May 18, 2001

Ganguly's Indians in an upbeat mood

Sourav Ganguly feels that it is important India do not put too much pressure on themselves before the tour of Zimbabwe. The media has been increasingly focusing on the fact that India have not won abroad for long and Ganguly brushed this off at a press conference at the end of the six day preparatory camp in Bangalore on Friday.

"We are in a very positive frame of mind and there's no reason why we should not do well in Zimbabwe," said the Indian captain while speaking to pressmen. Echoing the views of selection committee chairman Chandu Borde, Ganguly justified the inclusion of five mediumpacers in the squad,

"We've taken into consideration the condition of pitches and the weather in Zimbabwe and we thought it was sensible to take five seamers with us," said Ganguly. "I'm happy with the composition of the team, no complaints," added the skipper.

Talking about the preparatory camp, Ganguly asserted that the camp was a great success. "The facilities here have been excellent and we've had a fruitful camp," began the Bengal southpaw. "The focus was on fitness and team building and that has worked very well for us. After all, we have a hectic schedule ahead of us and fitness is a key area," said Ganguly.

On a completely different note, Ganguly went on to add that several players and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were indeed considering putting a central contract system in for certain players. The rumour mills have been working over time on this account, and finally some light has been shed on the matter. The joint secretary of the Mumbai Cricket Association Ratnakar Shetty was present on Thursday at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and reportedly held meetings with Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar.

Ganguly made it clear that no headway had been reached on the topic of player contracts. "It's too early to say anything now. We have begun the process of talking to the Board, but there is still a long way to go," began Ganguly. Pressed further on the subject, Ganguly was crisp and to the point. "When the time is right everything will come out," concluded the Indian skipper.

In all, the camp at Bangalore has been an overwhelming success as far as the players are concerned. Practice went smoothly, team selection was without hiccups and a dialogue was initiated on the contract system. Zimbabwe ahoy!