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Team ready for Aussie sledging: Ganguly

August 05, 2003 18:03 IST

Captain Sourav Ganguly has said his young team is prepared to counter the notorious Australian sledging during India's upcoming tour in November, saying the 'players have learnt to live with it'.

"It (sledging) happens. There are a bit of words exchanged on the field these days. It happens with every team. But the players have learnt to live with it," Ganguly said.

"Sledging has become part of the modern-day cricket, but it is a minor issue which should not be blown out of proportion," Ganguly said in an interview to ESPN-Star Sports to be telecast on Wednesday.

The Indian captain said he agreed to some extent with legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar's observations that sledging has degenerated into 'personal abuse' but refrained from making a comment on the war of words between Gavaskar and former Aussie speedster Dennis Lillee.

"I don't totally disagree with Gavaskar. These things happen. But I have not heard all that they have said, so I am not in a position to make a statement," Ganguly said.

On whether his team has started preparations for the Australian tour scheduled later in the year, the Indian skipper said, "It's still too early. We still have three-four months. We know what the conditions will be in Australia, we know what to expect."

"It is going to be a tough tour. We have to be honest and work really hard and raise our game if we have to compete with them," the Indian skipper said.

Australia are slated to come down to India for a triseries, with New Zealand as the third team, in October.

India would then go to Australia for a Test series in November.

Ganguly sought to draw comfort from the fact that the Australians have not won an away Test series against India in the past three decades and said his team would try to capitalise on their vulnerability on Indian tracks during the triangular series to be held after the two-Test series against New Zealand.

"Obviously, they are a great side. They beat us in the World Cup final. But they have not won against us at home," Ganguly said.

The 31-year-old Ganguly, who has won 13 of his 32 Test matches as captain, said his team was determined to avenge the defeat against the Kiwis during their away series last year.

"We did not play well when we toured New Zealand. Obviously the wickets were different, but that is no excuse for not playing well. Both sides had to play on the same track," he said.

"Wining the toss there gave some advantage. They were the winning side most of the time," he explained.

The Indian captain, however, cautioned his team not to get complacent against the Kiwis just because they were playing on familiar tracks at home.

"It is an important series for us. They are a good team and we have to play well. They have a good track record," he said.

Asked about the conditioning camp in Bangalore, Ganguly said, "It is important. We had a lay-off for about three-four months. Though we did our personal training, it is important to work together as an unit."

On injury worries to some of the key players of the Indian squad, Ganguly said he was hopeful that all the players would be fit in time for the Test series beginning on October 8.

"I talked to Sehwag. He is okay now. Playing county cricket in England takes a lot on your body. We guys play a lot of international cricket and travel all around the globe. There are bound to be some niggling injuries," he said.

Asked to comment on India A's successful tour of England, Ganguly said it has provided an opportunity to many of the youngsters to get into the national team.

"I have not seen them play but have followed the scores. It obviously provides them an opportunity to get into the national team," he said.

On whether he had fixed any targets for the coming season, the Indian skipper said, "I don't believe in setting targets. What is important is to try and play to the best of your ability."

"I had a very good last year. I just want to play and do well for my country. Every day is a new day, you wake up, go out and try and do your best. That's how I see it," he said.

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