The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sourav not setting personal goals
- ‘New Zealand will miss Shane Bond... But we have beaten them with him in the team’

Bangalore: India skipper Sourav Ganguly said his team is determined to make amends for its dismal performance on the tour of New Zealand late last year.

The skipper is not too bothered about reports that New Zealand are resorting to unconventional methods of training to succeed in Indian conditions and break their jinx of not winning a series in India.

“Well I don’t know what kind of preparations they are undergoing. It’s up to them how hard they work and how quickly they adjust to conditions here. We will have to wait and see,” said Sourav whose team had struggled on green-top wickets in New Zealand.

Sourav said speedster Shane Bond’s absence from the New Zealand squad will not affect India, though it is a blow to Stephen Fleming’s team.

“He is a good bowler. There is no doubt that he is a quality bowler. Obviously New Zealand will miss him. But we have beaten them with Bond in their ranks. So it does not really affect out chances.”

Sourav said the team is concentrating on the task at hand and not thinking about meeting their World Cup nemesis Australia whom they run into in the tri-series and then take them on in a full-fledged series Down Under later this year.

“At the moment we are looking forward to the series against New Zealand. That’s coming first and then we will think about Australia.”

Sourav does not think a tour of Australia is the biggest challenge. “Every tour is a challenge. But obviously the World Cup is the biggest tournament in cricket. It was a huge challenge for me. We did outstandingly well but were disappointed. We played so well but lost in the final. I would take the positives out if it, we were the second best side in the world, and go ahead with it.”

He conceded that whenever India meet Australia on the cricket field it is as much a game of minds as of skills.

“Australia are a good side and they are playing well. Cricket is a game of mind and body and application in the middle.”

The Indian skipper said he has not set any personal goals as such for the season ahead though he is keen to perform well.

“You don’t set personal goals. You want to do well just like any other cricketer and you want the team to do well being the captain... So these are the two goals.”

Sourav refused to be drawn into the debate on sledging, triggered off by the legendary Sunil Gavaskar in his Colin Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s recently.

“I just don’t want to comment on that (sledging). It is a part and parcel of modern day cricket. We have got to go ahead with it.”

About meeting former Australia captain Greg Chappell, Sourav said: “I spent a couple of hours with him at Sydney. I kept asking him about mindset and mindgames.” Sourav refused to elaborate.

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