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Tuesday, September 04, 2001

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We were good in patches: Ganguly

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, SEPT. 3. `One job over another ahead' seemed to be the thoughts working in Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly's mind as he summed up the Sri Lankan cricket tour stating, ``we could have done better. We were good only in patches.''

In an informal chat with mediamen at the international airport soon after the team arrived from Colombo on Monday, Ganguly looked unfazed over the poor performance of the Indians in Sri Lanka, having lost both the tri-series and the Test series. ``With injuries to key players, we had to do with whatever was available. International cricket is tough,'' he said without being specific on where things went wrong for the Indian team.

Admitting that he was happy with what the selectors had given him, the skipper said it could be a different exercise in South Africa where as he put it, ``obviously the tracks would be for fast bowlers and this had to be taken into account while deciding on the team.'' Rather than speculate, he preferred to leave it to the selectors to decide what the combination would be to South Africa.

On whether the Indian bowling lacked variety, the skipper said he had a leg spinner (Bahutule) playing. Asked whether umpiring was a point of worry in the recent series, Ganguly was quick to say, ``it is all part of the game, part of life.''

Coach John Wright, who will fly back home in a couple of days for a short holiday, felt that India had needed to put up scores of around 350 to put pressure on the Lankans. In the bowling front the necessity was for more consistency.

Wright thought the pitches were not very conducive for Harbhajan Singh as much as they were for Muralitharan, who is a wrist spinner, and a classy one at that. Still he was happy with Harbhajan's progress. Sri Lanka had the advantage of having Murali tying up one end and two or three bowlers to give him support at the other. He felt Bahutule was unlucky not to have made a greater impact.

Another point that Wright reflected was the fitness level of the Sri Lankans. ``The five year fitness programme they have is showing the results for the Lankans, the boys are all so strong. We have to think on the lines of a long term fitness programme,'' he said.

At the already crowded airport premises, there did not seem any extraordinary bustle at the arrival point, barring the TV cameramen of various channels vying with each other for vantage point. The mood among the players was, naturally, to get back home at the earliest, catch some rest before getting ready for the next task.

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Section  : Sport
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