The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cairns backs Sourav & Co.

Auckland: New Zealand’s star allrounder Chris Cairns on Thursday backed the Indian team to do well in the coming World Cup despite their woeful performance on the current tour.

“I am sure these guys will come right once they go home, have a break and head for the World Cup,” said Cairns. “Big players turn up for big tournaments.

“Sachin (Tendulkar) has been out for a few games and Sourav (Ganguly) has been a bit out of touch. But then performance is temporary and class is permanent,” he said.

Cairns’ encouraging words will be a boost for Sourav’s side, which was blanked 0-2 in the Test series and are trailing 1-4 in the seven-match one-day series.

“I think India have got a good side. I saw them play in England. They just seem to have hit a losing streak,” Cairns said.

The charismatic allrounder, who returned to international cricket after an eight-month injury lay-off in the fifth one-dayer on Wednesday, said he would continue to play in the remaining two matches as a specialist batsman but hoped to start bowling before the World Cup.

“I would not be bowling in these one-dayers at all. I am just building up and doing my work at the nets. I am working towards giving (Stephen) Fleming an option in South Africa,” he said.

“I still have four weeks to go (for the World Cup). I am very hopeful of bowling in the World Cup,” Cairns, whose career has been plagued by injuries, said.

He explained his injuries as a natural result of the workload he was taking in the team.

“If you are doing well and are involved in the game all the time then it does take a toll on you. That’s a part of success.”

Cairns said the knee injury was still playing on his mind in the previous match against India but he was happy to be involved in the game.

“I was probably a little bit too aggressive. I wanted to go out there and make a mark. But in running I was slugging. My injury is probably still playing in the sub-conscience. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t.”

Cairns dismissed suggestions that there were not enough quality allrounders in the world like in the 80s when the likes of Imran Khan, Kapil Dev, Ian Botham and Richard Hadlee played.

“I still think with the likes of (Jaques) Kallis, (Shaun) Pollock, (Lance) Klusener and Andrew Flintoff, there are quite a few allrounders here.

“I know India hasn’t produced one for a long time. Anyone following Kapil will have a tough time. It’s really difficult to do both — bowl genuinely quick and have the fortitude and patience to bat.”

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