Dumbstruck Ganguly has no answers at this point in time

Published: Sunday, February 16, 2003, 3:42 [IST]
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Centurion (South Africa): India skipper Saurav Ganguly was at a loss of words to explain India's pathetic batting performance against Australia on Saturday, saying the nightmarish New Zealand tour was still playing on the minds of his teammates. "The boys have struggled with the bat in the last few months and frankly I can't pinpoint the reason," a clueless Ganguly said. "If we keep batting like this, I don't have any answer to this question."

India was shot out for 125, its lowest total in a World Cup match before Australia raced to its target in less than 23 overs to score an emphatic nine-wicket victory. This was also the eighth time in ten previous matches that India had failed to play its full quota of overs. "I don't know what is the reason because we have worked hard in the nets," a sombre- looking Ganguly said. "But then we have come to the middle and haven't scored runs. "Obviously, the tour to New Zealand is playing a part on the minds of the batters.

They have to individually find out the method to come out of it," he said in a resigned tone. Ganguly looked totally exasperated when asked about his own form and whether he needed to come down in the batting order. "I am going through a phase where I haven't scored runs. But I have scored all my runs at the top of the order, probably more than anybody else during my 200-odd One- dayers," he said. "There is no point in labouring over the batting order issue. One change in the batting order would not affect the team.

Everyone had an opportunity to score runs in this game and none fired," Ganguly said. "The point that is being missed is we haven't scored runs as a team. We need to do that first and think later about the batting order." Ganguly said it was a problem that the batsmen themselves had to sort out. "They have to individually think about their game and see how they could put runs on the board and help the side. They have to sit in their rooms and work out the problems."

The skipper said he had no particular target in mind when he elected to bat against Australia but wanted his batsmen, including himself, to play their natural game. "We need to play our game and it is to play shots. But none of the batters could click." Paying tribute to the Australian team, he said bowling was the key to world champions' success. "They are a great side and they are playing very well. They have a very good bowling attack and that's a point, which is sometimes missed. It is key to their success. Obviously you try to learn from them. They have three quality fast bowlers and it makes them much better than any other side. "That's the difference between them and the rest of the sides."

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