This team is similar to 2003; settled, fearless: Ganguly

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Tapan Mohanta

Kolkata, February 8 (PTI) Former captain Sourav Gangulysees a lot of similarity between India''s 2003 and 2011 WorldCup squad and said just like eight year ago, the presentoutfit is also fearless and has a strong batting line-up whichmakes them one of the title contenders.

Ganguly feels with such a combination at its disposal,India has the potential to make it count in cricket''sshowpiece event, starting February 19 in Dhaka.

"Like 2003, this time also we are in the right frame ofmind, we have a settled side which has been doing well forsometime now. The team is equally good and strong and have thepotential to go all the way," Ganguly told PTI in an interviewhere today.

"We have a very strong batting line-up with a lot ofmatch-winners in the side. It''s a very strong side," he said.

The former left-hander, who came tantalisingly close toleading India to the World Cup title eight years ago in 2003,however refused to make any predictions for the upcomingmega-event.

"Personally, I don''t believe in terming any favourites.

It''s a tournament where last three games -- quarterfinalonwards -- will make a difference. Australia, India and SouthAfrica look very strong," said Ganguly, under whose leadershipIndia made the finals in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa,where they lost to Australia.

"I see Pakistan as darkhorse, Sri Lanka too can be verystrong in these conditions. Also, I expect Bangladesh to putup some good shows. They are an improved side now. But I seeall the top teams making the last eight stage. From there onit can be anybody''s game on a given day," he added.

Recalling his memories of 2003, Ganguly said, "We had avery good and strong side and we played well throughout thetournament. We beat every team except for Australia (in thefinal). We played fearless cricket. All players were in form,the way the team got together was excellent."

Ganguly also said that he did not regret his decision tobowl first at Australia in the title clash in 2003, where theywent on to lose the match by 125 runs after conceding a huge359.

"I still maintain it was not a wrong decision to putAustralia in to bat. It rained overnight, the condition wasdamp. If you remember, the match started late because ofseepage under the covers. It (the ball) did seam a bit in themorning but they outplayed us completely. We bowled short onthat pitch. It is always easier to look back and ponder over adecision," he said. More PTI TAP SSC MRM

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