Videocon tri-series August 30, 2005

Chappell backs India's batsmen

Cricinfo staff

Chappell and Ganguly have plenty to think about before India's next game against New Zealand © Getty Images

Greg Chappell, the India coach, has defended India's batting performance which saw them set a modest target of 226 against an inexperienced Zimbabwe bowling attack, saying that criticism from outside was easier than performing in the middle.

"Sitting outside perhaps it is not easy to understand how difficult the wicket was in the centre. It was moving and slow as well and the bounce was spongy," Chappell was quoted as saying by PTI. "There has been some encouragement in the sense that all batsmen have managed to spend time in the middle, sometime or the other. It's all a question of bringing it together and building up on the start."

Chappell backed Sourav Ganguly, the Indian captain, who yet again failed to play a long innings. "I am pretty happy with the way he [Ganguly] has shaped up. He was looking confident. On the ball he was dismissed, usually he hits it for a single but today he wanted to hit it for four. These things happen in the game."

He also said that he understood that batting collapses such as the one against New Zealand where India were 44 for 8 happened occasionally. "Having played the game myself, I know how wickets can fall in a clutter. The best way to come out of it is to not yell at the batsmen. Maybe now that they have had this experience they know how to react to such situations in future."

Venugopal Rao who has two ducks in as many games in the series also recieved Chappell's support. "He [Venugopal] is a fine youngster with good attitude and he knows that the team is behind him," said Chappell. "Unfortunately, twice in two games he got two very good balls."

Though Ganguly termed India's victory by 161 runs over Zimbabwe as a much better performance than in their match against New Zealand, he still felt that there was scope for improvement. "We batted better and it should improve further as the tournament goes on," said Ganguly. "The team needs to put partnerships together at the top of the order and batsmen need to get hundreds to win games for us."

Ganguly admitted that India has lost their way during the middle overs but also said that the wicket at Harare was soft and spongy. "The wicket in Bulawayo was quicker but here the ball came slowly off the pitch."