Pakistan v India, 1st ODI, Karachi March 13, 2004

'Too close for comfort,' admits Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly's press conference after India's win at Karachi was a strange one. He could have easily contented himself with enjoying the moment of a big win - but instead chose to lash out against the ICC's rule that deals with teams not completing their overs in time:



Sourav Ganguly: "Still an open series" © AFP

On India's fine start
It's great to start the series with a win. It was too close for comfort. I think the last three overs brought us into the match. Also, Kaif's catch [to get rid of Shoaib Malik with ten needed for victory from eight balls] was extremely crucial."

On the ICC rule that merely fines teams for not completing their overs
At the break, when I went to the match referee to ask how many overs Pakistan had to get the target in, he said there would be no overs docked. I find that ridiculous. We weren't told about it in the meeting with the match referee [Ranjan Madugalle] yesterday, but irrespective of that, I think the rule is totally ridiculous. When you are in a tight situation, and when winning and not losing is so important, players don't mind foregoing money. In the '70s and '80s, people used to speak of the West Indies' slow over rate, that they bowled only 11 or 12 overs an hour. If this persists, I think that situation will return again."

On backing Nehra to bowl the last over, and the instructions given to him
The only instruction was not to give away ten runs! Ashish has a bit of experience, and Indo-Pak cricket is all about pressure. He showed in the last over that he was capable enough of handling the pressure.

On whether memories of Javed Mianded flashed by when Pakistan needed six runs off the last ball
Even before this series, I have maintained that I don't believe in history. In any case, Javed Miandad wasn't batting! After scoring 350 runs, only one side could have won, and that was us, though they did give us a scare.

On the Karachi crowd
The crowd was very loud, but very well-behaved. I couldn't even hear my teammates. I myself wasn't calm in the final stages, but we have planned hard and well coming into this game, and we executed those plans in the first 15 overs when we only gave away around 70 runs. The middle 30 overs, when they scored at more than seven an over, was disappointing, and that's what we have to work on now.

On Pakistan's bowling
They are a good bowling side. We just batted outstandingly well. Shoaib was quick in the first five or six overs, though I was a bit surprised when Inzamam asked us to bat first. If I had won the toss, I would have batted.

On the suggestion that this win gave India the edge
It's still an open series, there are four more matches to go.