The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hold your heads high: Sourav

Hamilton: A badly mauled Indian side received some much-needed morale-boosting on Tuesday at the end of its nightmarish tour of New Zealand. While their skipper Sourav Ganguly exhorted them to “hold their heads high”, host captain Stephen Fleming admitting the Indians “had more talent in them than the pitches allowed them to show”.

Sourav spoke briefly, after India lost the seventh and last one-dayer by six wickets, telling his boys not to feel low despite the disappointing results on the tour.

“I know it’s not gone our way, but keep your heads high. We are a good side and I know we’ll do well in the future,” he said thanking his teammates for the “hard work they have put in.”

Fleming conceded that India’s poor performance had a lot to do with the pitches and said the team would definitely put up a better show in the World Cup.

Addressing the beleaguered Indian captain directly, Fleming said, “We know you’ve got more talent than what the pitches here allowed you to show and we know that you will be a real threat in the World Cup. We look forward to seeing you in the Super Sixes”.

The Black Caps skipper was happy that his team’s success had boosted the confidence of the players ahead of the World Cup.

“This was a real war of attrition. There were games that we had to win and we set about doing just that.

“The series has been bowler-dominated and I know that we will go to South Africa with a lot of confidence,” Fleming said.

Fleming was satisfied with the quality of his bowling attack throughout the series, and also had a word of praise for the Indian bowlers.

“I know they (Indian bowlers) hunted in packs and they must have also gained a great deal of confidence. The batters have struggled on this tour. So you have one half of the side which is looking forward to the World Cup and the other half that has some work to do,” Fleming said.

Fleming, adjudged Man-of the Match, said: “It’s been a very difficult summer for our batting unit, full stop. We have our techniques scrutinised on wickets that have been very, very bowler-friendly and that’s often been overlooked, which peeves us a bit.

“The surfaces need to be looked at a lot more closely. You start questioning your belief on the sort of poor surfaces we have experienced.

“I think it’s fair to say the wickets throughout the summer have been below par, it’s as simple as that.

“We’ve beaten a very good side in tough conditions and there’s no reason we can’t play even better in better conditions.

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