WC 2003 - We must keep our feet on the ground: Coach Wright

Published: Thursday, March 6, 2003, 1:09 [IST]
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Cape Town: Ahead of an easy Super Six clash against Kenya, Indian coach John Wright stressed on the importance of maintaining the winning momentum and asked his team not to lower its guard or under-rate its opponents."We must keep our feet on the ground and prepare as well as we can," said Wright as India came for their first practice session since beating Pakistan in their last league encounter on Saturday."We are still half-way along the road. We have still got steeper pitch to come. We have to realise we are just one of the six teams (competing for the title)," Wright said. "We respect them (Kenya) as an opposition and must guard against complacency." After faltering against Australia, India has steadily improved its performance and scored convincing victories against Zimbabwe, Namibia, England and Pakistan to reach the Super Sixes as the second-placed team in Group A.Wright said it was important that India performed with the same intensity against Kenya too on Friday. "We have Been out of a fairly tough group and each game after Australia has been pressure-type game for us. But Iwould not encourage any difference only because it is Kenya. We must take one game at a time," he said.Wright also recalled that Kenya had beaten India in Port Elizabeth in 2001. "When we last played them we beat them in two games but then they got the better of us in Port Elizabeth, so we have to be careful," he said. Talking about Sachin Tendulkar's phenomenal innings against Pakistan, Wright said his ominous form was a good sign for the team. "The quality of Sachin's innings against Pakistan, I think, even for him, was higher than normal. It was a tremendous piece of batting and from my point of view it was just a privilege to watch it."He has taken advantage of the opening position he likes and he is showing the cricketing public all the nice things you write about him from time to time is true," he said. "It is good for us he is playing in this manner and long may he continue." Wright said Tendulkar would be the key in the game against Kenya also as the team would be looking for him to provide a good start."We would like a good solid start with wickets in hand for the last 15-18 overs. You can accelerate from there but we have to remember Kenya has bowled and fielded very efficiently."Having said that, we have the batters, whether batting first or in the second half, to get the job done. The batsmen must get good starts and then build on it to get big scores," he said.Wright did not think the slow medium pace of Kenyan bowlers would create problems for the free-scoring Indians. "I think we are getting better at rotating the strike. You saw evidence of that against Pakistan with Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj and Mohammad Kaif doing a good job. We are not perfectby any means but we are improving." Wright also drew comfort from the fact that the fifth bowler's quota was handled well in the game against Pakistan. "Ashish Nehra didn't have a great game so from that point of view it was good for our fifth bowlers' quota to go for less than 50 runs," he said.Wright also felt that the disastrous tour of New Zealand proved to be a blessing in disguise for the players who were binding together much better in the World Cup."We had a problem adjusting to conditions in New Zealand. We had a lot of criticism, some justified and some not, but it brought us together," he said. PTI

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