India v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Ahmedabad April 11, 2005

'Can't say anything till the game begins' - Ganguly

Sourav Ganguly and Inzamam-ul-Haq practised for a couple of hours under a searing sun with their teams before they came for the press conference, and both men seemed tired of the whole grind - and understandably so. How many times do you have to say that you'll decide on the team after looking at the pitch? How often do you have to defend your own batting form? How can you make these waiting journalists understand that the nuggets of wisdom - or sensational information - that they are looking for are simply not there. Anyway, here's what the two men had to say:

Sourav Ganguly is hoping that the dog days of summer will end soon for him © AFP

Sourav Ganguly

On the team
We shall decide after we take a look at the wicket tomorrow.

On Lakshmipathy Balaji
He says that he is better. He'll have a bowl at the nets, and then we'll find out.

On changes in the batting order
Not at this stage of the series.

On the pressure on him from the media
When you don't make runs, criticism will happen. But I have also got some support in the press. It's my responsibility to score runs, and I have done just that for a number of years, and I believe I can do it again.

On what this ground means to him
I have made hundreds on this ground, and not just one-day hundreds but also two Test hundreds. If I'm lucky, I'll do it again.

On the heat
It is definately a factor. But it was hottest at Kochi, where we played the first one-dayer. The rest of the venues have been hot, but not that hot.

On his problems with the over-rate
I've had a word with the bowlers and fielders. It's not just about the captain, it's a team game. We all have to hurry up.

On the pitch
One can't say anything until the game begins. In Visakhapatnam we thought 250 would be a good score, we ended up making 357.

On Rana Naved-ul-Hasan
He bowled well in the last game. But we got big scores in the first two.


On Shoaib Malik bowling again
It will take a game or two for him to get back into his rhythm. It is good that our best allrounder has started bowling again.

On Ahmedabad
Well, we've gone from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the ground. It seems nice so far.

On the security
It looks good. We have no anxiety about playing here. None of our boys have seen anything that gives us reason to worry.

On his wearing his heart on his sleeve in this series
You know how hot it is in the gallery. It's hotter on the field. I'm a human being, I get affected.

No, no, on the joy and exuberance that he shows
Earlier you would complain that I don't show enough emotion.

On the pitch
It looks like a spinning track.

On the toss
Don't go by the toss. But what does happen is that the heat is so much that the team fielding first gets affected by it, and that affects their batting. Also, the pitch does get 10 to 20% harder to bat on.

Amit Varma is contributing editor of Cricinfo. He writes the independent blogs, India Uncut and The Middle Stage.