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ICC Champions Trophy
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September 14, 2002
1240 IST

Pool A:
Aus | Ban | NZ

Pool B:
Ind | Eng | Zim

Pool C:
Ken | SA | WI

Pool D:
Ned | Pak | SL

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Tendulkar hopes young guns will boost W'Cup bid

Leading Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar is hopeful his team's batting line-up, bolstered by the arrival of young talent, gels ahead of next year's World Cup in South Africa.

"We feel the combination is getting right," the player regarded as the world's leading batsman said on his arrival for the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka.

"There are five months left to go for the World Cup and it is hard to predict, but hopefully this lot should stay together," he told reporters on Friday.

India are in Group B with England and Zimbabwe, who they meet on Saturday, were runners-up in the last tournament in Nairobi in 2000 and are among the favourites this time, mainly because of their batting depth.

Tendulkar leads the pack, having scored a world's best aggregate of 11,505 one-day runs which includes the most number of centuries -- 33.

But newcomers like the explosive Virender Sehwag, left-handers Yuvraj Singh and Dinesh Mongia and former junior World Cup-winning captain Mohammad Kaif have breathed fresh life into the team since last season.

Singh and Kaif were India's heroes during their one-day triangular series victory in England while Mongia hit a match-winning 159 to lead his side to a 3-2 series victory over Zimbabwe at home earlier this year.

Sehwag has also proved a major success and has caught the fans' imagination with shot-making that mirrors Tendulkar.

Tendulkar, who used to open the batting in one-dayers, dropped back to number four during the one-day series in West Indies this year and looks set to retain that position until the World Cup.

The switch has enabled him to anchor the innings until the final overs and it will remain the strategy at the Champions Trophy and the World Cup next February and March.

The former Indian skipper arrived in Sri Lanka after a successful Test series in England, where he surpassed Australian Don Bradman's 29 centuries with a match-winning 193 for his 30th hundred in the third Test at Headingley.

While that century put him firmly in line for Sunil Gavaskar's record of 34 Test hundreds, Tendulkar said records had not been a motivating factor in his international career, which began when he was a teenager in 1989.

"I have never looked at it that particular way. In the last 13 years I have just enjoyed my cricket.

"I didn't look at breaking records. That is not my goal. If I break records I am happy about it."

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