India vs Australia, 2nd Test: Sourav Ganguly wants hosts to 'play hard', praises Virat Kohli's leadership skills

New Delhi: Former captain Sourav Ganguly has backed the Indian cricket team to bounce back from the embarrassing defeat in the first Test at the hands of Australia, saying that the home team has the batters and bowlers to win the series.

"India has been brilliant in the last 10 months, winning almost everything but they will have to come back and play hard. You lose at home as well and many teams have lost. It was not the first time and you just need to get it out of the system, take a break and come back in Bangalore," Ganguly said.

File photo of Sourav Ganguly. AFP

File photo of Sourav Ganguly. AFP

"India don't need to worry. A four-Test series is a long series. I think (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja will do it. Umesh Yadav bowled superbly (in Pune). The best I have seen him bowl in a Test match. They (India) have the team and it is the belief. India will have to believe. India needs to use the DRS better," he was quoted as saying by India Today.

Asked about captain Virat Kohli's rare failure in the first Test in Pune, Ganguly said, "He (Kohli) is human and he had to fail one day. He failed in both innings in Pune. I think he played a little bit of a loose shot in the first innings outside the off stump but the Australians bowled him there. In the second innings, I think the game was already over. A 441-run target was a humongous task.

"Kohli will come back because he is a class act. His record against Australia is unreal. To watch those four back-to-back Test match hundreds against Australia in Australia (was surreal). I have not seen even Sachin Tendulkar do that. Getting four Test match hundreds in every venue on your second trip to Australia is a special, special effort."

He also praised Kohli for his leadership skills.

"I loved the press conference Virat did after the match (in Pune). He was not trying to hide anything. It was just that we didn't bat well and that is why we lost the Test match. At the same time, he said it is one-off and I believe the same," Ganguly said.

"Kohli has terrific leadership skills. I have a lot of faith in his leadership. He is honest which is very important and his message to his team is very clear."

About the Pune pitch, Ganguly said, "When you prepare such pitches as the one in Pune and I know the curator was not happy, then you give average bowlers a chance and I am not belittling Steven O'Keefe.

"But he becomes a wicket-taker which he won't be normally on a batting pitch. India need to prepare good pitches, take the Test match today four and then take the game forward.


Published Date: Mar 02, 2017 09:59 pm | Updated Date: Mar 02, 2017 09:59 pm