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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Struggling India batsmen seek Dutch courage

N Ananthanarayanan | February 10, 2003 18:42 IST

India's much-vaunted batsmen will get an opportunity to find form when they face the Netherlands in their opening World Cup Group A game on Wednesday.

India enjoyed a good run in 2002, chasing a massive 326 to beat hosts England in a triangular series final and sharing the Champions Trophy, but none of the major batsmen except Virender Sehwag go into the tournament with form.

"We all have to fire," captain Saurav Ganguly told Reuters. "Every game is important."

Recent Test and one-day defeats on seaming pitches in New Zealand -- they were twice dismissed for 108 on the way to a crushing 5-2 one-day series defeat -- have left the Indians under pressure to qualify from a tough group including 1999 finalists Australia and Pakistan.

India's batting problems were evident in last week's warm-up defeat by South African provincial side KwaZulu Natal, with Rahul Dravid, Ganguly, Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif all falling cheaply.

"As a team we have to look at the positives, the good things we have done last year," Ganguly said. "New Zealand has been our only poor performance."

EXPLOSIVE OPENER

Explosive opener Sehwag made runs in New Zealand, where he was the only batsman from either side to reach triple figures with two centuries, but India's main hopes rest once again with Sachin Tendulkar.

Tendulkar, who holds the record for most one-day centuries (33) and aggregate runs (11,546), needs just 25 runs to overtake Pakistan's Javed Miandad as the highest run-scorer in World Cup history.

The 29-year-old, playing in his fourth World Cup, has scored 1,059 runs in 22 matches at an average of 58.83, second only to West Indian Viv Richards in the all-time list for the tournament.

Tendulkar, however, managed only two runs in three one-day games in New Zealand after missing the previous 11 matches through injury.

Despite their renowned inconsistency abroad, the Indian bowlers are in upbeat mood going into the tournament.

Experienced seamer Javagal Srinath, who is playing in his fourth World Cup, needs one wicket to become only the fifth bowler to pass 300 in one-day internationals, and leg spinner Anil Kumble is also in confident mood.

"Hundred percent, spinners will do well here," he said.

The Netherlands, who also took part in the 1996 World Cup, are well aware of the size of the task facing them.

"It is going to be extremely difficult," said Dutch captain Roland Lefebvre. "We don't want to be annihilated by the top countries. We want to go home with a win, hopefully against Namibia, which is the closest we can get to."

 

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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Number of User Comments: 2




Sub: Such bad reporting!

Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh did not even play in that second warm up game against KZN which India lost. Who writes these reports for ...


Posted by Mike Nouston





Sub: ?!!

It is pity that most of the reporters don't even know that Dravid and Yuvraj did not play in the warmup match that India lost. ...


Posted by Ramanathan




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