~~We are hungry to give what the country wants~~

Published: Thursday, February 17, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Lucknow:Indian team's coach John Wright on Thursday predicted "a very tough" contest on cards against Pakistan but said his team was hungry to give the result the country wanted.

"We are under no illusion. There is a lot at stake and a lot of pressure. We expect it to be a very tough series," Wright said at the K D Singh Babu Stadium during the Duleep Trophy match between the West Zone and North.

"We would not underestimate Pakistan, although we had defeated them on their own ground," he said.

The New Zealander, whose contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is ending this year, said the team was hungryto give the result the country wanted.

"History shows that India-Pak matches are tough. We are hungry to give the result the country wants," Wright said.

He also refused to attach much importance to the possible omission of controversial pacer Shoaib Akhtar from the Pakistan squad and said "to include someone is their (Pak) decision.

"Whatever eleven they pick we will concentrate on achieving what we want. We don't mind who they pick. We will play to our potential," he said.

Asked about India's possible playing eleven for the Test series, Wright said "you (media) would have to ask Kiran More for that."

However, he said he was impressed by the performance of West Zone opener Wasim Jaffer.

Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir had also done well against South Africa he said while praising Parthiv Patel for "coming back to form".

"Parthiv has performed well. He is young and making a lot of effort to come back to the Test side," Wright said.

On the available choices to do duty behind the stumps, Wright said Dinesh Kaarthick, Parthiv and M S Dhoni all had the potential and they were fighting to get a place in the final eleven.

"Kaarthick fared well against Bangladesh. Perhaps he would get a chance to play in the Indo-Pak series," Wright said.

When pointed out that Pakistan cricketers would be coming battle-hardened from Australia, the coach said, "we would have to match them, particularly for the first two days or so when there would be a lot of pressure".

On injuries to the pacemen, Wright said he hoped that Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar and Laxmipathy Balaji would be playing in the Duleep Trophy match beginning in Hyderabad on February 27.

"We had hoped that Pathan would play here (in the West-North match). Agarkar too needs some attention," he said.

"In the end they have to play the match and bowl a 20-over spell. Fast bowling is a demanding occupation. We will speak to Kiran More in this regard," he said.

On the performance of star players in the match in Lucknow, he said all of them barring one or two were playing well.

"Yuvraj is batting well. He looks to be in good touch," he said adding that "we would have liked the match to go on for four days but some of the shot selection by the players were not appropriate. Application is what we require for the upcoming Indo-Pak series".

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