India is a strong contender for WC: Hirwani

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Bhopal:Narendra Hirwani may well have hung up his cricketing boots but the former retired leggie is still upset at former India skipper Sourav Ganguly reneging on a ''promise''.

''Ganguly had promised me a Test berth but'' rued the former spinner who broke into the scene claiming a record-equalling 16 wickets in his debut Test against West Indies.

Recalling Australia's tour of the country in 2001, the Indore-based spinner said he was trying to make a comeback but it did not happen in the end.

''Prior to announcement of the team for the first Test, Ganguly assured me that I would play in all three Tests. At that juncture, my performance in first-class matches made me hopeful of a return. The then coach John Wright also spoke of a berth, but it was not to be,'' he told .

''I heard people raised doubts regarding my fitness. Pointing fingers at the fitness of a player, who has 750 first-class wickets to his credit, was nothing but a lame excuse,'' he alleged.

Hirwani is glad that coach Greg Chappell and captain Rahul Dravid are experimenting and providing ample opportunities for the budding talents.

Hirwani described Dravid as a humble cricketer, who is always open to suggestions.

On India's World Cup chances, he said the team was a strong contender with its consistent performance in the one-dayers.

''Virender Sehwag may prove a match-winning player in the World Cup and the team has world-class spinners in Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble,'' he added.

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