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We have potential to beat NZ: Ganguly

On the eve of what is being billed as a 'revenge' Test series against New Zealand, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly sought to put the visitors on the backfoot.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2003 15:58 IST

On the eve of what is being billed as a 'revenge' Test series against New Zealand, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly sought to put the visitors on the backfoot, saying his young team had the potential to beat the opposition comprehensively.

Ganguly said his team bore no grudge against the Kiwis for the embarassing defeats on seamer-friendly tracks in New Zealand last year since it had already extracted revenge by beating them in the World Cup.

"We did not win the series in New Zealand when we toured there late last year. We managed to beat them in the World Cup soon after. So it is now even," Ganguly told reporters at the Sardar Patel stadium, the venue of the first Test.

"Now the bottomline is to win this series quite comfortably and we have the potential to beat them," he said.

Commenting on the Motera track, which is likely to assist the batsmen in the first two days before slowing down gradually, Ganguly said he expected his side to make the most of the pitch.

"It looks like a very good Test match wicket. There is no reason why it should turn out to be otherwise," he said.

"If you are good, you can play on any wicket," the skipper said.

India have already announced their XI for the match which will see the homeside fielding two debutants -- opener Akash Chopra and paceman Laxmipathi Balaji.

Ganguly said in the absence of all-rounder Sanjay Bangar, it would be upto the part-timers to fill in the fifth bowler's slot.

"Unfortunately we don't have Sanjay Bangar in the team for whatever reasons. So I alongwith Sachin (Tendulkar) and (Virender) Sehwag have to double up as the fifth bowler," Ganguly said.

Bangar had also opened the Indian batting in the last seven Test matches.

Zaheer Khan and Balaji will open the bowling while the team will have two spinners in Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.

Ganguly also had a word of encouragement for Bangar when he said "he has done well for himself and he should consider himself unlucky. But I am sure he will work hard in future and make a comeback."

For New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, the last home series win over India does not matter much since his side has come on an altogether different mission -- to register their first-ever series win in India.

"It (last series win) does not play in our mind. We will try to win the series here," Fleming said.

The astute captain is also unperturbed by the pitch which could pose a few problems to his team during the next five days.

"It looks a good wicket and I am sure we will put up a very good show.

"I would like to be the top run-getter but we have talented players like Mark Richardson and Nathan Astle. They will grow in cofidence and come good with the bat as the series progresses," he said.

First Published: Oct 07, 2003 15:48 IST