Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Kumble and Agarkar will be missed: Ganguly

Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2004, 21:07 [IST]
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Kolkata:Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly said that the 15-member Indian team chosen for the coming One-day engagements in Pakistan was the best available in the country, but conceded that the absence of leggie Anil Kumble and pacer Ajit Agarkar would be felt.

''Both of them are outstanding players... among the best in the world... so their absence will be felt,'' Ganguly said about the injured duo who are ruled out of the five-match One-day series beginning in Karachi from March 13.

''But what can be done? Both of them are injured. And there is too short a gap between our recent tour to Australia and coming engagement in Pakistan for them to recover in time,'' Ganguly told newspersons after a gym session. He hoped that both the players would be fit before the three-Test series, which would follow the One-dayers.

''But the side that has been picked up comprises the best in the country now,'' he said. Ganguly also expressed his sympathies for left-hand batsman Rohan Gavaskar and young medium pacer Amit Bhandari saying that they were 'unlucky' to have missed out on the Pakistan trip.

''Both of them played very well in Australia. Bad luck they couldn't make it to Pakistan. But we can accommodate only 15 players. And the best have been picked,'' he said.

The Indian captain welcomed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decision to rope in Kapil Dev for training and monitoring of pace bowlers, but said he was not sure how much of a difference the bowling legend would make during the short duration conditioning camp scheduled to last only three days from March 7 in Kolkata.

''He can give ideas to our pacers during the 3-day camp. But I don't think he will be able to bring about major changes,'' he said.

Ganguly said in the same breath that Kapil's presence would benefit promising Indian bowlers in the long run. ''I understand that the BCCI is planning to set up a fast bowling clinic. And I feel that our bowlers, particularly the upcoming ones, can benefit a lot from Kapil's guidance around the year,'' he said.

Ganguly also hoped that seamer Ashish Nehra would be able to prove his match fitness in the Duleep Trophy final which the BCCI has advised him to play. He said in case Nehra was not able to make the tour, Bhandari would be included in the team.

Asked to name one Pakistan player who according to him had the ability to make a difference between the two sides, Ganguly said ''Both India and Pakistan are good sides. And an individual cannot make much of a difference''.

Ganguly also refused to comment on his name featuring on International Cricket Council (ICC) blacklist for having violated its code of conduct. ''I've nothing to say on this. Its an ICC matter'' he said.

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