Prasanna, Borde predict series sweep for India in NZ

Former cricketers Erapalli Prasanna and Chandu Borde feel Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men will sweep the ongoing series.

updated: March 22, 2009 08:33 IST
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New Delhi:

Former cricketers Erapalli Prasanna and Chandu Borde, who were part of the Indian team that last won a Test series in New Zealand in 1968, feel Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men will sweep the ongoing series with Sachin Tendulkar playing a vital role in the triumph.

"On the basis of present form, I can say that India may clean sweep or win by 2-1. There is no reason why we can't win from here," said the former off-spinner, who took 25 wickets in four Tests 41 years ago when India last recorded a series win on the Kiwi soil.

Dhoni's team beat New Zealand by 10 wickets in the first Test to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, taking the first step towards possibly the first series triumph in New Zealand since 1968.

Borde, who scored 242 runs in the 1968 series, felt Kiwis have an uphill task against the rampaging Indians.

"I feel that this team is complete in all departments. It is always encouraging to win abroad. Team India is among the best in world cricket now and when batsman like Sachin are in top form, no one can stop them," he said.

Both the players believe that Tendulkar, who scored a hundred in the Hamilton Test, will play an important role in the next Two matches as well.

"I think that media should stop writing about his retirement now. He is the anchor of the Indian innings and India is not yet ready to play without him," said Prasanna. Prasanna also praised off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for his six-wicket haul in Hamilton.

"Harbhajan was not among many wickets before. But it was nice to see him in best of his form. I am happy for him," said the former off-spinner, who claimed six wickets in first Test in Dunedin in the 1968 series.

"The Indian team is strong enough but I think there is little room for improvement in bowling. We should not let them score that many runs after taking early wickets. If we improve our bowling a bit more, we will be the strongest team in the world," he said.

Borde felt the pitches and conditions in New Zealand have become less hostile now.

"Earlier there used to be only seamer-friendly wickets. Now, wickets are better for batsman. In our time we didn't have covers so the moisture in the wickets always remained." When asked about Dhoni's captaincy, they described him as a very good captain but not the best.

"This is just one Test win. He has got to play and win many more. It is true that the real test of any captain's mettle is abroad. He is very good but it is premature to call him the best," said Prasanna.