Tuesday, Oct 07, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
India's pace bowlers L. Balaji and Avishkar Salvi are seen sharing thoughts at the team's practice session at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday. Photo: Vivek Bendre
"In Akash's case, he is in good form and has earned that opportunity with two good scores (103 not out and 66) against the tourists. Balaji had a very good Irani Cup match. Salvi took wickets in Sri Lanka, particularly in the last two games.
When young players come in, it is tough on the ones that have to go out,'' said India coach John Wright after the team's second work out here on Monday.
Wright described the conditions as `not too bad'. "Yesterday was hot, hard conditions, but we are used to it. It's actually pleasant today. The wicket looks a good strip. That's handled by the BCCI's pitch representatives. Both sides will probably bat if they win the toss. We had a good Test match here last time,'' said Wright.
With excellent net facilities there were five nets outside the ground, every batsman and bowler got an opportunity to bat. Skipper Sourav Ganguly faced Salvi and Balaji for fifteen minutes before asking the net bowlers to bowl at him to give Balaji and Salvi rest in between. "They will be tired'' he told Wright.
The main batsmen tried their hands at bowling too. "It's a formula that's worked for us in India, and particularly in my tenure. I feel that we have a tremendous opportunity to use people like Sourav, Sehwag and Sachin, perhaps bring them more into the game. I encourage them to bowl as much in the nets as possible. I think Tendulkar can be a match-winner with the ball. He bowled a fantastic spell in one of the Challenger matches. I have seen him play a big part in winning one of the Test matches against Australia in Kolkata. Sehwag is capable of bowling 12-15 overs in a Test match, he has got a lot of ability. And the captain is fitter and faster,'' said the coach.
Wright was quite diplomatic while commenting on the pitch. "At the end of the day, you play on what is given to you. Generally when we have good Test matches, we start on good wickets. It favours the batters for three and a half to four days and then it starts to turn. That's the way wickets appear to be. I think Indian wickets have produced some tremendous Test matches over the years and you can go back two years to perhaps the Australian series. We have seen some great and close games of cricket.''
Reacting to New Zealand's preparation he said: "In this day and age, we have also been preparing. Every team has plans for the other. That actually hasn't changed too much over the years. I suppose the equipment these days allow you to do it in quicker time, but planning for different teams and players has been going on for years and will continue to happen. We have our plans. It's all very well having plans, but execution is the key.
"We have done our home work and the thing about us is we want to play good cricket. The wicket at Rajkot had a lot more carry. They bowled a lot of short deliveries, middle and off line and had an extra man on on-side. That particular field depends on the wicket you are playing on and the players you are playing against.''
"We are looking forward to the series and want to play good cricket. That is the bottom line. We know that we are a competitive side. We want to play attractive, entertaining and good cricket.. The boys have had a break and are very keen. Three Indian battsmen (Chopra, Ramesh and Badani) have made hundreds against this team. When you ask coaches and captains these days, they always say something positive. That's what we are expected to say'' said Wright reacting to some of the statements coming from the New Zealand camp.
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