You Can Cut the Tension with a Cricket Stump

The intensity and the passion can be felt, both on and off the field. When the social networking sites have gone crazy in promoting the biggest event in terms of the history of cricket, television and radio coverage does not lag behind. While experts are rating India on a high before the start of the world cup, Dhoni’s men seem to be determined to bring the Cup home after 28 long years. A few say that this would be a tribute to the Master Blaster, who’s probably playing his last World Cup, while the general feeling is that these are a hard-core bunch of professionals who are ready to jump for anything. The biggest example of this indomitable spirit is the Indian performance in the South African Series, where they almost created history, even after being totally crushed in the opening games, as well as the 2 warm up matches of the World Cup, where they played out of their skins. Irrespective of the fact that they are the strongest contenders for the Cup, Dhoni and his men can’t let complacency get in their way due to very own saying “Cricket is a game of Glorious Uncertainties”. One bad day at the office, and their dream could be just a bit extended.
The key to success is focus and determination. I know it may sound a bit too obvious, yet keeping the spirit going all along, is some task. One should acknowledge the contribution of the coach, Gary Kirsten, in lifting the spirits up and providing the right guidelines to a talented bunch of Indians, who have showed it to the world what they are capable of, in recent times.  It has been rightly pointed out that “A chance, as a coach, to take a team to the World Cup finals is probably as high up the tree as it gets, certainly with one-day cricket.” I am sure that Gary will be a proud man, if the Indians succeed in doing so.

Consistency is the key here. If you begin the tournament well, you will have to end it well. The spin-friendly sub-continent conditions will make the task a bit easy for a side having world-class spinners in it. But the same applies for the likes of Sri Lanka and Pakistan too. It is strongly believed that it should be a better adaptability to the slow tracks as far as the Indian batsmen are concerned, considering the fact that the toss is going to play a vitally important part in the tournament. In the first 2 practice games, we haven’t seen much of dew on the ground yet speculations say that as the tournament progresses this aspect will play on the mind of most of the teams concerned. Nevertheless, batting under the lights hasn’t been easy in the tournament so far. The Indians have been lucky to have won both the tosses, and it stands to see how it goes when they have to do it the other way around.

Leaving aside the external conditions, it is nice to see skipper Dhoni and the dazzling Suresh Raina back into form in the match against New Zealand. With both the openers, Sehwag and Gambhir getting runs in the practice matches, Virat Kohli playing with the form of his life, Yusuf and the lower order batsmen also contributing, seems like the sun is shining brightly for the Indians. On the other hand the Indian running between the wickets, performance of the seamers and their ground fielding seem to be the major areas of concern. A vast improvement in the fielding has been marked in the last couple of years or so after the inclusion of fielding coaches, entry of youngsters and yet the sharpness needs to set up a bit. And yes, I didn’t mention anything about the Little Master because there is no need for it; he is always in the game.

As Tony Greig had said “Cricket to us was more than play, it was a worship in the summer sun”, cricket and its passion among the Indians, is unbelievably significant. A lot is expected of Dhoni and his men in Bleed Blue this time around but my advice would be to go out and play their natural game. Ganguly’s wonderful team was bogged down by the tremendous pressure of expectation, leading to a miserable defeat in the World Cup Final, 2003. But it seems like Dhoni’s mentality matches to that of Ian Botham: “I hate losing and cricket being my first love, once I enter the ground it’s a different zone altogether and that hunger for winning is always there.

“So guys, get ready for the biggest event of the year 2011. And you can cut the tension with a cricket stump.” says the legendary Shane Warne.

Sammya Brata Mullick

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