Thursday, Dec 04, 2003
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"There's been lot of talk about this Test, and about myself, but the important message is that cricket is bigger than any individual."
"It's my last series but there're more important issues. The response has been overwhelming, very positive, but now it's time for cricket,'' said a modest Waugh.
"It's important to win in Australia. We've improved our overseas record but this match, and the series, will be a test of our abilities. I know if we do well here we would take our cricket to a higher level,'' admitted Ganguly.
The Australian skipper would want the series to be played in the right spirit. "I expect both of us (the captains) to walk to the middle together for the toss as mark of respect for each other and tradition,'' Waugh was candid.
"It's a special series I know and it coincides with Steve's retirement. I have very high regards for him as a cricketer and the state of the present Australian team is a credit to his leadership,'' Ganguly was generous in his praise.
Reflecting on the 2001 series in India, when Australia lost 1-2, Waugh said "it doesn't rank or pain. It was a great Test series and I was happy to be part of that. We gave it everything. But ten seconds after the series I forgot it.''
Ganguly admitted that series was a great motivation but the current one was significant too.
"We've won Tests overseas, and one-day series too, but we shall find out how good we are at the end of this series. The composition of the team makes a difference and Zaheer (Khan) and Ashish (Nehra) give us hope.''
Ganguly noted it was a good pitch, with pace and a bit of a bounce, but "it'll depend on how well we play on all the five days. The toss would be important but not everything would depend on it.''
The India skipper was at his best when replying to a query on Shane Warne's comment that Ganguly was weak against the short ball. "That's how the Aussies do it, by using the media. We'll see the short ball when it comes. Even Steve Waugh had problems with the short ball but he's got 32 Test centuries. I don't read the newspapers in any case because the hotel people don't give me any.'' Our Special Correspondent
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