Don’t underestimate Aussies, Ganguly warns teammates

Bangalore, October 6:

India’s Sourav Ganguly warned his side on Monday not to underestimate the touring Australians after they struggled with bat and ball during a drawn four-day match in Hyderabad over the weekend.

Ahead of the Test series starting on Thursday, Ganguly, a long-time nemesis of the Australians and a former India captain, said Ricky Ponting’s men remained formidable opponents. “Hope no one is getting excited by what happened in Hyderabad,” Ganguly told reporters in Chennai, where he was turning out for India ‘A’ against New Zealand ‘A’ to prepare for the four-Test series.

“Australia is a fantastic side, everyone knows that. They will be ready when the first ball is bowled in the first Test. We will have to be at our best to beat them. They are the world’s number one side, but I think India too will be equal to the challenge. “It should be a very good contest.”

Ganguly rattled Australia, especially former captain Steve Waugh, when he led India to a thrilling 2-1 win at home in 2001 and earned a credible 1-1 draw Down Under two years later.

Ganguly, 36, was regarded by the Indian media as a controversial selection for the first two Tests after being ignored for a trial match last month. But the experience of the 109-Test veteran with 6,888 runs forced the selectors to keep faith in Ganguly despite his lean trot with the bat during the recent 2-1 loss in Sri Lanka.

Ganguly, however, dismissed any talk of retirement and welcomed the pressure to perform in the series, for himself and the other seniors like Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. “When we play for India, there is always pressure,” he said. “Nothing else matters. At the end of the day, all that counts are the number of runs on the board.”