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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Report


'India must not take Bangladesh lightly'

March 16, 2007 23:21 IST

Former India wicketkeeper and chairman of selectors Kiran More exclusively previews for Rediff.com India's first match at the 2007 World Cup against Bangladesh, on Saturday.

'India must not take Bangladesh lightly and must try to win the match convincingly,' he told Special Correspondent Harish Kotian.

Excerpts:

Firstly, can Bangladesh be taken lightly?

Not at all! I don't think Bangladesh can be taken lightly.

The way pitches play in Bangladesh, the Trinidad wicket also plays like that. Bangladesh have upset big teams before like Australia and Pakistan so you to be very careful. It is going to be a very important match for the Indian team because all depends on how you start off. So that is going to be crucial for us.

We have to win this match convincingly and that will give us more confidence.

What do you think the Indian team composition should be?

Looking at the Trinidad wicket, it is an ideal wicket where you could play two spinners. But looking at the right combination, I would always go with four fast bowlers, including Irfan Pathan, who is also an all-rounder, so we have depth in batting too.

The other fast bowlers would be Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, Munaf Patel and one spinner probably Harbhajan Singh or Anil Kumble, so that makes a good bowling combination.

In the batting, we have Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag [to open], then number three we have Rahul Dravid or Yuvraj Singh can come, depends on the situation of the game. Then we have Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni to follow, which makes it a solid batting line-up. We also have Robin Uthappa as an option for Virender Sehwag incase the team management is not happy. But I think at the moment I will go with Sehwag and Ganguly and that is my eleven.

So that means you want India to field it's best eleven?

We should not take Bangladesh lightly. It's not that we have qualified for the next stage and we are just taking it easy and giving opportunities to someone else. It's a World Cup and it's a crucial match. You play against any minnow or any team; you have to play with your full strength squad and send signals to everybody that we are here to win this competition. So that's what the Indian team should do, try and give signals to all the teams in the World Cup.

Are you happy with the way the Indian team performed in the warm-up matches or do you feel there areas to improve upon?

In the warm-up games, we played very well. We dominated both the matches [against the Netherlands and West Indies] but again we need to improve our fielding and running between the wickets. What I saw in the Pakistan-West Indies match it is not going to be easy to get the ones and twos, specially the Indian team. Running between the wickets is going to be very crucial and our fielding department needs to be outstanding. We have to field well and take all the catches. So that is going to be very, very vital for us.

Otherwise our batting and bowling looks solid.

How important do you think this game is for Sehwag and Irfan Pathan? What would be your advice for them?

They should play normally. Sehwag is under pressure, but if you look at the way he has got out also in all those matches, he has gone for his shots and got out. I hope he spends some time at the wicket and that is what he has said in the newspapers also. If he bats for around 9 or 10 overs, he should try and bat till 30 or 35 overs and that will definitely give him confidence. If he bats for around 35 overs he can get around 120 or 130 with the way he bats.

He needs to spend some time at the wicket, that will definitely give him confidence and that is what we need from Sehwag. If he gets his confidence back, it will be a big moral boost for India because everybody knows he is a match winner and he will be a very useful cricketer for us in the matches to follow.

And talking about Irfan Pathan, he bowled well in the warm-up matches. But still he has to get his line and length right. He started swinging the ball, but he bowled too many wide balls and no-balls. My advice to him would be to just take it easy, more relaxed and try to think of the old matches he has played. He must try and get his rhythm back and bowl in good areas. If he doesn't get a wicket its fine, but if he bowls a good line and length it will give him more confidence for the upcoming matches. If he comes back in form in the bowling department, then we will have a right combination. Then batting will definitely be a plus point for India.

What is your prediction? Will it be an easy win for India?

I don't think it will be very easy. Bangladesh has played a lot of cricket against the top teams and they have a good spin department. Our team, this team specially, is not the best players of spin bowlers.

We struggled in South Africa against left-arm spinners. That is why I feel our batsmen will be tested because the Trinidad wicket suits spinner, specially left-arm spinners. The way the Bangladesh left-arm spinners bowl, slightly round-armish, the ball tends to keep a bit low and a small bit of turn also.

It is not going to be easy, but we should win this match very convincingly. That will definitely be a big moral booster for the Indian team. Once you start a competition, no matter what match you are playing, which team you are playing, you have to win the match convincingly and that is what gives you confidence.


The Cup: The Complete Coverage

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