| Sachin Tendulkar with physio Andrew Leipus in Queenstown on Friday. (AFP)
Queenstown: Admitting that he was probably going through the toughest time of his career, a struggling Indian captain Sourav Ganguly on Friday stressed that his batsmen were not afraid of pace or bounce but claimed the nature of wickets in New Zealand was preventing them from scoring.
“We don’t mind bounce, pace or movement. But if you can also play your shots, there is a fair chance to score runs as well,” said Sourav whose team has been bundled out for low scores to be whitewashed 3-0 in the Tests and lost all the three one-day Internationals played so far.
“Here the ball is not coming on to the bat. Thus making shots is difficult. It is more of a spongy type where the ball doesn’t come on to the bat and executing shots is not easy.
“Instead of hitting shots here, we are hitting it back to the fielders. We have not been able to time it. I can’t remember a good cover drive or a cut in this whole series,” said Sourav.
“This is the most testing moment of my career, no doubt about that,” he said ahead of the fourth one-day International here on Friday. However, Sourav emphasised that the performance of his team on this tour should not be taken as an indication of what was to come in the World Cup. “We have not played well in this series but it does not guarantee we will play poorly in the World Cup. I draw a lot of strength from our past performances and if we have done it in the past, we can do it again,” he said.
Citing the example of Nathan Astle to drive home his point that the pitches did not allow the batsmen to play shots, Sourav said the New Zealander had to resort to slogging to hit boundaries.
“In the last game, whatever boundaries came were through slogs. Astle took Srinath (Jawagal) for 22 runs in an over but they were not proper hits from the crease. He made his adjustments to have pace on the ball.
Sachin may miss 5th ODI too
Wary of aggravating the injury to his right ankle ahead of the World Cup, Sachin Tendulkar will possibly also miss the fifth one-dayer in Wellington on January 8.
“Batting in the middle is not a problem,” said Sachin. “But there is a question of running between the wickets... Not only for your runs but for the your partner’s as well.”