We can win if we play with courage, passion: Ganguly

Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2003, 2:02 [IST]
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Mumbai: Hours before embarking on their journey for the World Cup campaign in South Africa, captain Saurav Ganguly and coach John Wright on Tuesday sought to boost the team morale after the New Zealand debacle, saying they could win the Cup if "they played with courage and passion". "We are pretty confident of doing well. One failure (in New Zealand) should not put the confidence level down," Ganguly told a press conference. He said just one failure should not lower the confidence-level of his team and there was no reason why they could not make an impact at the big stage if the batsmen delivered the goods.

The stylish left-hander said his two specialist spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh will play a major role in India's World Cup campaign while the presence of two left arm seamers Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan will be an "advantage". "Some of the senior players have played in South Africa last year. The top batsmen like Tendulkar and Dravid got the runs, though we did not win the series. We should take advantage of that experience," the Indian skipper said. Wright, who was also present at the press conference, said the team may have lost the winning momentum in New Zealand but it was capable of bouncing back by playing with "courage, common sense and passion".

Wright felt it would be an advantage that many of the players had knowledge of South African conditions but a lot of hard work still required to be done. Ganguly admitted the performance of the batsmen left much to be desired in the recent tour of New Zealand. "Batting is an area in which we need to improve". Asked about his own poor form with the bat, Ganguly said, "I have opened the batting in 200 One-dayers and the failure in New Zealand should not be taken too seriously." "I had scored runs in South Africa last year. With all the seniors getting runs there last time, I am confident that juniors like Mohammed Kaif and Yuvraj Singh will also succeed," he said.

The Indian captain said the batting order, particularly the opening pair, will be decided after taking into account the conditions at the venue. "It is very difficult to predict anything right now. We have to play side matches before the World Cup gets underway. Whoever is in good form, will open the innings." On whether India lacked a genuine all-rounder, he said, "I have a lot of faith in Sanjay Bangar's ability to fit into the role of an all-rounder. I am sure he will do well." Ganguly indicated that vice-captain Rahul Dravid will continue to keep wickets in the World Cup and bat at either number three or five. Dravid, who was also present, said he had no "hang ups" about batting at any position.

"I will bat wherever the team wants me to. The interest of the team comes first. I will follow the management's decision." On criticism about his wicket-keeping in some matches, Dravid said, "Criticism is nothing new. I had been criticised for my batting in the past. It does not affect me whatsoever. I am here to give 100 per cent for the team's cause".

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