Warm-up match loss a real wake-up call says Ganguly

Published: Saturday, February 8, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Cape Town: In a frank introspection of India's humiliating loss in its warm-up match, skipper Saurav Ganguly said the batsmen, including himself, had "batted very poorly" and shown little application against the local Natal side. "I was very disappointed at the nature of our dismissals," admitted Ganguly, not sparing even himself as he had dragged an innocuous delivery on to his stumps.

The Indians lost their second and final practice game on Thursday by 32 runs, finishing with 158 to home side's tally of 190 runs, with all the top line batsmen offering little by way of runs. The Indians flew in here on Friday still smarting under the embarrassing loss to Natal Dolphins in its final practice game before the World Cup opens on Saturday. "It was a real wake-up call for the team," said Ganguly. "We batted very poorly against mediocre bowling and even though the pitch was a little bit up and down, I wouldn't blame it for our poor show."

"We just didn't apply ourselves to the task at hand even though the bowlers bowled tightly first up in KwaZulu innings." The Indians used the day in settling down rather than discussing the defeat at length. The team has done all it could do to discuss opponents and devise strategy but somehow on the field of play, runs have not come. Tendulkar departed to an uppish steer; Mohammad Kaif was squared up by a moving delivery; Dinesh Mongia was run-out and Ganguly himself succumbed to his old failing. India did not play Yuvraj Singh and vice-captain Rahul Dravid in the match.

The two had looked in good touch in the first practice game when India had rattled up 265 for 7 in its allotted overs and both the batsmen had scores in the 60s. Coach John Wright also discarded the veneer of diplomacy and tact while describing his team's performance. "It was very disappointing. There is no point in defending anyone or make any excuse. The team should have hit straps in this game. "The batsmen did not understand the need to hang on at the crease. Somebody should have got down to the business of occupying the crease. It clearly was a missed opportunity for our team," Wright said.

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