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Sehwag to open in Test series
September 27, 2004 21:07 IST
India skipper Sourav Ganguly asserted on Monday that the dismal performance of his team in the ICC Champions Trophy will not affect the side's prospects in the four-Test series against formidable Australia, starting next week.
"One-dayers are one-off games. Our showing in these matches will have no bearing on the Test series," Ganguly said in Kolkata.
Terming the coming engagements against the Kangaroos as a 'big series' for both sides, he said the entire cricketing world is looking forward to the clash.
"We have done well against them earlier," Ganguly said, in an obvious reference to the scintillating 2-1 win in the home series in 2001, and the drawn series down Under from late last year to early this year.
The Indian skipper was all praise for promising paceman S S Paul and said he is close to a national call-up.
"Paul has been doing very well. He is very close to playing for the country. But he must keep on performing. He should know that playing for India 'A' and the national squad are entirely different ball games."
The Bengal pacer had performed commendably for India 'A' in Nairobi and while representing Rest of India against Mumbai in the just-concluded Irani Trophy.
Ganguly said Virender Sehwag would be the number one opener for the Indians in the coming series, with Akash Chopra and Yuvraj Singh contenders for the other spot.
"Sehwag has done well in the Tests recently. He even got a 300-plus score against Pakistan. He will be there. We have a match in Bangalore from tomorrow. Whoever performs well there stands a chance. Akash Chopra and Yuvraj Singh may be the contenders for the other opener's slot," he said.
Asked whether the absence of injured Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting would be a disadvantage for the visitors, Ganguly replied, "It is not a question of advantage or disadvantage. The fact is that the Aussies will be missing their skipper."
Ponting fractured his left thumb while fielding in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final against England and flew home for further investigation and treatment.
Stand-in captain Adam Gilchrist had said it would be known over the next five days when Ponting would be able to join the team.
However, according to fast bowler Glenn McGrath, Ponting is out of reckoning at least for the first two Tests, at Bangalore and Chennai.
Ganguly said his side is prepared to play on any type of track given to them.
"We don't have any say in this respect; whatever track we get, it is fine for us."
On whether he would be seen playing a bigger role with the ball in the upcoming engagements, Ganguly said, "I have been bowling regularly. But everything depends on the situation."
Terming the Champions Trophy format which offered fewer games and big rest periods for the participating teams as 'fair', Ganguly said, "You should remember that the World Cup is the most important tournament. If you have another tournament on the same format then the sheen of the World Cup will be lost."
He also backed the inclusion of weak teams in tournaments like the Champions Trophy, saying even Sri Lanka had a long, lean period after they were promoted into the highest league.
"It is the responsibility of the big teams to play the weaker sides enough so that the latter can improve."