Trophy wash-out an anti-climax, captains agree

After two days of one innings play and second session rain, the ICC Champions Trophy 2002 was shared between Sanath Jayasuriya's Sri Lanka and Sourav Ganguly's India

Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
After two days of one innings play and second session rain, the ICC Champions Trophy 2002 was shared between Sanath Jayasuriya's Sri Lanka and Sourav Ganguly's India. The result was an utter disappointment for the spectators, and this is one point both captains agreed on.
"It was disappointing. Both teams were very keen to play the final. Overall it was a disappointing last two days to the tournament," said Jayasuriya.
Ganguly said: "I am disappointed with the result. We bowled well in the afternoon to restrict them to 222 and got off to a good start, reaching 38 in eight overs. But then, you can't help the weather. Both days were disappointing but today was perhaps a bit more so than yesterday because we just had to get 223."
On how fair a reflection of the teams' performance the result was, the two captains differed greatly. "I think it was a fair result. We did well yesterday to get 244 and if there was no rain we would have had a good chance," said Jayasuriya.
"The wicket is getting lower and slower. We played on the same wicket yesterday. When the wicket is so slow it is not easy to bat. When the ball is new you can play a few shots but even 220 is a manageable score on this wicket. 225 to 240 was the kind of target we had in mind as the wicket was not easy at all."
When Ganguly responded to the same question, the look on his face, more than the words he said, conveyed that the Indian captain thought his team had been denied victory by the rain. "No, I don't know, I'm not too sure about that," he said, suggesting that the end result did not really reflect the true chances of both sides.
With yesterday's game being replayed today, Aravinda de Silva has had two farewells to limited overs cricket in Sri Lanka in as many days. "Aravinda has decided that this will be his last game on Sri Lankan soil," Jayasuriya said. "But I want him to continue both in the Tests and the one-dayers. I would like to have a chat with him about this."
The Sri Lankan skipper added: "It was disappointing to lose so many wickets in the first 15 overs. It was unfortunate that Aravinda got out when he did because he was batting well."
Meanwhile the Indian captain took a few minutes to talk about the plusses and minuses for the Indian team from this tournament. "We need to work on our fast-bowling department. Zaheer (Khan) was exceptional. We were a little unfortunate with Srinath as he had to come all the way and did not have even a day to prepare for the game. Zaheer, Harbhajan and Sehwag have been outstanding, Kumble was at his very best today so there weren't too many negatives really," he said.
Ganguly also spent time on the issue of Sachin Tendulkar, where he should bat and why his role in the side should be better understood.
"Sachin would have batted at number three yesterday as well, had he got the chance. He didn't get runs in two games, that happens with everybody but then a lot of people put a lot of unnecessary pressure on him so we thought it would be good for him to go with the ball being hard - that's what he's used to. Then he could score a few boundaries early on and the pressure would be off him.
"Another thing is that we know that Muralitharan is their key bowler. So some of the younger boys like Yuvraj, Kaif and even Mongia might find it a bit difficult against him. If Mongia already had a few runs under his belt when Murali comes on, he would be able to play him better. And I've played Murali for about seven years now and know his art a little better than the youngsters."
Recent reports have suggested that Tendulkar wished to return to batting at the top of the order. To this, Ganguly said: "He hasn't expressed his desire to me. We're playing really well at the moment. Sachin had a fantastic series batting at number four in England. He's a quality player and it's good for the team that he bats at number four."
Once again the captain dwelt on the fact that certain people are putting pressure on Tendulkar, without quite clarifying who he was talking about. "The people who put pressure on him should realise that we need to win as a team. We have to stop selecting individuals and making them stars; we need to pick an eleven and back them," he said.
Playing two games of this kind on the trot is always a gruelling affair, but Ganguly explained that there was enough at stake in this tournament to keep the team motivated. "It wasn't difficult to motivate ourselves. If you win this you would be the champions of the world and that is enough to motivate us. That's what saw us through today and I thought we did fantastically."