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Sep 9, 2009

India eye number one ranking in Sri Lanka

Virender SehwagIndian Coach Gary Kirsten said Wednesday India wanted to be consistent in the ongoing tri-series in Sri Lanka to become the world's best one-day team.

India, who have won five successive bilateral series, will top the one-day rankings if they win both Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the league stage and also beat the final on September 14.

"We have set our goals," Kirsten said ahead of the team's departure for Colombo. "One of them is to be the top team in the world. We are headed that way and we are very excited.

"We have to perform well as we continue the quest to be the best. We won the last two series in Sri Lanka and we are confident."

Sachin TendulkarIndia are without injured opener Virender Sehwag and paceman Zaheer Khan, but Kirsten said the team had the strength to do well.

"Obviously, missing a player like Sehwag is vast," the former South African opener said. "He is an excellent batsman, but we have got a lot of intensity in our cricket at the moment.

"We have done well in Sri Lanka and are well-known with the conditions. We know we are playing against two good teams, but we have been performing well and we need to maintain our performance."

India open their fight against New Zealand on Friday and play the hosts the next day. Each side will play 2 league matches before the top two make it to the final.

Kirsten said the toss would be very important on low, slow Sri Lankan pitches, where chasing a target under lights was not easy.

New Zealand start runs hard to come by on Tuesday when they were bowled out for 119 in reply to Sri Lanka's 216-7 in the opening match.

Gary Kristen"Winning the toss is quite important," said Kirsten.

"But if you are going to be a world-class team, you need to win from any situation or condition. We have a good batting line-up which is flexible in the middle order."

He said Rahul Dravid's return to one-day cricket after nearly 2 years also augured well for the team.

"It is good to have him in the team. With that sort of experience, he is always going to help the team," said Kirsten.

Dravid is only the 2nd batsman in the current team after Sachin Tendulkar to have completed 10,000 runs in one-day internationals.

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