Bangladesh v India, 2nd test, Chittagong, 4th day December 20, 2004

'Ashraful played the best innings of the series' - Ganguly

At the end of the second Test, with the series ending a complete whitewash, there was still something left to take away for Bangladesh. For India, of course, the positives were many, and none more so than Irfan Pathan, the Man of the Series. Sourav Ganguly, Dav Whatmore and Pathan spoke to the press.



Sourav Ganguly: 'I'm sure we will go into the Pakistan series with a lot of confidence' © AFP

Sourav Ganguly

On whether this series would help India in the forthcoming series against Pakistan

I thought we played well. I think we played well in Test cricket over the last couple of years. I don't think this series has any relevance to the Pakistan series, that is still two months away. We will all play some domestic cricket before that series. We've beaten Pakistan in Pakistan last year. I think confidence is the key and I'm sure we will go into that series with a lot of confidence.

On what India could have taken from this series

We just try and keep on winning. At the end of the day it is Test cricket. For us it was important to win these two Test matches, for guys to pick wickets and score runs.

On Bangladesh's second innings collapse
I thought the resistance would be a bit better, looking at the way they played in the first innings. We picked 12 wickets in the last session, that's the way it goes.

On enforcing the follow-on
I spoke to the bowlers and asked if they were fresh and fit enough to come back and bowl again. They were, so taking their point of view we decided to bowl again.

On Mohammad Ashraful
I think he is a quality player. He played an outstanding innings, played shots on all sides of the wicket, off both front foot and back foot. We peppered them with short stuff early in the morning but he saw off that phase and then played one of the best Test knocks I've seen. I'm sure he is going to serve Bangladesh cricket for a long time. Ashraful played the best innings of the series.

On experimenting a bit more in the one-dayers
We are looking to give all the newcomers [some] games because we haven't played one-day cricket in the last 3-4 months. Our one-day cricket needs to be lifted and people need to get an opportunity.

On how the Test series will impact the one-dayers
I believe in cricket every day is a new day. What you did in the last game, whether it is good or bad, has no relevance on the next game. We will have to wait and see how they play in one-day cricket. I don't think it is fair to make a comment or statement on their one-day cricket on the basis of how they have done in these two Test matches.

On batting well this year but not scoring hundreds
It's happened to me a lot this year. I've played well in Test matches this year, whatever opportunity I've had, I've been able to get runs but I've not been able to convert them into hundreds. It's disappointing because you look forward to getting hundreds. I hope next time when I make a big score I go on to get a hundred.



Irfan Pathan: 'I'm enjoying every bit of it' © AFP

Irfan Pathan

On the Bangladesh tour
It's been a wonderful experience here in Bangladesh so far. I'm happy with my bowling performance and the way things are going. I've been bowling well in the last year and I've got the reward.

On his cricketing journey in the last year
In the last one year I've learnt so many things. I've seen good performances, I've seen bad performances. I've seen my injuries. It's been a wonderful experience for me in international cricket so far.

On addressing press conferences day-in and day-out
These press conferences and awards are not going to come every day. Whenever you are asked to do something, you've to enjoy every bit of it. I'm not going to get five wickets every time, and when I don't nobody is going to ask me for a press conference. It's good to be asked question and give answers. I'm enjoying every bit of it.

Dav Whatmore

On the positives Bangladesh can take from this series
I think what we have seen is the potential to do well. I think the difference between the two sides in the series really is the Man of the Series, Irfan Pathan. I think it's clear to see that we have to resist the new ball. We are going to have to play better to get a score that is competitive.

On the forthcoming Zimbabwe tour
The realistic result for us against Zimbabwe is to win. But in saying that, in playing better teams like India I think we need to show bits and pieces, which I think we did. Taking away our second-innings batting, in the first two-and-a-half days, it was a test of character both in bowling and batting. The boys responded very very well and I'm sure we all agree. We just dug in for the last 28 overs. So there is more positives to take out of this game than the previous game.

On playing against India
Every game is a learning curve for us. It's a great experience to play aganst a full Indian team. We're very grateful to the Indians for having come over with a full team.

On what to expect in the one-dayers
It's all a package in a one-day game and games can change very quickly so I wouldn't discount the fact that Bangladesh may scare the opposition a bit.

On Ashraful's innings
We are all priviliged to see the innings. We are all lucky to see a 124-ball hundred. Firstly I thought he probably batted better from 100 to 150. It's nice to know there is somebody in the group who is capable of those things. What he himself would know and would want is the consistency. I would rank it up there with all the hundreds I have seen. His shot-making was something extra special and he was full of confidence.

On the frustrations he feels as a coach
I'm very lucky to be part of a group that is on a learning curve. They are able to give personal bests and Ashraful and Talha Jubair are examples and also Aftab Ahmad who gave his best. Yes, there is frustration on one hand but there is potential to gain a lot of happiness with the group who want to improve.

On batting well in the first innings and crashing in the second
Test matches are about the game but you got to keep coming up with performances. The team is growing into that. To be very honest, if you have a close look at that the half hour leading up to being asked to bat again, you will all agree that the team had done enough to avoid the follow on. It was desperately unlucky not to get that extra seven runs.

Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo.