Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Ganguly confident of winning series in Pak

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 18:30 [IST]
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Kolkata:Indian captain Sourav Ganguly said India would win both the One-day International and Test series in Pakistan who will be under pressure because of playing at home.

"We will change all that," Ganguly told reporters when reminded that India had never won a Test match on Pakistan soil.

The Indian skipper said it was a good sign for Indian cricket that his team was going there as favourites and felt that his players would be under no additional pressure. "International cricket is all about pressure whether you are playing Australia or Pakistan," he said.

Ganguly said Pakistan's bowling spearhead Shoaib Akhtar would also feel the pressure of leading the attack. "He is a good bowler. He has the pace but leading the Pakistan attack would be a different ball game."

Ganguly said Sachin Tendulkar just had a stiff back and it was not something to be worried about. "He only has a stiff back, it is just like having a stiff neck. It is not an injury," the Indian skipper said.

He said leg-spinner Anil Kumble's absence in the One-dayers would be felt but it was also a good opportunity for the other players to prove their worth. Coach John Wright said it was a great chance for his team to record history in Pakistan.

"The team has started to come together as a real force in recent times. Playing away from home is also an advantage as the pressure would be on the home team," Wright said. The coach said the brief preparatory camp had been useful and the team was now looking to take up the challenge of touring Pakistan.

"All the boys are looking forward to the tour. We have got nothing to lose and everything to gain from this series." Wright also promised to play "good, hard cricket" in Pakistan. "We have not played the last few One-dayers well but we have struggled only against Australia... We want to maintain the consistency."

On the importance of the Indian team's first full-fledged tour of Pakistan in 15 years, Ganguly said although the team always goes as an ambassador of the country whether it is South Africa or Australia, Pakistan was "of course a bit different."

"It is a big series because a tour of Pakistan is looked at differently". Ganguly expressed satisfaction over the three-day conditioning camp saying it was basically meant to be a get-together of the players before a big series following a break of four weeks.

The Indian captain said the Pakistan tour was a very good opportunity for bowlers like Murali Karthik and Ramesh Powar to prove themselves. "But is also a challenge for me how to handle them," he added.

When asked whether the Indian attack would be weakened due to the absence of Anil Kumble and Harbahjan Singh, he said, "it depends on how you look at the strength and weaknesses. If you think sheer pace is the strength then we are behind, but if you think it is important to contain batsmen and win then that is our strength".

Wright said the players realised well the importance of winning in Pakistan. "Indian players know that they are one step away from history if they a win a series in Pakistan," he said.

"Indians have been playing good cricket recently. We have now become the second best team in the limited version of the game. We hope to play well in Pakistan."

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