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September 11, 2005
Greg Chappell, the coach of the Indian side, has said that he is optimistic about the current team lifting their performance over the next few months and believes that they have improved in several areas since he took over.
Chappell admitted that India had slipped up in the two finals recently - against Sri Lanka and New Zealand - but felt that it was just a matter of time before the team turned the corner and the "whole atmosphere around the team" changed.
"We're seeing some positive results of the hard work we've been doing," Chappell told Times of India. "Unfortunately, it didn't show up in the final, but in the lead-up matches, I was happy with a lot of things we've been working on. Our fielding, bowling and aspects of our batting are starting to show the benefits of the work we've done. Players are fitter than they were when we started. They are working harder. So in all ways, we're seeing positive signs. It's not going to happen overnight but over a six-month period, hopefully we should be seeing a different looking Indian team."
India's woeful record in the finals of tournaments - losing 16 of the last 21 finals - was definitely a matter of concern for Chappell and he thought the "tension" surrounding these games was getting to the players. "The recent record in the finals plays on the minds of the players," he said." The fact that you guys are asking about it all the time - the media, the public are talking about it all the time. It increases the pressure on the players. If we're getting into the finals, we're giving ourselves a chance. And I've no doubt if we keep reaching the finals, we'll win some and then the whole atmosphere around the team will change."
Chappell admitted that Sourav Ganguly's continuing slump was bound to affect the "other areas of his game", but he said the bad patch was bound to end sometime soon. "I have no doubts he can make runs again," said Chappell, who was instrumental in Ganguly overcoming a previous slump before his successful tour of Australia in 2003-04. "He's well aware of what he needs to do," he continued. "There are some good signs on the way he's batted on this tour. Again, hard work is beginning to pay off and that's all he can or anyone of us can do in any stage of your career when things aren't going well. You've to focus and work on the areas that would give you the best chance of success."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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