Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Recently, I watched an interview of Marvin Hagler on BBC. He was nicknamed 'marvellous' for his brilliant record in the ring. He was asked about his preparations before a fight. Hagler replied that he simply focussed on the fight and nothing else. He shut out everything out of the mind, including in his own words, the girls also. All the pent up feelings were then released on the hapless opponent. This is what is called as 'tunnel vision' by experts.

It is this lack of such mental preparations that have proved to be the greatest deficiency of the Indian cricket team and the finals of the Indian Oil cup was no exception. The Indians put up such an inept display in the finals and the matches leading to the finals, that one doubts their mental strength. On the other hand, the Sri Lankans played as if the script was written for them.

Mahela Jayawardene was out of touch for quite a while but then the Indian bowlers allowed him to score runs freely. For his efforts, Jayawardene got th Man of the Match as well as the Man of the Series awards. The Indians don't like to be ungrateful guests to their Lankan hosts. Russel Arnold was out of the team and he also took the opportunity with both hands. Muralitharan always has this habit of troubling the Indians in both the versions of the game and again Tuesday was not different. People have forgotten the mauling that Sidhu gave him in a test match. Worse was the inability to cope with a part-time bowler-a spinner(if he can be called one) like Dilshan Tilakaratne. Even a good player of off-spin bowling like Ganguly was deceived by him.In a previous match Maharoof appeared as menacing as McGrath to the extent that Javagal Srinath called him 'Sri Lanka's McGrath'.

The bowling of Zaheer and Pathan was reminiscent of the stuff dished out in the World Cup final of 2003. The fielding was not impressive with question marks over the keeping of Dhoni. There were times when the commentators were surprised at the technique of the keeper.

It does not help to have a high profile coach if the players themselves are not sure of their responsibilities. The Indians could benefit from the display put by the English at Edgbaston versus the Aussies. They displayed a spirit that refused to die without a fight.


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