Indian cricket team coach Gary Kirsten said the side was confident going into the ODI tri-series in Sri Lanka. He was speaking to the media here on Wednesday before the side left for the Emerald Islands.
“We defeated Sri Lanka 4-1 in the ODI series in Sri Lanka earlier this year,” he said. Queried about India’s ordinary record in tournament finals in Colombo, Kirsten replied, “We do not harp on the past. We look forward to the future.”
He conceded chasing at the Premadasa Stadium under lights was a tough ask – all the matches of the Compaq series will be day\night affairs at the venue — but expressed belief that India could successfully pursue a target if the need arose.
“Winning the toss and setting a target is a definite advantage at the Premadasa Stadium. But we would back ourselves in all situations.” Kirsten found no reason to complain about the quality of lights at this stadium.
Kirsten said New Zealand was a competitive side in ODI and Twenty20 cricket. He felt the return of Shane Bond had added teeth to the attack. “Anyone who can bowl at that kind of pace with control would enhance an attack,” he said.
On India being close to the No. 1 spot in the ODIs, he said the side had set goals for itself and played its cricket with plenty of belief.
Asked about some of the young batsmen encountering problems while coping with short-pitched bowling from the quicks, he said: “it is one of the areas we have been working on. It is for each individual to work out a plan for himself.”
Kirsten said the team was fresh after a six-week off-season break. “I am very excited about the next eight months. The boys appear to be physically and mentally recharged. The Corporate Trophy provided many of them good match practice ahead of the ODI series.”
Speaking about the addition of leg-spinner Amit Mishra to the ODI mix, Kirsten said, “He has been bowling well in Test matches. He should do well in the ODIs.” In the same breath, Kirsten added that the explosive Virender Sehwag would be missed at the top of the order.
The Indian team, as Devendra Prabhudesai, BCCI’s media relations and corporate affairs manager, revealed, left by a chartered Air India aircraft after its travel plans had to be redrawn. The aircraft flew to Bangalore to pick up skipper M.S. Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, R.P. Singh, Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh — all of them played in the Corporate Cup final — before departing for Colombo.