Nothing like a win to start with - Ganguly

Written by: Saurav Ganguly
Published: Thursday, June 1, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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Dhaka: It was nice to make a winning start to our Asia Cup campaign. There is nothing like a victory to boost your confidence and I thought we did pretty well considering the fact that most of us had not played competitive cricket for a while.

Bangladesh gave us a good fight, which made the outing all the more worthwhile. The carried-over match did not help anybody's cause, but there is little one can do about the weather. I was worried all along as to whether we will get to bat out our full quota of overs or the Duckworth-Lewis system will come into play.

The Indian camp had one eye on the ground and with the other they watched the dark clouds above. But thankfully the sky cleared up and we were able to complete a full game.

We bowled pretty well in the first 15 overs. However, the same could not be said about the last 10. Even considering the fact that the wicket was flat, I think we gave away 40-odd extra runs during the slog overs.

This is one area, which needs improvement. We will have to bowl a lot better against Sri Lanka and Pakistan than what we did against Bangladesh. What pleased me most about Bangladesh's batting was their positive approach.

After Habibul Bashar and Amin-ul Islam had done the hard work of consolidation, Akram Khan and Naimur Rahman went after the bowling. They were decisive in their footwork and hit through the line. It was sensible batting by the two as they did not take too many risks.

Among the Indian bowlers, Agarkar bowled the best. In Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad's absence he is our leading strike bowler and I am quite happy with the way he has shouldered the responsibility. Robin Singh also bowled well.

The best thing about him is that apart from being a great trier, he bowls within his limitations. And what can you say about Sachin? Every time you look up to him, he delivers. The manner in which he lured Amin-ul and Bashar showed what a clever bowler he is.

Our fielding was up to the mark, though this is an area, which needs to be constantly monitored. Batting is obviously our strength. Everyone chipped in and played positively. The wicket at the Bangabandhu stadium has always favoured batsmen and this one was no different.

Hemang Badani was impressive on his debut. He batted and fielded with confidence. He is a player with lot of ability, surely a man for the future.

Sachin looked in good touch, which is very important for the side. So much depends on him. It is pleasure to watch him go after bowlers from the other end.

Mohammed Azharuddin also showed early form, which augurs well. We did not miss Ajay Jadeja in this match, but he will be back for our next game to strengthen the middle-order.

Personally, it was good to get a big hundred. I needed to spend some time in the middle and I am happy with the way I was middling the ball. It also helped me to get used to these hot and humid conditions after the wet and cold of Lancashire.

Playing back-to-back day and night games is tougher than playing two day games in succession, but there is little that we can do about it. Anyway, by the time my readers see this, they will know whether we were upto it or not.

Finally, I hope the weather holds and the tournament is duly completed without any curtailed games. Bangladesh ahs been a tremendous venue, a lucky one for us, and it will be luck for us once again.

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