WC 2003 - India searching for weak links in Australia

Published: Sunday, February 23, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: The Indian team has gone on an overdrive to look for chinks in Australia's armoury before the 2003 World Cup final at the Wanderers on Sunday.Coach John Wright and captain Saurav Ganguly have flushed out Australia's performance against New Zealand in the Super Six stage to see what made the batting of world champions collapse to an extent to have it reeling at 84 for 7 at one stage.The Indian team also went farther than this present World Cup in its quest to prepare itself for the final by taking out two more videos of Australia's performance during the VB series Down Under before the present competition.The Indians have looked with interest on the areas where to bowl to Australia's top order batsmen on Sunday.Adam Gilchrist, for instance, is seen as a very powerful puller and cutter and Indian medium-pace trio of Javagal Srinath, Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan will try to pitch it up and try and make the left-handed batsman attempt the drives.Similarly, Matthew Hayden is an extremely effective puller of anything short-pitched and the key would again be to make him drive at all times.The Indians have scratched their head to work out a method against Brett Lee whose pace is seen as an important weapon to rattle the rivals by the Australians. Ganguly said vice-captain Rahul Dravid was recovering well from his finger injury and in most likelyhood would play on Sunday. "Rahul Dravid's sore finger is recovering well and he should be fit for the game on Sunday," he said.Dravid hurt his finger during the semi-finals against Kenya in Durban earlier this week. Virtually ruling out the possibility of veteran leg spinner Anil Kumble playing Sundays game, Ganguly said he was not contemplating any change in the team."The way our fast bowlers have bowled, it's difficult for us to leave any of our fast bowlers out of the XI."He also did not see any reason to reshuffle the batting order until the situation demanded otherwise."I don't see a change in the batting-order because we have stuck to a formula and it's paying," he said.Remembering India's only World Cup triumph in 1983, Ganguly said most of the players had vivid memories of that win and felt inspired by the heroic performance of the Kapil Dev-led team."It definitely meant a lot in India after the 1983 World Cup. I remember to have watched the match as a 10-year-old and remember everything of it. There is no doubt it brought great interest in the game," he said. Ganguly also paid tributes to the Australian side, saying it had raised the standards of competition. "They have played well to be where they are at the moment and there is no point for other teams to crib about. In a way, it should help teams to perform better and improve the standards of world cricket." PTI

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