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‘Competition is healthy’

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K. Srikkanth.
K. Srikkanth.

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: There is healthy competition in Indian cricket and the National Selection Committee Chairman K. Srikkanth and his team is pleased with the way things have shaped up in the last one year.

“India’s bench strength is improving. The youngsters are filling the gaps — (Murali) Vijay for Gautam (Gambhir), Virat (Kohli) for Yuvraj (Singh).

The contributions have come at crucial junctures. The competition is healthy and I think it is good for cricket,” said Srikkanth during an interaction with the media at the Palam ground here on Friday.

Delighted

Srikkanth was pleased at the Indian team winning matches overseas. “India has beaten teams in their own backyard. We have won at home on placid pitches and not on turning tracks. Some of the victories have come from difficult situations, which means the team has the ability to fight back,” he observed.

Reflecting on the two wins against Sri Lanka in the current One-Day series, Srikkanth noted, “The last two months have been good. I am happy with the way the team has performed. Winning without Dhoni and Yuvraj (in the last two matches) has shown that the bench strength is strong.”

In his opinion, the bowling department was balanced with some good spinners coming up. “Amit (Mishra) won you a Test match and we have been on the look out for some more talent. We have been watching the first-class matches and I must say there is plenty of talent in the spin department too.”

Pat for Kohli

He was lavish in his praise for Kohli, who hit a century against Sri Lanka in the Kolkata ODI. “He was simply brilliant. For a youngster, he handled the pressure superbly.”

He described Ishant Sharma as a very “talented” cricketer and said his loss of form was not a “cause for concern.”

On Coach Gary Kirsten, the former India Test captain said, “He is doing a great job.”

What more did he expect from the team? “I want the team to become the No. 1 in ODIs too. And nothing would be greater than winning the 2011 World Cup.”

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