Ganguly-less India look to bounce back
by AFP

Ground:Modi Stadium, Kanpur
Scorecard:India v Pakistan
Player:SC Ganguly, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, RS Dravid
Event:Pakistan in India 2004/05

DateLine: 14th April 2005


KANPUR, 14 April 2005: India hope to overcome the loss of captain Sourav Ganguly and win the last two one-dayers of an absorbing contest against arch-rivals Pakistan, stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid said.


"We know that there is some tough cricket ahead of us and realize that we have to give our best to try and win the series," Dravid said ahead of the fifth match of the six-match series at the Green Park here on Friday.


Ganguly was on Tuesday banned for six matches by International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Chris Broad for repeated slow over-rates during the series which stands at 2-2.


ICC rules, however, permit Ganguly to play until an appeal filed by him is decided.


Dravid, appointed captain for the last two matches of the series, said he was unaware whether Ganguly, struggling with poor batting form, will take the field on Friday.


"We are not worried whether Sourav will play or not. Our idea is to remain focussed and do the job in hand," he said.


Pakistan, 0-2 down, won the third and fourth one-dayers to draw level and victory on Friday will ensure they do not lose the series.


Pakistan thrashed India by 106 runs in Jamshedpur on Saturday before recording a thrilling last-ball win in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.


The sixth and final one-dayer will be played in New Delhi on Sunday, a match that will be attended by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


"The series is evenly balanced and we have a lot to play for," said Dravid.


He did not believe the advantage had gone Pakistan's way.


"We have the players to win matches but the problem in the last few matches has been the execution of our skills. We have to just apply ourselves better," he said.


Dravid felt spinners could have a big role to play on the slow Green Park wicket in Kanpur.


"The pitch here seems to have lower bounce than in preceding matches. If it turns out so, the spinners may be more useful than seamers."


Dravid admitted his team's slow over-rate, which led to Ganguly's suspension, was a worry.


"That is a problem because it is not just the captain but all members of the side who are responsible for it," he said.


"The bowlers and fielders need to hurry up and we hope to work things out."


Pakistan vice-captain Younis Khan said the victories in the last two matches had made the tourists hungry for more.


"We have peaked at the right time and are looking to win here and in New Delhi," said Younis.


"We will play hard and not give anything away. A one-dayer is all about who plays well on a given day but we definitely have an edge now.


"Our team seems to have found the right balance and our openers Salman Butt and Shahid Afridi are giving us the right starts."


The preceding three-Test series on Pakistan's first tour of India in six years ended in a 1-1 draw.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)


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