Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > PTI > Report
India hope to spin out Kenya
March 04, 2003 21:52 IST
An upbeat Indian team arrived in Cape Town Tuesday afternoon for their opening clash of the Super Six round on Friday, toying with the idea of employing a different game plan against opponents Kenya.
India are refusing to take Kenya lightly given the spirited performance of the African nation in the World Cup, not the least because of its propensity to pull the carpet from under the feet of elite Test playing nations.
Kenya has already scalped former champions Sri Lanka in the league stage but it is not the first time it has dumped a Test giant as they beat the West Indies in Pune during the 1996 World Cup in the sub-continent.
India too has been at the receiving end against Kenya on more than one occasion, the last defeat being at Port Elizabeth during the 2001-2003 triangular series in South Africa being a particularly bitter one.
India were shocked by Kenya in an upset result in that tri-series which led to the Anti-Corruption Unit of the International Cricket Council seek the videotapes to ensure nothing undesirable happened.
India's retribution was swift when Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly put on 256 runs for the opening wicket at Paarl to qualify for the final, only to go down tamely to South Africa in the title clash in Durban.
The present Indian squad is a vastly more balanced and disciplined side than the 2001 version currently riding the crest of morale boosting wins.
India, fresh from their back to back triumph against England and Pakistan, are unwilling to treat Kenya with disdain and trust the rival coach Sandeep Patil to plan something outrageously intelligent on Friday.
Patil has often used his background of a former India player and then a coach to good effect and often brought the strong Indian batting line-up on its knees.
Patil, for example, had decided during the Port Elizabeth game to ask his bowlers to bowl as slowly as possible against the Indians and frustrated their big-hitting methods to the extent Indians kept playing into the hands of the Kenyans.
India is planning a trick of its own against Kenya and the early indications suggested both Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble might be included in the playing eleven to test the Kenyans with high quality spin bowling.
Harbhajan and Kumble played together in the first two games of the competition against Holland and Australia.
Harbhajan played in the next three league games before Kumble returned against Pakistan, albeit not successfully, conceding 51 runs for no wicket.
Kenyan skipper Steve Tikolo is unwilling to buckle under pressure against the Indians but said he is more than happy to reach the second round and inspire a bigger interest in the game in his country.
"Whether we win or lose, we need the exposure. Unlike rugby, cricket is a very open game and that's why we always get shocks in the World Cup," he said.
Kenya would be more conscious than ever of Indians' broad bats, particularly of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid who have made a habit of smashing big hundreds against them.
Tendulkar, in roaring form in this tournament with 469 runs in the league stage, has made 559 runs from seven innings against the Kenyans at an outstanding average of 139.75, including four centuries.
Dravid has thumped 295 runs from six innings at a high average of 73.75 with a fifty and a hundred to his name.
The last time Tendulkar and Dravid got together against the Kenyans, the duo put on 338 runs for the third wicket in a 1999 World Cup game at Bristol, England.
|© Copyright 2003 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.|