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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 14:03 GMT

India v Netherlands preview
Sourav Ganguly celebrates winning the final of the Nat West one-day series final
Ganguly's India enjoyed plenty of success in 2002
India v Netherlands, Paarl, Tuesday, 12 February, 1000 GMT

India's struggling batsmen will have the perfect opportunity to rediscover their form in their opening World Cup Group A match against the Netherlands.

Despite possessing the best batting line-up in the tournament, their preparations for cricket's showpiece have been nothing short of disastrous.

They were twice dismissed for 108 during their 5-2 one-day series defeat against New Zealand last month.

And their confidence suffered a further set-back with a humiliating 32-run defeat to provincial side KwaZulu-Natal last Thursday.

Captain Sourav Ganguly realises his side need to rediscover top form - and fast.

"We all have to fire," he said. "Every game is important."

Prior to their tour to New Zealand, the Indians had enjoyed a prosperous 2002.

They famously chased a mammoth 326 to claim the Nat West triangular series final against England and shared the ICC Champions Trophy with hosts Sri Lanka in September.

"As a team we have to look at the positives, the good things we have done last year," said Ganguly. "New Zealand has been our only poor performance."

"I am confident we will be back to our best in the World Cup."

The greatest concern for Indian fans has been Sachin Tendulkar's sudden loss of form.

The 'Little Master' recorded only two runs in three innings in New Zealand after missing the previous 11 matches through injury.

Sachin Tendulkar factfile
Born: 24/04/73
One-day runs: 11,546
World Cup matches: 22
World Cup runs: 1,059
World Cup average: 58.83

Tendulkar has also been at the centre of a furious debate about whether he should be restored to open the innings.

The man who replaced him at the top of the order, Virender Sehwag, has been the only batsman to score runs for India recently.

Critics have argued Ganguly should make way for Tendulkar, who has been batting at four, to open with Sehwag.

"We have spoken a lot about the batting order and have decided to have Sachin at three," Ganguly revealed.

Although the pressure is on the Indians, Dutch captain Roland Lefebvre remains realistic about his side's hopes.

"It is going to be extremely difficult," said the all-rounder.

"We don't want to be annihilated by the top countries. We want to go home with a win, hopefully against Namibia, which is the closest we can get to."

Links to more India stories


Have Your Say on India
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say
Have Your Say on the Netherlands
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say


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