The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kirmani hopeful of 1983 encore
- ‘Sourav’s boys peaking at right time’

Cape Town: Syed Kirmani, a member of that history-creating 1983 World Cup side, is convinced Sourav Ganguly’s Team India can win the 2003 edition.

“The process of peaking has begun at the right time and I see no reason why the present side can’t do a 1983,” Kirmani, who is around on a ‘sponsored’ trip, told The Telegraph Wednesday afternoon.

He added: “I’ve always had faith in this team and, back in India, I’d said that the defeats in New Zealand were actually a good omen... That the side would come together and bounce back on wickets conducive for good cricket. Then, Sourav has been captaining well”

According to Kirmani, the difference between Australia and, say, India and New Zealand isn’t huge. “As they say in Hindi, unnis-bees ka difference hai... It’s not like the West Indies team of 1983 which, at the start and during the tournament, was streets ahead of all other sides...”

Asked whether his opinion on Rahul Dravid being made to ’keep had changed, Kirmani answered smiling: “In principle, the wicketkeeper must be a specialist.

“However, Rahul is doing a good job and, so, ought not to be changed... There’s been a purpose behind giving him the responsibility and, to my mind, he has been doing his best.”

Kirmani, though, declined to pick the most outstanding ’keeper of this World Cup. “Look, nobody has been exceptional, though Ridley Jacobs took a couple of great catches the other day... Just about everybody has had the odd miss...”

Looking ahead, to India’s first Super Six match (against Kenya, Friday), Kirmani cautioned: “The boys shouldn’t get complacent... Cricket, after all, can give some hard knocks. Of course, I’ll be surprised if we don’t comfortably put it across Kenya.”

The signing-off couldn’t have been more pucca.

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