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Winning the Test series is important: Ganguly
November 27, 2004 17:49 IST
India are determined to win their first home Test series in two years with captain Sourav Ganguly promising to force a result in their favour in the second cricket Test against South Africa.
Ganguly said a lifeless pitch at Kanpur was responsible for the drawn first Test but his team was aware of the importance of this match, which would be played on what he felt was a "result oriented" track.
"It's a very important match for us. Winning the Test series is very important, obviously, we will go all out to force a result," Ganguly said at the pre-match press conference in Kolkata.
The Indian skipper said the track seemed more bouncy than the one at Green Park.
"It looks to be a result-oriented wicket".
Ganguly also countered South African coach Ray Jennings' contention that pressure would be on India because of its favourites tag and expectations of the home crowd.
"Every side plays to win. I am sure that they also want to win as much as we do. So, the pressure will be on both the teams," said the Indian skipper, who was cleared to play the match after the ICC upheld his appeal against the two-match suspension.
Ganguly said he was "scared" as he waited to know the outcome of the appeal.
"I missed four out of the seven Tests played by India this year due to injury. Missing another Test would have been very bad".
Ganguly said it was just a "coincidence" that there was a climate of uncertainty over his availability during each of the last three big matches at the Eden.
Ganguly had to opt out of the TVS cup tri-series final against Australia last year because of an injury. Prior to the Platinum Jubilee match against Pakistan recently, he carried a groin problem and had to clear a fitness test to gain entry into the side. The storm over the slow over-rate issue blew over only on Friday.
"I'm happy that I managed to play against Pakistan. But I was not really scared before that match. However, this one (the recent two-Test ban) was a scare for me," he said.
"The decision was not in my control. But it (the upholding of the appeal) gave me a lot of relief," he said.
The Indian captain said he was also looking forward to getting his maiden hundred at the Eden.
"I approach a Test match anywhere in the same manner. It's a coincidence that I have so far not managed a hundred at Eden. I hope to get it soon."
Echoing coach John Wright, Ganguly said the team management was considering fielding two pacers, but the final decision would be taken only before the match.
"Two seamers is definitely a proposition," he said.
Ganguly lavishly praised the new opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir who had stitched together a rollicking 218-run partnership at Kanpur.
"Sehwag has been successful the world over. Gambhir played in only his second Test at Kanpur. He had a good match and showed a lot of promise. I hope they carry on in the same manner here," he said.
Ganguly also denied the suggestion that the toss would be important in determining the result of the match.
He also said the middle order, which has faltered repeatedly in recent times, was improving.
"Rahul Dravid played well in the last game. V V S Laxman also had a good knock in the Mumbai Test against Australia".
He reminded that Eden had been a lucky ground for Laxman, who scripted an epic 281 against Australia in 2001 to turn the match in India's favour.
"He only has to get his act together."
Ganguly said it was too early to make a judgment on young wicket keeper Dinesh Kaarthick.
"He has played only two Tests. He is only a 19-year-old chap. You have to give him time."
He also had a word of praise for the South Africa team, saying it had quality cricketers like Shaun Pollock and Jacques Kallis and competed well in Kanpur.
Brushing aside a question on his form, Ganguly said he has had a good average during the last one year.
"I missed a number of Tests this year. If you look at my statistics you will get an answer," he said.
Asked why the public perception continued to be that he was out of form, Ganguly shot back "the public is not aware of the statistics".