Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- ~~We will succeed both on and off the field~~

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 20:17 [IST]
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Lahore:India's cricket captain Sourav Ganguly vowed to make his nation's first Test tour of Pakistan in 15 years a successful one, both on and off the field.

"We are here to play well," Ganguly said in an interview, soon after his 15-man squad touched down in this Eastern city for the ice-breaking 40-day tour.

"We want to make friends in Pakistan, but our focus will be to win on the field," he said, brushing aside any security concerns for the team.

"We would not be here if the Government had any worries about our safety."

India begin the tour with a warm-up match in Lahore on Thursday before the first of five One-day Internationals gets underway in the Southern port city of Karachi on Saturday.

"Pakistan is obviously a special tour because we have not played here for a long time. But once the matches start, cricket will be the key and we do not want to finish second-best."

Ganguly said the team was delighted at meeting Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee before the team's departure from New Delhi earlier on Wednesday.

"It's not everyday that we meet the Prime Minister, so it was a very special moment for all of us," the Indian captain said.

"He encouraged us to not only try and win matches, but also win friends. We will do that ... We are ambassadors of our country whenever we travel abroad to play."

Ganguly, a stylish left-hand batsman, said he was not concerned about India's poor track record in Pakistan, where they have not registered a Test win in 20 previous attempts.

India have also not won a Test series outside the subcontinent since beating England in 1986 under Kapil Dev.

"History does not worry me," Ganguly said. "It has been a long time since we played a Test in Pakistan. In fact, Sachin (Tendulkar) is the only one in our team to have played a Test here, in 1989. This is a new set of players, a young team, just like Pakistan have."

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