|HOME | WORLD CUP 99 | INDIA | INTERVIEWS|
|April 27, 1999||
The Rediff Interview / Anshuman Gaekwad
'We won against England and that is a good thing..'Anshuman Gaikwad, coach of the Indian cricket team, in a brief conversation with Faisal Shariff on the eve of the team's departure for England...
What are the gains from the Sharjah tournament?
The victories against England were very encouraging. Since we are in the same pool in the World Cup, it was of immense value to have played them and won against them. We learnt about their drawbacks and their strengths, and that will help us chalk out our game plan against them in the World Cup. Even without Sachin and some other senior players, we won both our matches against England and that is a plus, definitely.
What are the weak links in the team?
The batting I think is the weak link in the team. We always had one batsman playing well. But we need at any time to have two, three batsmen playing well, if we want to make a match of it.
Early on in the tournament the team seemed to be lacking effort. The entire bunch including the captain looked demotivated. What do you attribute this to and what brought about the change in the team's morale, when we won those three matches on the trot?
There has been an excess of cricket and the team has been plagued by injuries. One thing that people don't realize is that the team has been without their main batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, and even Azhar missed a couple of matches. We were not playing our full side. In a team when 4-5 new guys come in and the team plays without its key players, it is not so easy for the guys coming in to perform to their optimum, given the pressure.
Jadeja, I think, did a great job when he led the side in Azhar's absence. Bobby (Simpson) and I spoke to the guys after their defeat to Pakistan and motivated them to play their best.
The results were there for all to see, we won three matches on the trot. The side seemed to have found motivation and the will to win.
Does that mean that we lack bench strength?
No, it's not that. This whole thing was a trial run up to the World Cup. So it would be unfair to judge the side on the basis of the results in that tournament. We wanted to test the boys and see their capabilities. We have young, exciting players in Amay Khurasia and S. Ramesh.
Are you happy with the way Azhar has led the side in recent times?
Yes, of course. Azhar has a great track record as captain. Why do people forget that he is India's most successful captain? Just because he is going through a bad phase does not mean one asks for his ouster, or that we doubt his ability to lead the side. I am sure Azhar is back in form after his injury and is raring to go. Once he gets his silken touch back with a single good score, he will be back in the reckoning as the key to our batting along with Sachin.
Also tell me one thing besides the Test series involving Pakistan in India, the triangular tournament in India, where have we faltered?
What about the Test defeats in New Zealand and Zimbabwe? Those were games we should have won?
See, forget the Test series for now. I am talking about the one-day matches. We drew the series in New Zealand 2-2. We won the series in Zimbabwe.
But given our much higher rating, shouldn't we have been winning against New Zealand, instead of managing a draw?
What you are saying is right, but then you must remember we lacked the third strike bowler. Ajit Agarkar was not on that tour, and we lacked penetration. One must look at these details before accusing us.
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