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Last Updated:  Sunday, 23 March, 2003, 20:27 GMT
Q&A: Sport Interactive's cricket editor
Paul Grunill joined the live chat after Australia clinched the World Cup with a brilliant win over India, to answer all your cricket questions.

Hopeless_india: Should Ganguly be sacked now?

Most definitely not, in my opinion. He did a first-rate job through the previous rounds and he's not the first captain to make the wrong choice after winning the toss. Remember Nasser Hussain at the Brisbane Test match.

Commentator: Can Tendulkar still be a great player if he is not a big-match player?

To say Tendulkar is not a big-match player is very harsh. Faced with such a huge target he was forced to go for his shots - unfortunately for India, he didn't come off today.

Nag_Metts1: What is the secret of Aussies enduring success. They won 3 WC's now; under Border, Steve Waugh, Ponting.

I would say the secret of their success in this tournament was their unquenchable team spirit. They hunt as a pack in the field, the bowlers expect a wicket with every ball, the fielders are ready for any half chance that comes their way, and they have some superb batsmen.

Not only that, they are prepared to tough it out on the big occasion as Martyn did today despite a broken finger.

Proud_kenyan1: Kenya did well in this World you think it was a one-off or do you see Kenyan cricket improving from here?

You are right - Kenya did exceedingly well. But their long-term prospects at international level depends on how many youngsters they can attract into the game. Tikolo, Odumbe etc can't go on for ever.

Kommentator: So Paul, what do you think happened to the pretty steady Indian pace attack today?

Nehra did reasonably well, I thought. Zaheer failed to stick to the lines and lengths which brought him so much success in previous games and Srinath perhaps felt the effects of playing his 11th game of the tournament.

Jyoti_s: Paul what do u think of Ganguly's decision to field first?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I'm sure he wishes he could make the call again. It gave Australia a psychological edge right from the off. But Ganguly emerges from this tournament with a lot of credit. Nobody could have beaten Australia today after a batting performance like that.

Bj_sahay: Was it great batting or indifferent bowling?

Forgive me for sitting on the fence, but I'd have to say a bit of both. I fancied Hayden to make a hundred after an indifferent tournament by his standards, but as things turned out it was Ponting who came good.

Hopeless_india: Thanks Paul. Did you expect Australia to win by huge margin?

No - in fact, let me exclusively reveal here that I thought India would win the final. I guess several million Indians and I got it wrong.

INDIA: Paul, Don't you think the World Cup Final should be a best of three?

No I don't - losers shouldn't be given a second chance with such a prize at stake.

Cak_cak: what will it take to beat Australia? Do teams have to wait until their best players retire?

If I knew the answer to that I'd be able to replace Duncan Fletcher as England coach. I do think that until teams can match Australia's mental strength, they will always be second best. That said, India do have an exceptionally talented side.

DC_DESI: Paul, who should be the man of the match today? Ponting or one of the openers for giving a good start?

Ponting, definitely. I'm old enough to remember Viv Richards' century in the 1979 final and Ponting's was better, in my opinion.

Badmash_hero: Paul, what exactly is the problem with English cricket, the team never seems to gear itself up, will things get better in the future?

I think the England team is continuing to improve despite the results this winter. We need to find a wicket-taking spin bowler from somewhere and a new ball pairing capable of replacing Gough and Caddick. James Anderson looks good, but we shouldn't expect too much from him at this stage.

Aussie_dude: Is it the mental toughness, psychological approach or just the ability of Australian cricketers that make them so different from others?

A combination of all three - but as I said in a previous Match Talk, cricket is cyclical. This period of dominance won't last forever - there aren't many youngsters in the Aussie line-up.

Shu: Do you think people having so much hopes on Sachin did affect his batting today?

No - he made one error of judgment and that was his downfall. Whatever his fans might think, he's only human.

Aussie_dude: I had a question about the English team, I thought they were very unlucky to have been the victim of ridiculous tournament point system because they were the only ones who came close to beating Australia?

I'm sure England's supporters would agree with you. Seriously though, it was the decision not to go to Zimbabwe which ultimately cost England. Australia beat them because Bevan and Bichel batted superbly under extreme pressure.

Sri_krish: Paul do you think the over-confidence factor will come up, like 1982 when the West Indies lost. Could the Aussies suffer the same fate?

Nothing that has happened so far would suggest to me that Australia will become complacent. But their top order has not been firing on all cylinders and I don't think they are unbeatable - no team is.

A_Punjabi: Will the young Indians gain from this defeat to lift the next World Cup?

That's a tough one - four years is a long time in cricket. Gazing into my crystal ball, I think India have the nucleus of a World Cup-winning team, but they need to find a replacement for Srinath and Kumble.

Also, I think Yuvraj Singh needs to play Test cricket as soon as possible to help him tighten up his technique - he's a fantastic talent but he needs to translate the cameos into centuries.

Nag_Metts1: Paul: do you find any major difference between Ganguly and Kapil from Indian captaincy point of view?

I think Kapil Dev relied a lot on his own personal performance to inspire the team. Although, the 1983 win was a magnificent achievement, they were aided by the complacency of the West Indies batsmen. This Indian side is much stronger - but I bet they wished they had Sunil Gavaskar available (and Kapil).

Hopeless_india: Paul if you had been in the place of Ganguly would you have taken such a decision to bowl first?

He knows a lot more about pitches than I do. If I'd been about to face Brett Lee - I don't think I'd have gone out to the middle at all.

Hopeless_india: Paul, who would you rate as best player and best match from this world cup?

The best match was perhaps the first one between South Africa and West Indies - it seems ages ago now - or perhaps England against Australia. As for the best player - Tendulkar won the award, so you can't argue with that. But I'd say Brett Lee was the most exciting.

Mick_Vancur: The Super Six gave the Aussies a rails-run to the semi-finals. Is this system really fair ? Or should everyone in the Super Six start from scratch ?

The system is flawed, teams should not carry points through from games against non-qualifiers. To have a set-up where one team starts the Super Sixes seven or eight points behind one of the others seems very unfair.

Indy_Jones: What are India's chances in Australia this October test series? (barring Srinath retiring, there should not be many changes to the team)

Not great if Australia's main players are fit and available i.e. Gillespie. The Aussies will miss Warne, however, so there is hope.

That's all from me for now, I'm afraid. Thanks for all your messages and I look forward to chatting with you at the 2007 Cricket World Cup!


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