‘Ganguly gave aggressive dimension to India-Australia rivalry’

Kolkata, March 12 (IANS) Australian pace bowler John Hastings on Saturday credited former India skipper Sourav Ganguly for giving an aggressive dimension to the India-Australia rivalry on the cricket field.

Between 2000 and 2005, Ganguly was a captain who would give back to the rival team at the first instance. He moulded an outfit which would fight till the very last ball of an innings. He also used intimidating tactics like he once had made the then Australian captain Steve Waugh wait at the toss.

“The Ganguly period probably would have been it (playing aggressively against Australia). He was the first one to take the game to Australia. He might have started that,” Hastings told media persons here.

Hastings said India and Australia both play their cricket with passion and confidence and therefore when the two sides lock horns sparks are bound to fly.

“I think now in the Indian side there is a lot of belief and confidence. I think it just comes out with the natural flair and with our side it is the same, we have a lot of belief, a lot of confidence and so there are clashes. I don’t think it’s about getting angry, these guys are just passionate about cricket. However, they are friends in the IPL, a lot of them play together,” he said.

The 30-year-old believes in order to succeed as a fast bowler in Indian conditions one needs to have a variety of deliveries up his sleeve and should know when to use them.

“It is difficult to bowl in Indian conditions — the slow flat surfaces. As a bowler you need to have all varieties. Two or three varieties like the slower balls and also the yorker. Lot of factors come in to play if you are on slow tracks. No margin of error,” he said.

The burly fast bowler also said the key here in India would be to bowl full and not get predictable.

“We will try and be fuller here. In South Africa, Australia you can bowl at a back of a length, but here it about bowling more at the stumps. For me it will be a little bit difficult since it’s not my natural length. Key is not getting predictable. See what the conditions are and then bowl accordingly,” he said.

Hastings also praised the likes of Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni who have been in great form of late.

“All of them are in good form. The batsmen are oozing with confidence. Kohli and Dhoni are fantastic players, they have a lot of good skills while batting, they can hit the ball anywhere they want. As a bowler it is difficult to eliminate the shots, try and not give them ball on the leg side. For me it will be to not get predictable,” he said.

Hastings added they haven’t had much success in the tournament as they did not have a settled T20 outfit.

“I think we haven’t had much success in the T20 World Cup is because we haven’t had a settled team. Some players get injured (at the wrong time). But now we are coming here at the back of a few good performances in South Africa so hopefully we will do good,” he said.

“Also (Steve) Smith and (David) Warner have a lot of experience in Indian conditions. We are expected to do better than what we had done in the past.”

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