The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hope things fall in place: Pietersen
- Confident of ending jinx: Stand-in India captain

Jamshedpur: Stand-in captain Virender Sehwag hoped Team India would finally put the record at the Keenan straight in the sixth one-day International against England on Wednesday. Not only that, he is also keen to play a role in it, by returning to form with a big score.

India have so far played eight matches here. The solitary victory came a shade over six years ago, when Sourav Ganguly hit an unbeaten 105 to help India notch up a six-wicket win over South Africa. The last outing at the Steel City saw the hosts crumbling under the fiery pace of Rana Naved-ul Hasan, whose six-wicket haul helped Pakistan canter to a huge 106-run triumph.

Sehwag was part of that defeat, and knows the fans here deserve something special from the team. “Some grounds are lucky and some are not. If our failures at the Keenan are called a jinx, we are confident of turning it this time around,” the opener maintained.

Reiterating that “it’s just a matter of one big innings” for him to regain rhythm and form, he sympathised with other struggling batsmen as well. “We are backing (Mohammed) Kaif. Hopefully, he will also return to form tomorrow.”

Sehwag refused to buy the idea that the injury-struck English side had helped the hosts’ cause. “You may call them a B or C side. But to me, they are all international cricketers and we are up against a strong and determined side. Both teams are having injury problems. Sachin (Tendulkar) is also injured and we are missing him,” Sehwag remarked.

For England batting mainstay Kevin Pietersen, it’s “unfortunate” that the momentum ' gained out of the stunning series-levelling victory in the final Test at Mumbai ' could not be sustained going into the ODI challenge.

“This is probably the first tour where we have had a lot of injuries,” he told reporters. “We went through the Ashes with only one injury, that of Simon Jones’. True, we had set some goals for ourselves before the tour. We haven’t yet reached them' I hope in these two games we can get some of those hundreds, wickets, those things we desperately wanted to fall in place for us,” he added.

There were a few regrets on the personal front as well. “I’m yet to make a big hundred in the series. I have made fifties, but I have not been able to convert them into bigger knocks,” the middle-order bat felt.

Former England bowler Angus Fraser, however, echoed former captain Michael Atherton’s view that the team is “too focused on Test cricket.”

“We should have a balance in our views towards both forms of the game,” he said on Tuesday.

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