WC 2003 - Sachins presence is the biggest threat: Cairns
Published: Thursday, March 13, 2003, 21:44 [IST]
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Centurion Park: New Zealand's leading all-rounder Chris Cairns said his side must find a way to stop Sachin Tendulkar if it nurses hopes to stay alive in the World Cup."Sachin has got probably 75 per cent of India's runs, he's the guy we need to stop," Cairns said ahead of their do-or-die Super Six game against India here tomorrow."He is in magnificent form. He's playing some excellent cricket and he looks amazingly hungry," said Cairns, whose figures of 203 runs and two wickets in 2003 World Cup is no reflection on his overall Test figures of 2852 runs and 197 wickets from 55 games and 3866 runs and 156 wickets in 161 One-day Internationals. Cairns said the Kiwis also needed to be careful of India's pace attack, "The way the Indian bowlers have performed, it is on par with the Australians. They have knocked down three or four batsmen within 15 overs in every game".New Zealand might have done itself and some cricket rivals a disservice by trouncing India 5-2 in a Limited Overs series ahead of the World Cup, he quipped."May be the series in New Zealand was a good preparation for matches here. They were exposed to seam, fast bowling. It's the same bowling here but the wickets are better. It may have been a blessing in disguise," the Kiwi all-rounder said."They have improved from just under a dozen games ago in New Zealand when you blokes were writing them off. They have shown a lot of resolve and commitment to come back," he said. Cairns appreciated the excellent work of India's three medium-fast bowlers and said, "India's fifth bowlers have not been exposed yet. That's what we need to try and do. We need to get through those three main pacemen and then try and expose other bowlers." He did not rule out the possibility of India-New Zealand final though Kenya has already occupied the third spot in the semi-final line up. "With Kenya winning yesterday (Wednesday), we will play Australia. But before that, we have to beat India. If we get through, it could be a New Zealand-India final," Cairns said.He said "everything is on line for us. They don't have as much to play for as we do. There would be a lot of hunger in our side". "But we have it in us to pick ourselves. There is still a lot of life left for us in the tournament. This competition is about whole and not just one game." Cairns looked forward to play an important role with both bat and ball on Friday though he is nowhere to bowling 10 overs at his best."It's been difficult for me (not being able to bowl). It hurts me more, mentally, because I enjoy being in the game the whole time. It's been frustrating from that point of view," he said."But I would be looking to bowl on Friday. I'm still a little underdone but it's a confidence thing. A couple of wickets under your belt and it could lift you, push you forward," Cairns said. With dismal bowling performance, Cairns said even his batting might have been affected in this tournament."Without bowling, you may not be as free (in batting). Because you know what you got to do in batting now when you are not able to use your full armoury. Hopefully, I will play full part tomorrow," Cairns said. Cairns likened the situation to the 1999 World Cup in England when New Zealand needed to beat India to qualify for the semi-finals."It's no different than the 1999 World Cup, we had a similar game in Trent Bridge to beat them and get to the semi-finals. We did it and we now need to do it again". PTI