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Conquering Keenan jinx drives India, England eye a Houdini

Written by: Staff
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Jamshedpur, Apr 11 (UNI) For India it's about a mini-series win and breaking the Keenan jinx, for England it's a question of salvaging some semblance of pride, but collectively they will have to fight a sweltering heat that's up and rising when the two clash at the Keenan Stadium here for the sixth ODI tomorrow.

The wet and cloudy Guwahati looks like a distant dream, as the teams walked into the Keenan stadium that felt like a burning cauldron. Its 44 degree celcius and if the met office is to be believed then the mercury will show no let-up in its upward swing tomorrow.

Under such gruelling conditions the single most important factor for either team will be to counter heat and the one that will be able to come to terms with the hostile conditions first will call the shots tomorrow.

A piece of stats that the English team would like to remember is that India have lost six out of the eight games they have played here, with one draw against England itself. Though stats don't make matches, the touring team could clutch on to this as a last straw for the drowning.

However, Virender Sehwag nipped any such fear in the bud stating, ''We have won in Ferozshah Kotla after eight years and we hope to end the Keenan jinx tomorrow.'' The non-starter at Guwahati saw the commencement of a mini-series within the seven match ODIs. The series having gone India's way 4-0, stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag declared, ''We are treating the last three ODIs as a mini series that we would like to win at least 2-0.'' So Keenan will now witness the first of the remaining two ODIs that Team India would like to win and in the process court history more than once. A win here will help the team break an Indian record of winning eight matches in a row, a feat they touched when they slaughtered the English team in Kochi. It will also take them within the striking distance of the first ever clean sweep of an ODI series since cutting their teeth into the shorter version of the game in 1974.

Experiments will continue in the team, following the rotation policy set by Coach Greg Chappell. Some of the senior players are expected to cool their heels giving a chance to the young guns to fire.

While Venugopal Rao, who has been a passenger with the Indian team for the series, is widely tipped to come into the playing eleven, so is Robin Uthappa, who replaced Gautam Gambhir into the team. Suresh Raina is in the midst of a purple patch. So it will be a real juggle for Sehwag.

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