We never looked like winning: Ganguly

Published: Sunday, November 14, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly today admitted his team was outplayed by Pakistan who he said batted very well in chasing a huge total of 292 in the commemorative one-day cricket international here.

Ganguly did not think the dew factor was responsible for his team's six-wicket defeat and credited the visitors for their good batting.

"We never looked like winning the game, they took the game away from us," he said.

"There was a bit of dew, it is expected at this time of the year but I think they played better than us," the skipper said as India lost their fourth consecutive match to their archrivals.

Ganguly said his team did well to post a big score and played some "outstanding" cricket but in the end Pakistan "batted very well".

On his team suffering the fourth defeat on the trot to Pakistan, he said, "yes, I am counting. They have beaten us four times in a row, obviously they have been playing better than us."

Ganguly said it was indeed a proud moment for him to lead the side in this Platinum Jubilee match. "I am proud to captain the side on such an important day. I had hoped to finish on the winning side, but that's the way it is."

Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq said 292 was indeed a big total but his boys were determined to do well.

Asked whether he thought 292 was chaseable, he said, "every total is chaseable. 292 was a big total but the boys were determined to do well.

"Shoaib Malik and Salman Butt gave a good start and the team just got going after that," he said.

Inzamam said his vulnerability to the short ball today was due to the fact that he had been suffering from a back problem and had not practised playing the short ball for the last 10-12 days.

Man-of-the-match Salman Butt, who cracked his maiden ODI century braving cramps, said he was told by his seniors to just bat through.

"And that was just is what I did. I did not think about playing shots, I just thought about batting through the end. Inzamam also told me to just stay in there."

Butt said he suffered the cramps because he was on fast.

"The physio told me never to do this again." On his 108-run unbeaten knock, he said, "I could not have asked for anything else. It is a great gift from Allah.

Inzamam said that leg spinner Anil Kumble could have troubled his batsmen more on the Eden Gardens track. "I think Kumble could have troubled us more on this wicket," he said.

The Pakistan captain singled out Butt for special praise, saying that Pakistan had found an opener who could serve the country for long.

"We have found a very good opener in Salman. He could serve Pakistan for a long time," he said.

Indian coach John Wright said the recent defeats have now become a matter of concern and the team would review "the entire thing" and rectify the mistakes.

"We had a good win against Australia (in the Mumbai Test), but we are now back to square one. We have to improve and play really good cricket against South Africa," he said.

Wright felt that 292 was a good total but the Indian bowlers could not perform well.

"We should have defended it. But our bowlers did not bowl well today. Only Zaheer bowled well. But we should give credit to Inzamam and Butt who took the game away from us. They batted very well in a difficult phase of the match. Their shot selection was sensible. Our fielding was also not upto the mark, may be because of the dew factor," he said.

Asked why Kumble was not selected in the team, Wright said "It was decided to play one spinner and so we opted for Harbhajan. On hindsight, Kumble could have been more effective on this track."

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