The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Under pressure, Sourav gets Wright backing

Wellington: Beleaguered Indian captain Sourav Ganguly on Monday received the backing of his coach John Wright who said he had no doubt that the stylish left-hander would lead from the front in the remaining matches of the New Zealand tour.

“Sourav will be fine. Being the captain of India is a tough job and we’re all under pressure. It’s a difficult time for a captain when things are not working for you.

“I think you’ll find he’ll be opening the batting in Wellington (venue for fifth one-dayer), leading from the front,” Wright said.

Sourav failed to contribute much with the bat scoring just 29 runs from four innings in the two-match Test series against New Zealand and followed it up with a sequence of low-scores — 14, 0, 4, 2 — in the first four ODIs of the seven-match series.

Meanwhile, Sachin Tendulkar said after Monday’s nets that his prospects of playing in the fifth ODI was very bright, a view also backed by physio Andrew Leipus.

“He should be alright for this game,” said Leipus.

At the nets, Tendulkar batted with all the earnestness of a batsman keen to make a mark, even asking Virender Sehwag to refrain from practising in the nearby nets.

He was all keyed up and gave vent to his frustration whenever he failed to connect his flicks down the leg-side. He did appear a batsman short of match practice at the nets.

Media bashing

Stating that the visiting batsmen lacked courage to take on the fast bowlers during the current tour, the local media has compared the struggling Indian team with Bangladesh as the worst cricket side in the world.

“To label India the worst cricket team to tour New Zealand might be slightly over the top, considering Bangladesh were here last summer,” a report in the Dominion Post said on Monday.

“India have been shown up as spineless and directionless in the Test and one-day series this summer, which would not be such a bad thing if they did not go round the world parading themselves as the most talented batting line-up in commission.

“Their batsmen’s inability to play the seaming ball not only makes a mockery of their reputation but brings one to the conclusion they are hopelessly short in the courage stake.

“Being wristy players, the Indians thrive on the ball drifting into their pads but Daryl Tuffey and Jacob Oram have maintained an exceptional line just outside off-stump and the visitors have repeatedly gone fishing.”

The paper also wondered what fate was in store for Wright. “The honour of bringing a glamour team to his old stamping ground has turned into a nightmare (for Wright). His wish at the start of the tour was that the New Zealand public would get to see some of the game’s finest batsmen display their talents but the Sehwags, Laxmans and Gangulys are only world class when conditions suit.” (PTI)

n Bond back, McMillan dropped, on Page 18

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