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Kirsten backs team's generation of Indian batters

Mumbai, June 23 : Indian cricket coach Gary Kirsten has backed his new generation of batsmen to seamlessly replace the experienced order ahead of next week's Asian Cup.

In-form left-hander Gautam Gambhir leads the youth charge that includes talented middle-order players Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina.

"I think this group of players, specifically the batsmen, is an extremely talented group of players. We are certainly backing them to be able to do some very special stuff for the team," said Kirsten.

Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly were eased out of the one-day team after selectors pitched for youth following the first-round exit in the World Cup last year.

Batting great Sachin Tendulkar has been ruled out with a persistent groin injury.

One-day captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni remains confident in his young team despite losing a tri-series final to Pakistan in Dhaka this month.

"It's not about to which side you are playing, what has happened in the past. If you are playing to your potential, and if you are playing at your best, you have more chances of winning the game. So, that's what we will look to do, we will look to perform at our best," said Dhoni.

The six-team Asia Cup begins on Tuesday. The other teams participating are defending champions Sri Lanka, hosts Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates.

India, the finalist last time around, has won the event four times in the past.

Story first published: Monday, June 23, 2008, 14:39 [IST]
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