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WC 2003 - I back ourselves to win, batting's looking good: Ganguly

Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2003, 9:25 [IST]
 
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Durban: Indian captain Saurav Ganguly expects a tough contest against England when the teams meet in a key World Cup match under the Kingsmead lights on Wednesday.Nasser Hussain's men surprised many pundits with a 112-run thrashing of Pakistan at Cape Town on Saturday.And Ganguly admitted, "We watched the England-Pakistan game on TV and thought England played really well."But the Indian captain, who made an unbeaten 112 against Namibia on Sunday as Sachin Tendulkar hit 152, insisted he had full confidence in his side."I back ourselves to win," he said. "The batting appears to be looking good, but we have to get a really good score to win."Although England performed well in the day-nighter against Pakistan, it was handed what appeared to be a key break when Hussain won the toss and decided to bat first.Evidence suggests that teams who bowl second under floodlights in South Africa are at a significant advantage as the early evening dew and increasingly heavy atmosphere assist movement in the air.But Ganguly maintained Wednesday's match would not be decided by the spin of a coin. He said, "I don't believe tosses make a difference. The important thing is to play well."However, coach John Wright admitted the anticipated conditions were causing him a selection problem over whether to recall leg spinner Anil Kumble. India's highest wicket-taker in One-day Internationals has not played in his side's last two games with off spinner Harbhajan Singh chosen as the lone specialist slow bowler.Wright, the former New Zealand batsman, said, "It is always a tough decision. You have to look at the balance of the team and, if you decide to go with one spinner, which one do you go with?"India also has a doubt about Ashish Nehra, following the sprained ankle he sustained against Namibia. Wright said he hopes to have a better idea of the left-arm seamer's fitness on Tuesday.When the two sides met last, during September's Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka, India won by eight wickets after Ganguly and Virender Sehwag hit centuries.Ganguly, however, was unconcerned by history."What happened in the past is not important. It only shows we have beaten England and we can do it again."Meanwhile, England paceman Andrew Caddick was not overawed by the challenge ahead."India have been batting well but against the weaker sides," said the Somerset quick, clearly more impressed by India's collapse to 125 against world champions Australia than its run-fest against Namibia.And Namibian coach Dougie Brown was confident Hussain's attack could do the job."England has just got to bowl straight," Brown, a former England One-day International, told."And with the form they're in, especially James Anderson (who took 4 for 29 against Pakistan), that should not be a problem."India do tend to struggle when the ball goes round in the air as it does at Durban."England, though, have a couple of injured batsmen to worry about. Hospital scans on Michael Vaughan's strained right calf on Monday were clear but the Yorkshire star has had serious calf problems before.And Madras-born Hussain has been suffering with a stiff neck although both he and Vaughan are expected to be fit.Another factor in Wednesday's match could be the crowd. Durban has a huge Indian population of its own and thousands of fans have been flying in from the sub-continent as well, turning the fixture into a 'home' match for Ganguly's men.However, Indian crowds can turn on their heroes if they are under- performing. Whether they inspire or intimidate either side remains to be seen.Copyright AFP 2001

Extras:
India can dominate the likes of Anderson: Wright
Indians are a big threat, strong in batting: Caddick
Scan on Vaughan's injured calf reveals no major damage
Eng double trouble: Vaughan injury, Trescothick form
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