It's advantage India says Ganguly

Published: Thursday, August 14, 2003, 21:10 [IST]
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Bangalore: Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly said on Thursday his team has the home advantage against New Zealand in the upcoming series and hopes to do well. "We lost to them in New Zealand. We beat them in the World Cup. Obviously, it's going to be an important series and we have the advantage of playing at home. We hope to do well," Ganguly told reporters here. He said the 13-day conditioning camp for 36 probables that began here on Thursday would focus on fitness. "It's more to do with fitness work rather than cricket work for the next two weeks." "We will be concentrating on fitness, and I hope that by the end of the camp we will be much more fitter," he said.

"Fitness of the team players has improved immensely in the last one year and we hope to keep on improving." Asked about the poor stint of Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif in English county cricket, Ganguly jumped to their defence. "County cricket is not easy...with the amount of cricket you play day in and day out...you almost play six days a week in a span of six months. It's a good learning process. They will definitely come out as better players after six months of county cricket," he said. Ganguly said the six-month break after the World Cup in South Africa was a "very good thing" for the team as it offered a great opportunity for the players to take their minds off the game.

To a question, he indicated that he does not believe the newly recruited physical trainer Gregory King will have any problems in his job with the team. "I don't think he should have any problem. Whatever little bit I have spoken to him (King), I think he knows what he is talking about. I am really looking forward to working with him for the time he is with us," Ganguly said. He disagreed that the Indian team has been playing fewer Test matches in the last two years.

"We played 16 Test matches last year, and 15 Test matches the year before. We played a good number of Test matches in the last two years." Ganguly said he does not believe the number of probables at 36 is huge, saying it would give an opportunity for coach John Wright, physio Andrew Leipus and King regarding the back-up strength of Indian cricket. On team selection and ground conditions for the upcoming series, he said it's too early to talk about it.

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