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WC 2003 - Ganguly trades blow, asks Fleming to wake up

Published: Friday, March 14, 2003, 1:02 [IST]
 
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Centurion: Making a scathing attack on Stephen Fleming ahead of New Zealand's key Super Six game against India on Friday, Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly on Thursday asked his counterpart to wake up to reality and realise the precarious position the Kiwis were in the World Cup.Ganguly took serious exception to Fleming's statement two days back that New Zealand would look to "open up some of India's wounds he opened up in New Zealand"."He can say whatever he wants to. At the end of the day the whole world knows where the two teams stand. That's a reality he has got to accept," Ganguly said."The pressure is on him to win tomorrow and then play the best team in the world (Australia) in the semi-finals."Ganguly reminded Fleming that India had annihilated much better pace attacks than what New Zealand possessed, and there was no point in talking big about Shane Bond and company."Pakistan has a better attack than New Zealand. England has a good attack but we beat them in Durban. There are better attacks and there is no reason why we can't get them (New Zealand pace attack) tomorrow," he said. Ganguly was, however, pleased with New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns' assessment that the Indian pace attack was the best in the competition, at par with the Australians."At least we have one person speaking sensible things. It's good to hear Cairns give respect to opposition. Ganguly said his side was not looking to settle scores against New Zealand but there were plenty of reasons for India to win Fridays game."We are not here to settle scores. We don't want to get into that frame of mind. We just will try to play our game and win every contest."We want to win this game and try out a few things. If New Zealand is beaten tomorrow than Sri Lanka has a chance for the semi-finals. They are a handy side at Port Elizabeth (where they would then face Australia) where the ball has turned a lot."So we have a lot of things to get out of this game. It's not just another game considering we have qualified for the semi-finals," he said."But the pressure is on them (New Zealand). They have to qualify and it is a must-win situation for them."Ganguly acknowledged the fine performance of Bond in the match against Australia but said the wicket here at Centurion Park was good for batting."Anyway he will only have 10 overs to bowl. But he is leading their attack and we would have to play him well. It's a belter of a wicket though and ground is not the biggest so there is always a chance of batsmen scoring quick runs. You get value for your shots here," he said. Ganguly also admitted that he considered Kenya to be an easier opposition than any other team in the semi-finals of the World Cup. "I have to be honest. It is better (for us) than (facing) any other side. But still we would have to play well because they have done well and the luck has also gone their way," Ganguly said."We really, really have to be on top of our game because it's a World Cup semi-finals and we don't want to get surprised."Ganguly felt one of the biggest lesson his side had learnt in this World Cup was to treat every game as a do-or-die match."Every game is like a do-or-die situation and how to raise ourselves in every game is an important aspect we all have learnt on this tour." PTI

Extras:
Kiwis to target Sachin; though he is no sitting duck

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