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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > PTI > Report

Players had an off day, says Ganguly

March 25, 2003 17:24 IST

Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday rejected criticism that his decision to bowl first in the final against Australia cost India the World Cup and said the players had an "off day" in the crucial match.

"There was dampness on the pitch and I knew there was something for the seam bowlers," Ganguly told reporters on arrival in Mumbai from Johannesburg with most of his team. "We had one off day which shattered our dreams of winning the World Cup."

Ganguly was combative in his replies to other questions, including his own batting form. He said the team had played well in the tournament and he was already looking forward to India's next engagements. "We will have to leave the disappointment behind and concentrate on the triangular series in Bangladesh from April 10 as there is always a next time to win the cup," he remarked.

India, who made it to the World Cup final after a gap of 20 years, was defeated by 125 runs by Australia after Ganguly elected to field on winning the toss. Despite the loss, the team was given a warm reception at the airport. Thousands of fans waited since early morning to welcome the team which won nine of its 11 matches in the tournament. Both its losses came against Australia.

Ganguly said a specialist fifth bowler in the team could not have altered the result of the final. "I don't think we missed the fifth bowler," he said. "Dinesh Mongia, who was used as the fifth bowler, was the most economical bowler in the final. In fact, throughout the tournament our part-time bowlers kept the run rate in check, which was quite good."

Asked how he felt on regaining his own batting form, he shot back, "I have scored 9,000-plus runs in one-day cricket and I don't have to keep proving myself as a batsman." Ganguly emerged the second highest scorer in the tournament, behind Sachin Tendulkar, amassing 465 runs with three centuries, the maximum in one World Cup.

The captain praised his three fast bowlers, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra, despite their ordinary performance in the final. He was particularly happy with Srinath who came out of brief retirement and bowled superbly
to finish with 16 wickets. "I wanted him to play in the World Cup as I knew he could contribute with his experience. He did not let me down," he said.

Ganguly said it was now up to Srinath to decide whether he wanted to continue in international cricket. "I think it should be his decision," he said. "It is his career and his life and let him decide about it."

Vice-captain Rahul Dravid, Srinath, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif did not return with the rest of the team. They are expected to arrive in the evening.

The entire team was earlier scheduled to arrive on Tuesday night, but last-minute changes in plan saw it board a chartered flight which got delayed by about two and a half hours.

PTI

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Number of User Comments: 64




Sub: RE:For God's sake, it was a WC finals !

Dear Mr.Anshuman, if you go thru' all the posted messages, you will realize that I am not alone in being critical of the deeds of ...


Posted by s bala





Sub: RE:Sack Tendulkar from the team.

O.K. Mr. Ritesh, we'll ask BCCI to sack Sachin from the team and take you. Are you happy now?


Posted by abc





Sub: RE:For God's sake, it was a WC finals !

I think it is people like you, Mr. Bala, who bring utter disgrace to India. If India did not have champion material, they would have ...


Posted by Anshuman Kaushik





Sub: RE:Sack Tendulkar from the team.

I think you are forgetting all the times that Tendulkar has come to save the Indian Team.Who can forget his wonderful innings of 143 & ...


Posted by Anshuman Kaushik





Sub: RE:Sack Tendulkar from the team.

What the hell are you talking about. The only reason the Indian team made it out of the first round was because of Tendulkar. Like ...


Posted by Suchit Mehrotra




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