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Ganguly defends shielding Sachin

December 30, 2003 17:53 IST

Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly defended his decision to shield Sachin Tendulkar on the third day of the Melbourne Test saying he was trying to do his bit to make the maestro fire in the series.

Tendulkar, who has had a miserable series so far, did not come out to bat at his regular number four position with India 19 for two in their second innings which many saw as an admission of a form slump by the maestro.

But Ganguly sought to play the incident down after India lost the third Test against Australia by nine wickets.

"It is not the best of time to bat for those last four or five overs and when you have not got runs in the last two or three innings it does become a bit harder," Ganguly said.

"Sachin is the best batsman in the world, he is one of our key members and there are times in your career when you have to look after certain people and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. If we can do our bit for him to fire it is good for the team.

"I asked him when they were out if he wanted to go in for the last five overs but as a batsman I know it is not the best time to go in and bat. He said he would not mind going in to bat but he deserves (not to go) for the amount of runs he has scored for his country," Ganguly said.

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