Lack of practice match cost India dearly: Ganguly

December 18th, 2010 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Gautam Gambhir New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) Former captain Sourav Ganguly said Saturday that Indian team played poorly in the first Test against South Africa as they did not have any practice match to acclimatise themselves to the conditions ahead of the three-match Test series. “Players like Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Jaydev (Unadkat) are all playing their first Test matches in South Africa. They can only get better with experience and rise to the occasion. Also the fact that you entered straightaway into a Test match without playing a practice game made things even more difficult,” said Ganguly after the final day of Bengal’s Ranji Trophy Super League match against Railways.

Ganguly defended Gambhir and said: “Gautam is a class player and he will definitely make a comeback. You have to understand that there is always a start.”

Ganguly, who scored a fighting half century in Johannesburg in India’s only Test victory in South Africa in the 2006-07 series, felt that the conditions became difficult for the Indians as they didn’t get much time to acclimatise.

“It was an important toss to lose if you take the conditions under consideration. The pitch was a bit damp after rain and it was difficult conditions for batting,” Ganguly said.

Ganguly said Indians will now have to get their act right quickly, to make a comeback in the match.

“In this Test match they already have their backs to the wall. So the quicker they can apply themselves and make comeback, it’s better for the team. After Centurion, they would be next playing in Durban which is another fast deck,” he said.

Asked if pace spearhead Zaheer Khan’s absence has cost the team, Ganguly said: “Zaheer is only a human. He will get injured. But if someone gets injured, it gives an opportunity to another player.”

“Even if Zaheer had played this match, Ishant and Sreesanth needed to bowl well from the other end. Tomorrow, Harbhajan might also get injured. Then one would expect Ravichandran Ashwin to do well just like the young Tamil Nadu offie did against New Zealand in the recently concluded ODI series.”

Ganguly also expressed his desire to play for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“I will be up for auctions. Where I would play is not in my control although I would love to play for Knight Riders as I have done well for them last year,” he said.

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