Winning means more than anything, says Ganguly
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Winning means more than anything, says Ganguly

Just getting to the World Cup final will not be enough for Sourav Ganguly, the India captain said in Johannesburg on Saturday.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2003 18:03 IST

Just getting to the World Cup final will not be enough for Sourav Ganguly, the India captain said here on Saturday.

"It's a big achievement for us, a special moment. But at the end of the day we've got to be on the winning side. That means more than anything," Ganguly told reporters ahead of Sunday's showdown against defending champions Australia.

He added that wicket-keeper and dependable batsman Rahul Dravid, who sustained a finger injury in Thursday's semi-final win over Kenya, will be ready to face Australia.

"He's fit, he just had a sore finger," Ganguly said.

Australia great Ian Chappell advised Ganguly in a newspaper column to recall leg-spinner Anil Kumble who has spent most of the tournament on the sidelines.

But Ganguly said he was tempted to stand by his pace trio - Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra - whose combined tally of 49 wickets have done so much to get India to the final.

"We'll see on the day. At the present moment the wicket looks a bit damp. It would be a difficult task for me to leave anyone out," he said.

India have only been in one World Cup final before, when they beat the West Indies at Lord's in 1983.

And Ganguly, who will be captaining the team for the 100th time in one-day cricket on Sunday, said the memory of that victory had been an inspiration to the present side.

"It was a long time back, 20 years ago, but I hope we can repeat the performance. It definitely meant a lot to cricket in India after they won in 1983," he said.

Ganguly added the current team were well aware of what another win would mean now. "After the Kenya game, we got into a huddle and said well done.

"We realised we were just one game away from becoming world champions and we must give everything we have."

Australia thrashed India by nine wicket when the teams last met in a February 15 group match at Centurion.

But since then, India have won eight games on the trot and Ganguly said it was important the team maintained its preparation routine.

"It's better to be relaxed and stick to what has brought us here."

Australia have won a world record 16 successive one-day matches going into the final. Back in 2001 their 16-game Test winning streak was ended by India.

Ganguly, when asked if he believed in 'karma' (fate), said he did not, and simply replied: "I hope we can do it again."

India, as well as their fanatical fans back home, will also have plenty of neutral support with cricket fans around the world desperate to see someone topple the all-conquering Aussies.

But Ganguly said an Australian defeat itself would not be good for cricket.

"You've got to give credit to them. It would be wrong for any of us to say it's bad for the game if they win. It's up to all of us to raise the standards of the game."

First Published: Mar 22, 2003 18:03 IST