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We are here to win every game
February 12, 2003
We got to know of Shane Warne testing positive on the day before the match against Pakistan. On Monday evening, we all got together and discussed the best possible way to deal with this unforeseen situation.
It was Shane who decided that it was best for the team as well as for him to go back to Australia and deal with the situation. It was not as though we received the news in the morning and played within hours, as some reports in the press would like readers to believe. We had braced ourselves overnight for all the attention and curiosity that we knew the announcement would draw. Once we set foot on the Wanderers we all shut out the hoopla around the news – it was a challenge, but the results prove that we did not let our focus waver.
The team is 100 per cent behind Shane in this difficult time, and while we will focus on the World Cup in his absence, we are getting regular updates from Australia. It's good that he is with his family in this hour of crisis, and he knows that all his teammates are supporting him right now. It is also important to note that the 'B' sample report is not yet out, so everyone must wait a few days before arriving at any conclusion.
Shane is a great competitor, and it's obvious that we will miss him. However, the team as a whole is focused on succeeding, no matter what, and we are here to prove that we are good enough to win every game we play.
The opening game against Pakistan was penciled in every Australian player's mind as a tough one. Pakistan is always a very dangerous team, and we knew that we had to be in top form rather than taking time to get used to the conditions in our opening game. We had drawn out our plans 48 hours ahead of the match, and the key to beating Pakistan as usual lay in minimizing damage in the first 15 overs. The Pakistan bowlers did not allow that to happen, and we were in some strife at 80 for four. I think Ricky Ponting played a really significant knock at that point, and he has proved that he is a crisis man as well as a fine captain. Ricky has been in good form right through the summer back home, but his innings in a difficult game, under difficult circumstances, at a time when the whole world was waiting for the team to crumble under the blow of losing its key player was simply superb.
Andrew Symonds took off from where Ricky left, and his innings could also be a career-defining one. I've always thought Symonds is a talented player, I hope this century will help him break into the big league.
Our batsmen really set things up well for us bowlers, and all we had to do was land it in the right place because the asking rate would do the rest. Personally, I was pleased with being able to bowl 10 overs straight. The altitude and temperature made it difficult, but the fact that I could still withstand it without having to leave the field afterwards gives me a great deal of confidence. I think my injury is now a thing of the past, and my bowling will only get better from here on.