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  • I’m here to just play cricket: Ganguly

    "I know I'm not going to get picked or dropped because of how many runs I score or don't score in this tournament. I'm not trying to make any statements, I just want to play," says Sourav Ganguly in an interview to The Indian Express.

    After a long workout in the gym, a washed out Sourav Ganguly drops on the sofa and points at the pouring rain through the glass window. "I came from Kolkata to escape this, and look what I've found here. These definitely aren't good days for me," he says with a laugh.

     

    Spending the afternoon at the five-star hotel wasn't what Ganguly had in mind when he surprised every one, including the local organisers, by asking for a slot in the annual JP Attray one-day tournament in Chandigarh this week.

     

    Ganguly and Punjab have developed a strange relationship of late. On a cold, misty day almost two years ago, he had inspired Bengal to victory in a Ranji Trophy match at Mohali in front of a few thousand fans who were strangely cheering for the former India

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  • Karthik keeps his eyes on the ball

    Dinesh Karthik is aware that the tough climb has started again; quite familiar with the comeback route, the wicketkeeper and opening bat speaks about the importance of an India A outing in the backdrop of a disappointing Sri Lanka series.

    Dinesh Karthik is aware that the tough climb has started again; quite familiar with the comeback route, the wicketkeeper and opening bat speaks about the importance of an India A outing in the backdrop of a disappointing Sri Lanka series. Excerpts:

     

    You made a great comeback to international cricket after being dropped in 2006.

     

    Yes, things actually turned out to be good then. I was scoring runs and the best part was my consistency. I had a good South Africa tour as an opener, followed by England.

     

    So what went wrong after that?

     

    I don't know, I can't point out any specific area. I had just one bad series but before that I have scored runs and kept wickets well too. Sometimes things don't go as you want to but that doesn't means that one

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  • Gabbar inspired me in World Cup final: Amarnath

    "I remembered the famous dialogue of Sholay that jo dar gaya so mar gaya. I told myself that it is my day and I have nothing to lose," said Jimmy Amarnath, in an interview to the Indian Express.

    Hero of India's historic World Cup triumph in 1983, Mohinder Amarnath says he drew inspiration from a dialogue of Bollywood blockbuster Sholay to get over the jitters of playing against two-time champions West Indies in the finals.

    "I remembered the famous dialogue of Sholay that jo dar gaya so mar gaya. I told myself that it is my day and I have nothing to lose," said Amarnath, who was adjudged man of the match in both the semifinal and the final of the World Cup.

    25 years after the historic triumph, Amarnath described the Indian dressing room's atmosphere before the big match as calm and said his underdog team was in high spirits, as it had nothing to lose.

    "We were very relaxed on the final day. Not a single player was panicky. We were playing together for quiet some time hence there was

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  • ‘IPL removed feeling of insecurity’

    Talking to The Indian Express, Shreevats Goswami, who played a key role in the Indian U19 team's World Cup triumph in Malaysia earlier this year, asserts that the IPL episode is the best thing to the country's young guns.

    Two days after young Bengal stumper Shreevats Goswami was named the IPL's under-19 player, the stylish opener is still excited over the achievement.

     

    Back home, young Shreevats reckons that the IPL experience has helped him and other wide-eyed youngsters who took part in the Twenty20 tournament to get over big-match "jitters" and the "feelings of insecurity".

     

    Speaking to The Indian Express, Shreevats said: "After playing in the IPL, that feeling of insecurity is gone. As a newcomer trying to make a mark on the circuit, you feel a little insecure. But after rubbing shoulders with the greats of international cricket, getting to interact with them, and sharing the same stage, that fear is gone. I am more confident today."

     

    Shreevats, who played a key role in the

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  • Parthiv banks on batting to break the jinx

    "I have worked hard on my batting. I knew that to play a big innings, I had to play straight. So I practised a lot with plastic balls, and that paid off," says the 23-year old Patel in an interview to the Indian Express.

    The photograph of the chubby faced debutant Parthiv Patel walking through a guard of honour after saving a Test against England in 2002 is still preserved in the wicketkeeper's album.

    It was a moment that was to live on for years. But, ironical as it may be, the architect of that euphoric script slowly began to fade away from public memory. Thrown into the grind of domestic cricket after a series of bloopers, he was suddenly playing to empty stands. Then in 2006, he made a comeback into the Indian team touring Pakistan, and was dropped subsequently. He says that was the toughest time of his career. "I was quite low then. I didn't feel like going to the ground. But I quickly picked myself up. My family was a big source of support," Parthiv says.

    Time to shine

    After

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  • ‘Injuries make players insecure’

    The Indian team have always had a bunch of individuals who know that they've reached a certain level and desperately want to do better, says bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad in an interview to the Indian Express.

    It was soon after India's return from the 2007 World Cup in West Indies, with optimism at its lowest ebb, that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to appoint Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh as the bowling and fielding coaches, respectively, of the Indian team. India went on to win the Test series in England, the Twenty20 World Championships and the one-day series in Australia. Meanwhile, Gary Kirsten came on board as the team's new coach. Prasad spoke to The Indian Express about the last year, and the road ahead. Excerpts...

    How has the journey been as a coach, first with the U-19 team and now as India's bowling coach?

    It's been a wonderful graduation. The maturity levels, naturally, were different and hence the interactions, too, were so. The Indian team

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  • I want to be the trump card for my team: Chawla

    Leggie Piyush Chawla chats with The Indian Express to share his views on his future with the Indian team, his team's title chances and Yuvraj's captaincy.

    Twenty20 is deemed cruel on the spinners but Piyush Chawla has been able to defy that theory. With 14 wickets against his name, the 19-year-old boy from Aligarh has been a key to Kings XI Punjab's fortunes in the IPL, not to mention his cameos with the bat towards the end of the innings. On the eve of his side's final league match against Rajasthan Royals, Chawla chats with The Indian Express to share his views on his future with the Indian team, his team's title chances and Yuvraj's captaincy.

     

    Excerpts:

     

    On being the next big leg-spin hope for Team India after Anil Kumble

     

    I am not thinking much about that but Anil bhai has been a great teacher for me throughout. I have been lucky enough to take bowling tips from him. I have grown watching him play for so many years where he was considered a trump card in crucial games and I

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  • “In sport you win sometimes, and lose others”

    Sri Lankan star Kumar Sangakkara speaks about watching the action from the sidelines as also the corporate culture of the billion dollar league.

    Injury has forced Punjab King's XI wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara to watch the last few games from the dugout. But the man who is known to be one of international cricket's most articulate speakers has his ears to the ground when it comes to issues that have cropped up in the inaugural Indian Premier League. In conversation with The Indian Express, he speaks about watching the action from the sidelines as also the corporate culture of the billion dollar league.

    Excerpts:

    Was it tough to sit out?

    Yes, it is very tough especially when you have been playing continuously for many years. But it was exciting too, since for the first time I saw a bunch of youngsters perform. Marsh has been exceptional and so was Jayawardene. Yuvraj has returned to form, while Sreesanth and Pathan have been consistent. At times my respect for these players gets

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  • I am always under the scanner, says Ganguly

    Looking back at the period since I made my comeback, I have scored over 3,000 runs in both formats of international cricket, more than any other Indian batsman. Yet, I am under the scanner, and I just don't know why, asks the Bengal southpaw.

    He is not known to mince words when it comes to lashing out at critics. So, when confronted with the question of his pedestrian showing with the bat in the ongoing IPL carnival, Sourav Ganguly went on the counter-offensive at the pre-match press meet, lamenting that he's always been the subject of criticism despite his good performances in recent months. Excerpts from the high-intensity media interaction:

    You haven't had a good time with the bat in the IPL so far, and are now under the scanner...

    I am always under the scanner, I don't know why. Despite doing well, I have always been under the scanner, all the time. Looking back at the period since I made my comeback, I have scored over 3,000 runs in both formats of international cricket, more

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  • Twenty20 is good to spread cricket: Sarwan

    The best thing about IPL is that you get a chance to share the dressing room with players from different backgrounds and understand each other's game, says West Indian vice-captain Ramnaresh Sarwan.

    There is something about the way he smiles. A few years back, when Glenn McGrath fired a barb at the West Indian vice-captain Ramnaresh Sarwan after being hit for 21 runs in two overs in a Test at Antigua, Sarwan stood his ground. On Wednesday, as the rest of the Kings XI Punjab team busied themselves with fielding drills, Sarwan, the latest to join the team, began with a catching drill with Piyush Chawla.

    And, when that was over, he flashed a smile reminiscent of the one he had for McGrath during that tour. "I am looking forward to playing McGrath on Sunday," Sarwan said, and spoke about the IPL season.

    Excerpts:

    On McGrath

    McGrath is a world-class bowler and I think, even after retirement, he can give batsmen around the world a tough time. Though we had a go on the field, but off it

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