the helm.

"I don't think he (Dravid) was told this," he said.

India will now play a two-match Test series against Zimbabwe starting with the first match in Bulawayo Sep 13.

First Published: Sep 07, 2005 21:55 IST