WC 2003 - ~~India-Australia final speculation is premature~~

Published: Sunday, March 16, 2003, 23:48 [IST]
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Durban: Javagal Srinath said there would be no complacency in the Indian team when it clashes with rank outsiders Kenya in the World Cup semi-final at Kinsgmead on Thursday."The Kenyans are a good side," the veteran paceman said on Sunday. It is a do-or-die situation for us and Kenya caused us a hiccup when we played it in Cape Town."India won the March 7 Super Six encounter at Newlands by six wickets but was wobbling until an unbroken stand between captain Saurav Ganguly (107 not out) and Yuvraj Singh (58 not out) saw them home.Kenya also gave a gutsy account of itself against reigning champion Australia - which faces Sri Lanka in Tuesday's semi-final at Port Elizabeth - in their five-wicket defeat on Saturday.Srinath, who watched that match on television, said the speculation about an Australia v India final was premature. "We're not talking about that. We just want to concentrate on the semi-final," he said.Srinath, 33, has been a revelation since being brought out of international retirement for the World Cup. So far he has taken 15 wickets. But, for the first time in his international career, he has had high-class pace support in the shape of young left-armers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra."I've been back three months and it's been going well so I can't complain. But the guys (Zaheer and Nehra) are the best thing to happen to the Indian side. I hope they both have long futures playing for India."Srinath added the key to the trio's success - they have taken 43 wickets at this World Cup between them - was their accuracy. "The pitches here are conducive to pace bowling. There is a bit of bounce. But it's line and length that gets you wickets in One-day Internationals."India has grown in confidence as a unit during the tournament, its togetherness reflected by the team huddles that follow every time it takes a wicket.Srinath said that was a reflection of their careful preparation. "When you've got a plan and it's successful then everybody's delighted." Zaheer and Nehra were not the only youngsters to earn praise from Srinath.He said the performance of rising middle-order stars Yuvraj and Mohammed Kaif, as well as solid contributions from other batsmen, had eased the pressure on Sachin Tendulkar.During the World Cup, master batsman Tendulkar has already broken his record for most runs at the tournament with 586 at an average of 65.11 ahead of Thursday's match."Sachin is, of course, a key player for us," Srinath said. "There's been a lot of pressure on him over the years. But he can now bat in a better frame of mind knowing there are other people who can do the job." Copyright AFP 2001

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