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Ganguly praises Chopra, Balaji

HOBART DEC. 21. Sourav Ganguly was all praise for Akash Chopra for the way he has shaped up in the two Tests at Brisbane and Adelaide and L. Balaji for his excellent spells in the drawn encounter against Australia `A' at the Bellerive Oval here.

The India skipper pointed out that there were a few gains from this match. "Balaji's bowling and the batting of (Deep) Dasgupta and Chopra. I thought Balaji bowled well and that gives us a fast bowling option. This is the best I've seen him bowl in this series. As for Chopra, he's been doing a good job. He gave us good starts in Adelaide and in Brisbane in the first Test. One of the key things in Australia is to see the new ball through and he does help in taking the shine off the ball. I'm sure he will convert his good starts into big knocks.''

In a surprising turnaround, Ganguly certified Australia the number one team in the world. Only the other day he had said that India stood a chance to be the number one team if it won the current Test series against Australia.

"I was misunderstood when I said we wanted to be at the top. I did not say India was number one. The number one team is Australia," Ganguly clarified. "Australia has had phenomenal success in the last few years. They won 16 Tests in a row and won the World Cup without losing one match," said Ganguly.

"You've to give us credit. If any side has competed well against Australia, it is India. And that's a good sign for us. We're a young side with lot of careers starting in this team. We should be getting to a stage where we can be termed as a very strong side,'' said Ganguly.

"As a young team we want to be close to what Australia has done. But we also know it requires consistency. You can win a game but winning 16 Tests in a row and 11 one-dayers in succession is something different. We have the ingredients and that's what we hope to become. I'm not stupid enough to say we are the number one side in the world. If people read between the lines, I can't help it," he said in an obvious reference to a remark by Ricky Ponting that one Test win did not make India the best team in the world. — Our Special Correspondent

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