Zaheer optimistic despite Melbourne humiliation

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Sydney, Dec 31 (UNI) Despite the 337-run thrashing in Melbourne, India's pace spearhead Zaheer Khan wanted to concentrate on the ''15 days of good cricket'' and asserted India would bounce back in the second Test starting in Sydney from Wednesday.

''Melbourne Test was the first game of the series and it happened in 2007. We have three more Tests to go,'' he said Zaheer said he was eager for a repeat his performance in the seven-wicket win against England in Nottingham.

''We've done well last time so why not this time?'' he said.

Melbourne Test was only the second time that Zaheer was bowling in a Test in Australia. He figured in the Brisbane Test in the 2003-04 tour of India Down Under but missed the rest of the series with a hamstring injury.

''Last time I was injured during the series, this time I was injured before. But it's all behind me now. I'm glad I played in the first Test and am looking ahead now.'' Zaheer echoed his captain Anil Kumble's defence of senior player Rahul Dravid, saying it was only a matter of time before the former captain found form.

''We always back our players. That's what is more important at this level. He's a great batsman and that's why he's ready to accept that. He's definitely due and we're all behind him.'' Meanwhile, the Indian team-management was hoping for Sourav Ganguly to recover from his illness. Ganguly was suffering from fever yesterday but team assistant manger MV Sridhar said the Bengal southpaw's condition had improved a day on.

UNI

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