Home > Cricket News, Interview > Pakistan, Australia not unbeatable: Ganguly

Pakistan, Australia not unbeatable: Ganguly

MUMBAI : With just over a week to go before India take on Pakistan, TOI spoke to Sourav Ganguly, India’s captain in two of the last three series between the two sides. Ganguly exuded confidence that India could come through the next six months with a good show.

Excerpts

How would you look back at the recent Australia series?

They were a good side and we played well in patches. The final scoreline (4-2, Australia) was far more closer than it looked.

Any particular gain from this series?

It is difficult to say. Murali Kartik bowled very well in this series; it would have to be his bowling.

We have a tough season coming up, how do you view it?

Oh yes, it is going to be six months of tough cricket. We have to be fit, fresh and back ourselves. Pakistan, Australia and South Africa are good sides and it will be good to play them.

Pakistan will be without Inzamam-ul Haq (retired) and possibly Shoaib Akhtar (fitness, disciplinary etc). Does that mean we start favourites?

I think the only person they will miss is Inzamam, the rest will be available for sure. I don’t believe in this favourite tag, but yes we have played good consistent cricket over the last eight-nine months… Belfast, England, Twenty20 World Cup. So we will have the confidence. Moreover, I also think that we have the players to beat them.

The last two times we’ve played, Pakistan’s batsmen rattled up big scores. Do you see a change this time?

Last time they had Inzy, who is a big influence. Pakistan will find it difficult to fill up his spot. But even last year with him in the side we beat them 4-1 in the One-dayers, as also in 2004. Anyway, it is all about how well a side plays on that particular day.

Their Test attack has a very dangerous look with Shoaib and Mohammed Asif?

They have a good attack, Shoaib and Asif are a good pair. But it will be different and difficult as they will be playing in India.

Two of their batsmen — Younis and Yousuf — have been very prolific. Will they impact the series as well?

But we have beaten them even when they had Younis, Yousuf and Inzy in the side. And the last time they toured we didn’t lose the Test series it was 1-1. We were pretty unfortunate not to win the first Test at Mohali, after we won in Kolkata, we had just one bad Test (Bangalore). That too we were unlucky to lose. Anyway, the past has no meaning because it will be a fresh start.

Will the Pakistan series be the right preparation for the Australia tour?

Australia will be a different kettle of fish. It will always be good to win against them.

In 2003-04 we surprised Australia by playing well in Test matches. Can we repeat that this time?

It all depends on how well we play. There is no reason why we can’t do it this time as well. We have a good Test bowling line-up with Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth, RP Singh, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and, now, Murali Kartik is also bowling well. A good attack is always the key to winning a Test match.

On the last tour it was our experienced batting line-up which batted them out of the series. Do you see a similar role for the senior batsmen this time?

We have an experienced middle-order and the batsmen are in very good form at the moment. It was because of our batting line-up we have been able to beat England recently in the Test series. No other side except Australia has managed that in the last seven years. But this of course is a new series.

The Aussies have started targeting each and every player. Are they affected by the fact that Indians are giving it back to them?

I don’t read too much into this talking bit. What is most important is what you do in the middle. When you play hard cricket a lot of things happen, but ultimately what you do in the middle counts.

Finally, will a Test series win in Australia be the most satisfying moment of your career?

Well there have been quite a few moments like playing well against Australia, winning the 2001 series against them (Aussies), and winning in Pakistan, reaching the World Cup final, two Champions Trophy finals and playing a part in a winning squad in England. Yes a series win in Australia will certainly add to it.

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