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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Report

Aussies will bounce back: Kirmani

Onkar Singh in Delhi | February 26, 2007 19:30 IST

Former India wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani has predicted that the current team, under Rahul Dravid's leadership, should make it to the last four at March 13-April 28 World Cup in the West Indies.

"If you ask me, the four teams that would make it to the semi-finals are India, Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. The other two teams who can surprise are England and New Zealand," Kirmani told in New Delhi last week.

A member of Kapil Dev's World Cup-winning team in 1983, Kirmani spoke highly of Sourav Ganguly and praised his ability to return to the team when most people had written him off after he was dropped from the side following a stand-off with coach Greg Chappell.

"I feel Dada [Sourav] is good for the next ten years. He is a batsman of tremendous potential. He is an aggressive cricketer who has ten thousand runs under his belt and a tremendous record as captain of the Indian team. He showed that he is a worthy cricketer by working hard and grasping every opportunity that came his way and forcing the selectors to include him in the World Cup side by his consistent performances," he said.

Kirmani said the selectors picked the best team available to them and there was no point saying that a particular cricketer should have been dropped or included.

"With Dravid leading the side, and players like Sachin [Tendulkar], Ganguly backing him up, we should do well. Players like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Irfan Pathan are also in good touch and have been giving consistent performances. We should not forget that Dinesh Kaarthick is also doing well," he added.

He pointed out that there is no point feeling happy about the Australian team's recent debacle in New Zealand, "because the Australian side that played the matches there did not have five top cricketers, including the captain Ricky Ponting in the side".

"I am sure the Australians will bounce back once the original team plays. But they will badly miss Shane Warne," he opined.

Asked to compare the current team with the Cup-winning team of 1983, he said: "Our thinking was different. We had no pressure to win the World Cup. We had the weakest bowling attack, but luck was on our side and the boys fought well to win the World Cup against the mighty West Indians. Now there is so much of pressure on the current team. The nation wants them to win and this adds to their pressure."

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