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IPL Staff in Bengaluru 16 April 2012 - 09:38pm IST

Ganguly aims to continue momentum

PWI skipper plays down talks of his team being favourites against RCB

They say a good captain can make an ordinary team look unbeatable. While the Pune Warriors India are, by no means, pushovers, they did struggle to find their feet in IPL 2011. However, this year has been different, at least so far. Out of four, PWI have won three matches, and Sourav Ganguly deserves a lot of credit for instilling belief in the team.

The Warriors’ fifth encounter is an away game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Ahead of the contest, their skipper looked relaxed and cheerful as he addressed the media. “We’ve played well – won three games out of four and have defeated two top teams in CSK and MI,” Ganguly said, simultaneously guarding against any complacency by adding, “It’s still early days in the tournament, and in this format things change very quickly.”

The skipper attributed his team’s successful start in the tournament to some fine performances from his bowlers. “The bowlers have done very well – in all our four games we didn’t let the opposition get past 160 on good batting surfaces. That shows that our bowling is at the top,” he said.
While the team has done well, the form of Indian batmen hasn’t been top-class so far. Robin Uthappa has done little besides a 33-ball 40 against KXIP at home. Manish Pandey has looked out of sorts.

However, true to his belief of backing and defending his players to the hilt, the skipper said, “I think Robin’s done very well. Scoring 40-odd runs is very good in T20 cricket. Don’t compare it with Test cricket. Getting 70s consistently is tough in this format.”

Ganguly himself has failed to convert handsome starts into a significant score, and he feels a good score is around the corner. “There are a few of us who’re getting quick 20s and 25s. But in this format, you’ve got to keep playing your shots. I’ve been hitting the ball well,” he said.
Known as one of the best captains, not only in India but the world over, Ganguly feels captaining in the Twenty20 format is not too different from getting the job done in Tests and one-day matches.

“T20 is not as fast as people think it to be. Only the duration is shorter. I’ve enjoyed it, and you enjoy more when your team wins.
“As a captain, you need to think ahead, in terms of your batting line-up, deciding who your death bowlers are going to be and such stuff. But that you have to do in every format,” Ganguly said.

Talking about the team composition for their game against RCB, Ganguly hinted at going with the winning combination. He also predicted a high-scoring contest after having a look at the Chinnaswami track. “Wicket looks good for batting. [Rajasthan Royals] got 195 in the last match. We’ll [be] playing on the same surface and I don’t think it will change much,” Ganguly conceded.

The hosts, RCB are down after losing three of their four games so far. But Ganguly doesn’t see that as an advantage for his team going into the game. “I don’t think in this format anyone is favourite. RCB has got terrific players, and hopefully, they don’t fire tomorrow as well,” the skipper said jokingly.

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