India, S. Africa arrive in Bangladesh

DHAKA APRIL 9. South African and Indian cricket teams arrived here on Wednesday, with one looking for a fresh start and the other hoping for a sure win in an upcoming limited-overs triangular series that also features host Bangladesh.

"This tournament will be a good opportunity and great chance to make a fresh start," South Africa's new captain, Graeme Smith, told reporters at Dhaka.

Smith said that after facing criticism for South Africa's disastrous performance in the World Cup, where host South Africa did not make it to the super six, the players were hoping to show their potential.

"We come here to see how we can really play. The players are hungry for a good performance. They want to prove themselves," Smith, 22, said.

The triangular series, starting on April 11, will be Smith's first assignment after taking over as captain from Shaun Pollock following the team's failure at the World Cup. South Africa will also play a two-Test series against Bangladesh from April 24 to May 5.

"It's a challenging job to lead South Africa, but I am happy and proud and hopeful to exercise my duty as per expectation," said Smith.

Smith's Indian counterpart, Sourav Ganguly, said his team was playing well as a unit and is used to high expectations from the fans.

"We have come to win. We have some outstanding new players. You will see their performance on the field," Ganguly said.

Ganguly denied recent media reports that he wanted to give up his post. "I am enjoying being captain and want to continue," he said.

India will be missing some star players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Ashish Nehra because of injuries sustained during the World Cup, where India lost the final to Australia.

Leipus' absence could be a problem

Our Special Correspondent adds from Kolkata:

Sourav Ganguly was a picture of confidence before leaving for Dhaka.

Speaking to the media at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International airport, he thought the young team had tremendous potential but lacked in experience.

"It will be a good challenge for the side. We hope to do well,'' he said.

Ganguly, however, felt the absence of physio Andrew Leipus could pose a major problem for the team.

"The humidity factor at Dhaka should be taken into account and here we would miss Leipus". Leipus had to rush back to South Africa because his wife met with an accident.

Ganguly, who first opted out of the tournament owing to back problem and later agreed to play following a request from the Board president, felt the young South African team could be a good challenge for the Indian team, also packed with young blood.

The Indian skipper said team's vice-captain Virender Sehwag should not be affected by the new responsibility. "He should play the way he plays".

Ganguly confirmed that Sehwag would open the batting and hinted that he would decide whether to join Sehwag at the top only after seeing the condition at Dhaka.

Ganguly was very hopeful of the Mumbai medium pacer Avishkar Salvi and Delhi opening batsman Gautam Gambhir coming good.

"I hear both have done extremely well in the recent tour of the West Indies. They should do well at Dhaka as well,'' he said.

The team manager, Mr. Gautam Dasgupta, the team was a blend of youth and experience. He hinted that Leipus was likely to join the team after the first three matches.

"Till then physical trainer Andrew Le Roux would double up as physio,'' he said.

The team's coach Ashok Malhotra felt that it was a nice opportunity for the youngsters to prove their potential.