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Want to dominate opponents: Gary

Auckland: Gary Kirsten has underlined the Indian team’s resolve to play an aggressive brand of cricket and dominate the opponents. The coach said there was a temptation to rest key players in the final ODI on Saturday, but the team was also eager to continue with the winning momentum.

The following are excerpts

On whether Sachin Tendulkar will play Saturday’s ODI

Not sure yet... We’ll have to wait and see.

If some of the key players would be rested

We would be tempted but we also want to make sure we keep the momentum going. It’s important on a tour to set yourself up to win games on a consistent level. So we haven’t made a decision.

If there is a temptation to try out a few of the reserve players

As I said, it’s important to maintain momentum and win games. That might require us to use our best combination. We also need to be mindful of the fact that it might be an opportunity to rest one or two players. We just have to weigh up what we want to do. We haven’t decided yet.

The team’s stupendous run

It’s an incredibly talented batting line-up. The game’s moved on especially at the one-day level, where you’ve got three or four guys who can hit the ball out of the ground, particularly on these small grounds. We have a belief in the team and a fearlessness… That that’s how we want to play. You can also mishit balls as they fly out of the ground. We have some very good hitters of the ball, and equally we also have individuals who play normal cricket and are very important in the partnership. For us it’s a process of what we are doing in our cricket. It’s our sixth series in a row now that we have won. We are very excited about the processes that are allowing us success in different forms of the game.

Virender Sehwag’s batting

He’s had an incredible14-15 months of cricket for India, he’s played exceptionally well. He’s enjoying his cricket, he’s happy. He understands his role. We’ve certainly encouraged him to play in an aggressive fashion. He plays like that in Test cricket as well. And it certainly gets the momentum of the innings going. It’s great when he fires. It’s his natural game. Certainly won’t encourage him to go and block a ball.

The Indians’ gameplan

We play very differently. The one thing we do is we want to play aggressive cricket and we want to dominate the opponents. If one or two of our batters fire, we can do that. But it can work the other way too in that you can be put under pressure by playing too aggressively. So it’s a question of assessing the conditions and playing according to that, playing according to the bowlers you are going to be face. Our game strategy is to go out and dominate and bat at a good rate. With the ball we try and strike early and if it doesn’t work, you move to Plan B.

The wickets in New Zealand this time

I wasn’t here last time but when I was last here with the South African team we played on good wickets. The bowlers have said that if they put a little bit of effort in there is something in it for them as well. There’s definitely been reasonable bounce in most wickets, some better than the others. I was particularly impressed with Napier, I thought there was fantastic bounce there. It’s worked both ways. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the Test series where they try and leave a bit more on the wickets. But certainly the ball can swing in these conditions, it requires different skills. We know the success of our Test team has been the ability to adapt to any conditions they are confronted with. We look forward to any conditions.

If the bowling needs to improve

Absolutely... The New Zealand batsmen have batted really well in this series, and they have showed us some innovation in their batting. I mean we have had numerous bowlers meetings in terms of looking at areas where we want to bowl …

Ishant Sharma’s bowling

It’s been big for him. He needs to bowl different lengths here, to what he does in India. He’s a young guy and it’s a fantastic experience. When he comes back here in four years or whatever he’ll have a real good understanding of what he needs to do. He’ll have real good experience, that’s what it’s about. It’s about understanding what you need to do in certain situations and then going about it.

On Praveen Kumar’s role

I think it’s confidence, it’s really about confidence. We haven’t really found a seamer that we can say we’ll pick for the next 10 or 15 games… I think Praveen Kumar has stepped up and bowled quite well… Understood that he can swing the ball nicely and has good skills.

His experience with the side

It’s been incredible. I have had 14 months with the team and we have won six series in a row now. I am very excited about that in terms of what we have been able to achieve and I think this team can only get better. We gonna come unstuck every now and again, we gonna make mistakes. We showed that in the two T20 games, we made a few mental errors and it cost us. Even with the skill, you still need to think what you need to do. But this team has got great potential. There are a lot of young players as well, so for the next four to five years, it has got great potential. I have certainly enjoyed the last 14 months.

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