~~Kiwi nightmare won~~t dampen World Cup spirit~~

Published: Friday, January 10, 2003, 17:01 [IST]
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Auckland (New Zealand): India skipper Saurav Ganguly said on Friday his team had not lost confidence going into the World Cup despite having a nightmare tour of New Zealand. "One poor tour is not the end of the world," Ganguly said ahead of Saturday's day- night sixth One-day International, likely to be hit by rain. India tasted just one victory in more than a month on its current tour, but only after having lost both the Test and One-day series. "We still go to South Africa (for next month's World Cup) in a pretty confident frame of mind," said Ganguly, whose team practised indoors at the Eden Park here due to rain. "Every team passes through such a phase. There are ups and downs in every sport, but the important thing is we have to come back strongly and win the remaining two matches. "It was good to post the first win, but we could have done better on the tour." The Indian captain had not lost faith in his batsmen, saying they had struggled only on one tour and were capable of doing better in the World Cup. "It was difficult batting in these conditions (seaming wickets)," said Ganguly. "In fact, batsmen of the both the sides have struggled for runs in One-dayers and Tests. I still think we can do better in South Africa." He praised the New Zealand fast bowlers, especially Shane Bond, for consistently bowling well and playing crucial roles in scripting their team's victories in both Test and One-day series. "I think Bond was the key to their success, though other seamers also bowled well. I admire him because he has the ability to succeed on any surface. His bowling was the main strength of their team." New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming conceded he was concerned over his batsmen's form ahead of the World Cup despite winning the Test and One-day series against the tourists. "Even though we are not losing, we feel we can play better cricket. We are a bit concerned over the form of our top-order batsmen," he said. Fleming said it would be better for his team if India provided a stiff competition in the remaining matches. "Every side will need a good competition heading into the World Cup," he said. "We have to make sure that the guys come out of this series in good form. We don't want India to go into the World Cup with a good feeling (of winning three matches in- a-row)." This is the last One-day series for both India and New Zealand before the World Cup. Fleming said Mathew Sinclair would open the innings in place of Nathan Astle, ruled out of the match due to a knee injury. "He (Sinclair) has got the experience and has done the job before," he said. The teams were involved in a low-scoring first match on Boxing Day here on a drop-in pitch, which was criticised by both Ganguly and Fleming. The hosts struggled to reach 109 for seven in reply to India's 108. The match will be played on a different pitch this time, weather permitting. New Zealand (from): Stephen Fleming (captain), Mathew Sinclair, Lou Vincent, Chris Harris, Chris Cairns, Scott Styris, Brendon McCullum, Andre Adams, Daniel Vettori, Daryl Tuffey, Shane Bond and Kyle Mills. India (from): Saurav Ganguly (captain), Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Mongia, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, Venkatsai Laxman, Sanjay Bangar, Parthiv Patel and Rakesh Patel.

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