Batsmen to shed 'conservative approach', says Ganguly

Published: Saturday, February 15, 2003, 2:52 [IST]
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Centurion: Despite the repeated below-par performances of the formidable batting line-up, Indian captain Saurav Ganguly on Friday said his batsmen were under no pressure but admitted they needed to shed their "conservative approach" against Australia in the crucial World Cup Group 'A' match on Saturday. "We were a little more conservative in our approach against Holland. We are much more positive players and we have to stick to our games," said Ganguly as India prepares to take on the Aussies putting behind the mediocre batting performance against minnows Holland on Wednesday.

India batted with extreme care against Holland and was bowled out for 204 inside 50 overs, although the total proved to be enough for its lowly opponent which was dismissed for 136 to lose the tie by 68 buns. "I think we are far more positive players than we batted against Holland. There were not many runs in New Zealand which made the confidence a bid low. But we still need to go out and play our game," Ganguly said. He said it was good for decide to face a tough team like Australia so early in the competition and added the reputation of their rivals would not put additional pressure on the batsmen. "It's good we are playing Australia in the early part of the competition.

Our batsmen need to fire, that goes without saying. But there is no pressure on our batting. "We have just played one game in this competition and I am pretty sure, given the kind of tournament this World Cup is developing, we would strike." Ganguly said the batsmen should put behind their disappointment of New Zealand tour and look forward to emerge successful here. "As a batsman, you could either think of the previous tour or you think of the tour ahead. The wickets here are much firmer and better and I expect the batters to do well," he said. Confirming there would not be any changes in the batting line-up that played against Holland, the Indian captain said he would be opening the innings along with Sachin Tendulkar in Saturday's match.

"We are going with the same 12 in Saturday's game. We can't accommodate Sanjay Bangar. Whatever opportunity he has got, we need him to deliver a bit more either with the bat or with the ball - unfortunately he hasn't." He admitted that feelings could run high Saturday given the competitive nature of the game as there would be pressure on his side to do well. "There would be pressure on us, it's a key game. It could lead to certain things happening on the field at the heat of the moment. We would find that out at the end of the game."

The Indian captain was not worried about the criticism that his batsmen can not handle pace and could find themselves in trouble against a quality Australian bowling attack. "They talk about Indians not playing well. We hold the same opinion about Australian not playing spin very well. It's going to be one of our strengths. We have got two world class spinners and if it starts turning, it would be a keen contest."

Ganguly looked at left-arm unorthodox bowler Brad Hogg's inclusion in the Australian side with interest and said his batsmen would play him on merit. He is obviously not in the same class as (Shane) Warne. He is new to international cricket. We Indians have played spin well over the years but we would look to play him on merit." The skipper termed the wicket for Saturday's game as a good one and felt it would help the batsmen all through. "It looks a good batting wicket, it is bare, it's hard. I didn't see a lot of cracks in it. So it's a good batting wicket."

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