London: India captain Saurav Ganguly called on his players to show more mental toughness on Wednesday as they pursue their first Test series triumph outside of the sub-continent in 16 years.
Not since legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev guided India to a 2-0 Test series win in England back in 1986 have the side enjoyed a successful campaign away from Asia. "We would like to win a Test series outside of the sub-continent. We've had opportunities over the last year which we could not hold on to," said Ganguly. "I hope we are mentally tougher in this series and do our best. I think it is more in the mind than in the actual game. It's all about how one individual works on his own mind. You train hard, imagining match situations.
"But it comes down to how an individual trains himself to stand up to the pressure. Everybody has got his own way of doing it." England has four first choice players - pace bowlers Darren Gough, Andrew Caddick and Alex Tudor as well as opening batsman Marcus Trescothick - missing through injury. But Ganguly said that did not make India favourites for the match. "I've seen big names go through a series having a rough time and young boys stand up and do it," he said.
And he also downplayed the importance of his side's One-day form. In the triangular series final against England earlier this summer India pulled off the second largest chase in Limited Overs International history to make 326. However, Ganguly, who made a Test century on his debut against England at Lord's in 1996, said, "They are two different parts of cricket. We've done well in one half of the series but the other half starts on Thursday."
Ganguly confirmed that batsman Shiv Sunder Das, medium-pacer Tinu Yohannan and all- rounder Sanjay Bangar had been omitted from India's 13-man squad for this match but refused to give further details about the make-up of the final XI. But India coach John Wright confirmed that Rahul Dravid, India's One-day gloveman, would not be keeping during the Tests clearing the way for Ajay Ratra to resume his place behind the stumps.