The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lehmann: Iím probably more focussed today
- ĎIf anybody is down, everybody does his bit to lift himí

Pretoria: Come Saturday and Darren Lehmann, having completed a five-game ban, will be eligible for selection. Having authored dubious history, Lehmann is now preparing for a comeback and, more than anybody else, is himself aware no return (at whatever level) is ever easy.

The Australian senior pro spoke generally to the Media (and, briefly, specifically to The Telegraph) after a workout in neighbouring Centurionís SuperSport Park, Thursday afternoon, where he labelled India as ďdangerousĒ and ďpromisedĒ never to repeat his Sri Lanka-show.

Following are excerpts

On being available for selection after a five-match ban for racial abuse

Itís a nice feeling... Of course, I regret whatever I said and promise that wonít be repeated... Iím not a racist. (Adds grinning) Now that Iím available, I hope I will be picked for Saturdayís game (versus India). At this moment, Iím looking ahead.

On the four weeks he had to sit out

It was tough... However, knowing what I missed, Iím probably more focussed today. In fact, the past few weeks have been tough for Australian cricket, but weíve remained as a unit... I myself spent much time interacting with the captain (Ricky Ponting) and coach (John Buchanan)... If anybody is down, everybody does his bit to lift him.

On whether he will be under more pressure than usual in his comeback match

Look, Iím not putting myself under too much pressure and will be looking to enjoy every moment. This, after all, is the World Cup and itís unlikely that Iíll be around for the next one...

On Saturdayís game

Personally, Iíve been focussing inwards without being bothered about things external... Iím sure we will go out with all guns blazing as qualifying for the Super Six remains priority No.1.

On India reverting to the Sachin Tendulkar-Sourav Ganguly opening combination

Donít think itís going to alter our plans too much... Sachinís a great player, but we will also have to get nine others out... Yes, heís done well against us but, equally, there have been times when we have had the better of him... Though the Indians have had up-and-down performances in the past few months, the team remains dangerous. Quite like Pakistan, though we were comfortable winners on Tuesday.

On the wickets in World Cup 2003

Itís pretty evident that itís best to bat first. The wickets have been on the slower side.

On having been part of the 1999 World Cup-winning team

(Smiles) We were very tense, very uptight during that campaign... This time, despite all that has happened in the last few weeks, we are relaxed. Obviously, that team was more experienced but, having said that, at times inexperience is a good thing.

On the Rashid Latif issue

I have no comments.

Finally, on whether he sets targets

I donít, actually. I prefer taking things as they come.

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