England tour of India - Cricket: Saurav denies criticising selectors, happy with team
Published: Sunday, December 2, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Mohali: Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly on Sunday insisted that he should have been consulted before the team for the first Test against England was picked but made it clear that he would happily play with the team thrown in by the selectors.Strongly refuting media reports that he had been critical of selectors for not consulting him before announcing the 14-member squad for the first Test starting in Mohali on Monday, Ganguly said, "I had just said that I was not consulted before picking the team. As a captain you need to be a part of the selection process which helps everybody." "The selectors have given us a team and we got to play with it and I am happy about it," said the skipper, who joined the team in Mohali late on Saturday night.Ganguly said he was "impressed with the three new pace bowlers after whatever I have seen of them at the nets on Sunday morning". He, however, hastened to add that the actual match was a different ball-game altogether. "It's a good opportunity for them." In a surprise move, the national selectors had picked three new fast bowlers Sanjay Bangar, Iqbal Siddiqui and Tinu Yohannan while dropping all the five pacemen who played in the Test series against South Africa.Ganguly reportedly expressed his dissatisfaction with the selection and was quoted as having said that he needed the left-arm seamers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra in the team. But Ganguly, in fact, described Bangar on Sunday as a good all-rounder and even hinted that he could open the innings with Shiv Sunder Das or Connor Williams.Ganguly said the controversy surrounding the punishments handed down to him and five of his team mates by match referee Mike Denness had not affected their concentration and the team was focussed on the job ahead. "We batted well (in second innings of second Test) even after the controversy started." Asked whether he would now play a pro-active role in restraining his players from appealing excessively, Ganguly said there was nothing wrong with the behaviour of his team mates. "There should be some aggression on the cricket field. Our behaviour was the best in South Africa." Ganguly was also banking on the team's generally good showing at home to carry his side through in this series though he was aware of the fact that England had defeated Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the last one year on similar kind of tracks. "England is not an easy opponent. But its bowling is a bit weak due to the absence of Darren Gough and Andrew Caddick," he said. PTI