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|'It was the best ever Indian team to tour Australia'|
Tuesday, February 10 2004 13:55 Hrs (IST)
"It was an outstanding series despite loss in the finals of tri-series", Ganguly, who reached Kolkata on Tuesday morning after the arduous tour of Australia, told newsmen at the airport.
Ganguly claimed, "it was the best ever Indian team to tour Australia. Nobody had dominated the Test series in the past as we did."
To a query to the debacle in the finals, the Indian skipper attributed it to the injury factor, which robbed India, the services of two of their best bowlers. "It is the injury factor.... we did not get the services of two of our best bowlers," Ganguly said.
When asked whether injuries were responsible for the team's bad performance towards the end of the long series, Ganguly said, "yes, the injury factor did hamper our performance in the One-dayers. We missed a few key players but we played to the best of our capabilities."
The Indian captain, however, complimented the Australian team for their convincing win in the VB Series finals saying, "I must say that in the finals we were beaten by a superior side which outplayed us."
To a query whether the tight schedule of the long tour had anything to do with the performance, he said, "it was a long tour but we knew about it in advance. The itinerary was not a problem, it was pre-planned."
Ganguly said that the Indian team gained a lot from the tour as a number of youngsters like rookie pacers Irfan Pathan and Laxmipathy Balaji emerged from the series. "They (Pathan and Balaji) bowled very well but conceded too many runs apparently due to their inexperience," Ganguly said.
Asked about reports that he had expressed security concerns for the forthcoming Pakistan tour, the Indian skipper avoided any clear cut answer saying the matter would be decided on the basis of a report by a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), delegation to Pakistan.
"A delegation has gone to see security arrangements. We have to wait and see what is its report. It is too early to comment on the issue," Ganguly said. A three-member BCCI delegation headed by joint secretary Ratnakar Shetty is currently in Pakistan to oversee the security arrangements at all the venues.
Ganguly at the receiving end of sledging