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We can do it in Pakistan: Ganguly

Josy Joseph in Delhi and agencies | March 10, 2004 10:42 IST
Last Updated: March 10, 2004 10:49 IST

Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday said his boys were well prepared to take on the Pakistanis on their home turf.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Ganguly refused to say anything specific on the pressure his team would face. "We have to go and see and assess the situation," he said.

The skipper also did not seem to be bothered about the possibility of unruly behaviour of the fans. "That's the way Indian and Pakistani fans are," he said in response to a question.

He said both the teams are new and have new sets of players. "We can keep up the good work," he said referring to India's good performance in Australia.

Team coach John Wright said he was briefed by the Ministry of External Affairs on the sentiments of the government. On the security measures, Wright said it included secrecy and no recreation for the players.

Ganguly promised the country's maiden Test victory on Pakistan soil during their first full tour for 14 years.

India play five one-day internationals, starting in Karachi on Saturday, followed by three tests after an improvement in diplomatic relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours. They have lost five and drawn 15 of their previous tests in Pakistan.

"We'll change that this time," Ganguly said. "International cricket is about pressure, whether it's Pakistan or any other side."

"This is definitely a big series and we're eager to do well."

India drew 1-1 with the world's number one side Australia last year but their bowling has been weakened by the absence of spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, who are both injured.

"I would like to look at the series as a great opportunity for our young bowlers," Ganguly said. "If you think having sheer pace is strength, we are weaker than Pakistan.

"If you think taking wickets, bowling on a good line and winning matches is a strength, then we are not."

Wright said India had a chance to create history in Pakistan. "We've got nothing to lose and everything to gain," he said.

"We've started to win Tests overseas. We did well in the Champions Trophy and the World Cup and played a good series in Australia, so making some history is what this team needs now."

Ganguly said Sachin Tendulkar, who has a history of back injury, was suffering from a minor strain.

"It's not an injury," he said. "There is nothing serious at all, he had a knock in the nets today and he's fit to play."

In Karachi, Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq appealed for calm before the one-day series.

"This series is more than just cricket. It is about building bridges between Pakistan and India and promoting peace and fraternity," he said.

"I would appeal to everyone in Pakistan to please make combined efforts to ensure the series is held in a peaceful manner without any major mishaps.

"One team has to lose and one has to win. We will surely play hard cricket in the series against a good team. But more than cricket, this series can help remove lot of misunderstandings between the people of the two countries."

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